There are a lot of great games out there that get overlooked and/or under-appreciated for one reason or another. Whether it is because they are hard to find, got bad reviews, or just came out at a bad time of year, there are a lot of hidden gems out there that deserve to be played. Here is our list, in no particular order, of ten great Xbox 360 games you probably haven't played. Even better, because these games were mostly considered "flops" when they launched, that means they dropped in price quickly and can be found for cheap now so there is no reason not to play them.
Square / Enix
Nier isn't a pretty game, but it tells a great story and features some amazing characters. There are some game design problems like having a too-small world to play in and repetitive quests, but the gameplay overall is fun enough and the story good enough you'll soldier on. Nier got some bad press because a certain blogger at another site couldn't figure out how to do a fishing quest (which is really easy by the way) and will probably forever be known best by most gamers for that instead of the things it does well. If you actually give it a chance, though, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with Nier. It is a memorable experience that is worth playing.
Mini Ninjas is a bit different from other games on this list because it didn't get poor reviews or bad word of mouth that doomed it to be ignored. In fact, it got quite good reviews and people that played it couldn't say enough good things about it. Yet, somehow, most gamers ignored it entirely. Everything about it kind of screams "cute", which is an instant turn off for macho gamers. Mini Ninjas has great, colorful graphics. A fun and often funny story. And great gameplay that is surprisingly varied beyond mere hack and slash that other ninja games offer. Mini Ninjas is just great all around.
Culdcept Saga is one of the most surprisingly enjoyable games I have played in a while. I ignored the demo entirely, but when the retail version arrived for review I gave it a shot. And I have been completely hooked ever since. There is just something about this strategy-collectible card game that is incredibly addictive and very rewarding. It isn’t going to be for everyone due to the investment of time it takes to play and the hardcore nerdiness it usually takes to play any CCG, but Culdcept Saga is amazingly fun and well worth checking out.
Sometimes, a game concept seems to be both too crazy to work, yet too awesome not to work. Operation Darkness is one of those games. It is a strategy RPG set in an alternate World War II where Hitler has armies of vampires, zombies, and worse at his command along with his normal troops and weapons. The gameplay and presentation don’t quite match up to the lofty ambitions of the setting, but Operation Darkness is a solid SRPG that fans of the genre will enjoy.
FUEL was kind of doomed from the start. First it was slammed by critics that just plain didn't "get it". Then it got super quick price drops, which gamers equate with failure so they didn't bother even when it was cheap. And it had the misfortune of being a Codemasters racing game that wasn't made by the same studio as DiRT or GRID, so people put expectations on it that it wasn't ever going to be capable of meeting. So it flopped.
Players that actually gave it a chance found a surprisingly fun game. You get a 5,000 square mile sandbox to drive around in that is filled with extremely varied terrain. You get tons of vehicle types. Lots of race types. Gorgeous graphics with amazing lighting and weather effects. And it is less than $10 now.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is mostly criticized for a couple of annoying characters and so-so voice acting. And the main character has a brutally stupid name "Edge Maverick". But none of that bothered me. I guess I have a high tolerance for annoying stuff. What I found instead was amazingly rewarding and fun real-time combat. A neat story filled with interesting worlds to explore and solid characters that you'll really come to like by the end of the 30 or so hour adventure. It has great graphics and music too, which certainly doesn't hurt. For me personally, Star Ocean: The Last Hope is my favorite RPG on the Xbox 360. Give it a try, ignore how annoying you think Lymle's voice is (you do get used to it) and you just might like it.
Tropico 3 is a city building strategy game that is best described as a mix of Sim City and a theme park creator. You are the dictator of your own Caribbean island and have to balance making money with keeping your people happy as well as building relationships with the USA and Russia. It is an amazingly fun and satisfying game that has really flown under the radar so far. I blame it on the people that clutter every strategy game discussion with "This type of game sucks on consoles, play it on PC". Don't worry, it plays fine. You have to accept that some people want to play these types of games on a console specifically because they DON'T want to play it on PC. But instead of playing on PC or console, they just don't play at all. Play it.
Wet is one of those games that if people would just give it a chance, they'd love it. It does have some semi-serious gameplay issues (loose controls, a bit too much variety for its own good, crazy difficulty spikes) but it manages to be fun in spite of all of these things in large part to the fact it looks, sounds, and plays pretty much like "Kill Bill" in videogame form. Wet is basically a love letter to both old school grindhouse movies as well as director Quentin Tarantino. If you like Tarantino's style of cinematography and overall presentation, it is hard not to love Wet. This is another game you can get for dirt cheap, and I highly recommend it.
I loved pretty much everything about Afro Samurai. The cel-shaded graphics are amazing, the soundtrack is exceptional, the voice acting is perfect, and the gameplay is bloody and fun. And I personally think it does a better job telling the story than the actual Afro Samurai anime did, as crazy as that sounds. It was knocked for having a few too many glitches, difficulty issues, and an awful camera (which has been fixed by a patch, by the way) so gamers avoided it. I can tell you right now, though, that it is a better game after a couple patches than it was when it launched, so there is no reason not to pick it up. You can find it in bargain bins everywhere.
It might sound goofy to play pinball in a videogame, but Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection is the best videogame pinball collection ever. It offers 13 classic pinball tables that look, sound, and play exactly like they do in real life. It is such a simple concept, but it is executed so flawlessly here that it is one of those games you want to shout from the rooftops to try and get more people to experience it. This is another one of those games where you have either played it and loved it, or you've probably never heard of it. Well, now you've heard of it. And you can buy it for super cheap these days, too.