With video games growing more and more popular each year, we are privileged to have such an extensive array of games to choose from. No matter what your preferred console is it takes less than 5 minutes to get online and find a game that ticks all the right boxes for your gaming needs. However, with so much to choose from it's natural for some games to slip under your radar. Games that may not have the publicity of the big triple-A games or simply don’t build up enough hype for various reasons. But not to worry, 5 of your Zatu video game guest reviewers have teamed up to form their very own supergroup. And we’re here to help steer you towards 5 of the most overlooked video games we think you shouldn’t be missing out on!
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - Beth's Pick
As a huge fan of Tomb Raider, it was only a matter of time until I discovered Naughty Dog's Uncharted franchise. Every adventure with Nathan Drake, Sully and Elena only pulled me in more. 2016's Uncharted 4 remains as one of my favourite games in my collection. A Theif's End gave the franchise stunning visuals, a fitting conclusion and an untold story in the form of Nadine.
Hired by Rafe, the main antagonist in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Nadine is a former South African mercenary turned treasure hunter. An enigma in the latest Uncharted game, Nadine joined another familiar face from the franchise, Chloe Frazer. Debuting in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Chloe instantly made an impact on the series. She quickly proved herself to be quite the match for Nathan Darke. A thief for hire and acclaimed treasure hunter, Chloe has quite a reputation within the criminal underworld. In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy both Chloe and Nadine act as our protagonists and we finally get to spend an entire game with two of the most captivating characters in the series.
After following the mammoth release that was Uncharted 4, I think many people missed this game. Viewed by many as DLC or bonus content, nowhere near enough people played this gem of a game. Not only does Uncharted: The Lost Legacy build upon the spectacular storytelling from A Thief's End, it also introduces us to new puzzles, stories and more stunning visuals. The best part? The Lost Legacy is only a fraction of the price of the main games in the series. This is an accessible title that lets you explore India's Western Ghats to locate the Golden Tusk of Ganesh.
If you haven't already, I implore you to go and give Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a go - you won't regret it!
Yoku’s Island Express - Seb Hawden’s Pick
I remember a friend of mine at work that would repeatedly blather on about a small indie game called Yoku’s Island Express. I don’t know whether it was to get some peace and quiet or if his words finally worked their way into my brain but I thought I would give it a gander. Yoku’s Island Express was not at all what I was thinking, it was bright, beautiful and from what I could gather from the short trailer, very unique.
You play as Yoku, a pint-sized postman for a whimsical fantasy world filled with weird and uncanny characters. What this game does that’s different to anything I have played is that it is a platformer, a Metroidvania and a pinball game all at once. I know, it sounds mad but it really, really works. You run around an open world, or sorts and every now and again get locked into a little mini pinball table and must flip and bounce your way forward to progress.
Yoku’s Island Express is beautiful, like beyond beautiful. Think the new Rayman games’ beautiful. Bright, bold and full of life. The world you meander through is amazing, the characters all memorable and the gameplay is absolutely absorbing. I think, if I remember rightly, once I started it, I played nothing else until In had got my shiny PlayStation platinum trophy. It was just the right length, just the right complexity and had me smiling all the way through. If I remember correctly, there was even a Director of Fun listed in the credits. Amazing.
All being said and done, Yoku’s Island Express is cheap, it was cheap at launch and will be cheaper now. If you are looking for something completely unique, heartwarmingly beautiful and something that will make you smile. Go and give it a shot, it’s flippin’ great.
Code Vein - Dan Hilton’s Pick
A smashing of genres is usually very hit or miss. Anime in the gaming world has had quite a turbulent history. You can umm and arr and argue over this but for the most part, anime games have been diabolically awful. And yes, I am including in that all the six thousand Dragon Ball games, as much as I love Dragon Ball. Of course, there have been a few anime-esque games that stand out amongst the rest, such as the Danganronpa games, some of the Naruto games etc. But, if you suggested playing an RPG with anime-style aesthetics, I would promptly shake my head and back out the room slowly, edging my way away from the clearly derivative madman.
My favourite gaming genre, and my favourite binge-watching material smashed together can only disappoint me. Or so I thought.
Code Vein looks and sounds incredible. From a fighting style reminiscent of the more brutal RPG games to an anime style that looks gorgeous! The character creation alone garnered plenty of attention at launch as it gave the impression of truly creating a protagonist for a new hit anime.
Unfortunately, the game released in between Borderlands 3 and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare. It was very much so overshadowed by those massive big-budget games. Even though I had every intention of picking it up at launch, even I overlooked it until a year or so later. The good news is, if you missed it too, Code Vein is now super cheap and still just as much worthy of a little of your time. Give it a go!
Children of Morta - Nick Welford’s Pick
My pick for overlooked games is Children of Morta. It’s a hack and slash game with RPG and roguelike elements. Not only is this a pretty crowded genre but Hades and Dead Cells steal a lot of the limelight. If you want a highly enjoyable different take on proceedings, then you might want to check out Children of Morta.
You take control of the Bergson family, attempting to fight the corruption attacking Mount Morta. You start with just one family member. But as you venture further into the caverns and succumb to the evil within, more and more family members will return to your house. Each will offer more story, upgrades and more playable characters. It’s a genuinely great way to dispense the story elements. You get updated sitting around a campfire and welcoming a family member back from their travels.
Morta also boasts a clever system for making sure you don’t just use one character for every run. The more times in a row you choose a character, the more corrupted they become. This places penalties on them reducing their attack or health until they can rest up. Some may find this annoying. Once you have the full suite of characters you will have plenty of choices that suit your style. Plus you will be levelling them up at a similar time.
The caverns are all procedurally generated. Each area is bigger than the rooms of Hades or The Binding of Isaac. They do however lack the visual diversity of the former. However, it wasn’t enough they have just added a free DLC which adds a mode that is even more like Hades and Isaac. Instead of a skill tree for each character, you will be presented with three choices of perks. It’s a neat shift and adds great value to a game that is already full to the brim!
Kingdoms Of Amalur has had one of the weirdest developments in RPG history. Back in 2012 two fresh companies merged together in hopes of bringing this project to life. To cut a long story short, a lot of money was spent. Unfortunately, the company couldn’t break even with their sales. Because of this, staff weren’t paid and the newly merged company filed for bankruptcy. There was even a criminal investigation launched to see if there was anything dodgy about the development of the game. All of this was down to the marketing of the product. And annoyingly so as this game is, in my opinion, the most underrated RPG of its generation.
Everything in this game appeals to me. The narrative is compelling from the word GO, throwing you onto a journey across a vibrant world. Whilst it does follow suit with your usual RPG titles, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning manages to make it feel like you are choosing your own path. You start pretty much classless and end up guiding yourself to your own unique class.
Aside from the kick-ass gameplay, a big thing for me in RPG titles is the lore. I cannot help but get side-tracked in a game of this nature. An in-depth captivating lore helps me stay inside the world. Creating even more images and backstory in my head to accompany what is already given to me on the screen.
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning recently (at the end of 2020) had a remaster. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning in my opinion is every bit the game it was, and more. Yes, there may be a few dated aspects to the game however, this game can still hold its own against games like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim. And I think it’s about time they kindly step aside and give this game the credit it really deserves.