The last few generations of games have arguably been the most unique. Any gamer can find something to enjoy within the thousands of fantastic games that have been released. Most games that we play, however, are from the big name teams. That isn’t to diminish their quality at all, but a lot of superb games get missed out on due to lack of advertising, exposure, or any number of unfortunate reasons.
In this feature, we go into some similar alternatives to already excellent games that you may have missed. We’ve also thrown down some prices offered by GameStop or Steam.
Gears of War: $20 for the triple pack
For some gamers, the Gears of War series is reason enough to own an Xbox 360. The testosterone fueled sci-fi adventure features revolutionary third person combat, epic set piece moments, and the burliest space marines ever put in a video game. Coupled with intense and creative multiplayer modes and gorgeous visuals, Gears will without question go down as one of the most influential and important series of the last generation.
That being said, Epic, as well as subsidiary developer People Can Fly, created one of the most entertaining and wildly satisfying first-person-shooter experiences that you may have never heard of. While featuring the same amount of gruff masculine space marines, over the top set pieces, and intense bullet-burning gunplay, Bulletstorm takes itself far less seriously. That isn’t to say the serious space-opera tone of Gears of War is bad; quite the contrary. But by no means will you ever take control of a 30-foot Mechagodzilla or use a lightning chain to chuck a group of enemies into a cactus in Gears of War. The hilarious gameplay and raunchy dialogue are enough to make Bulletstorm a hard game to put down.
Mass Effect: $40 for the trilogy
Knights of the Old Republic: $10 on Steam
There are few universes in gaming as fleshed out, expansive, and mysterious than that of Mass Effect. It is difficult for me not to recommend that any gamer, RPG player or not, play through these games. You could fill an entire notebook with memorable moments that the series can provide. But before they made Mass Effect, BioWare created Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the first RPG set in the Star Wars universe.
The formula of Knights of the Old Republic isn’t that much different than Mass Effect. You have an overarching mission and you hop from planet to planet exploring and unraveling mysteries. Your party is composed of nine companions, three of which join you on missions, and they all have worthwhile backstories to explore. Virtually every encounter or story mission allows for different outcomes. In addition, it has one of the biggest story twists since The Empire Strikes Back. My personal favorite game of all-time, I would be remiss if I were to not recommend this game to any Star Wars or RPG fan.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: $20
Dragon’s Dogma: $20
One of the most beloved RPGs in recent memory, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim spins a web of xenophobia, politics, magic, and (who could forget) dragons. The land of Skyrim is one of the largest and most lively worlds you can explore in video games to date. The never ending expanse of places to explore and missions to undertake make it an easy game to pick up and play as an escape from our haunts.
Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma also has dragons to fight. If all you cared about in Skyrim were the dragons but, like many, you were disappointed by the lack of a real challenge they presented, look no further than Dragon’s Dogma. Dragons, as well as cyclopes, griffins, cockatrices, chimeras, and a breadth of many other mythical creatures litter the land of Gransys. Fighting these beasts requires you to climb them, à la Shadow of the Colossus, locate, and attack their weak point. The story is pretty corny and not particularly worth paying excess amounts of attention to, but you won’t hate it.
One of the biggest selling points of Dragon’s Dogma is the pawn system. Pawns are helper NPCs that will travel with you and aid you on your quest. You get one main pawn that will always be on your team and you can subscribe the help of two other pawns from other players online. Coordinating your pawns to take down a three-headed basilisk is intense and satisfying. If you can, get your friends to pick this game up as well. Gransys is a large land with plenty to explore and using each other’s pawns and discussing discoveries is a very fun experience.
The Walking Dead: $20 on Xbox 360
Broken Age: $25 on Steam
What has become known as the premier point-and-click adventure game, Telltale’s The Walking Dead puts the story in the player’s hands, allowing for dynamic storytelling between different players and playthroughs. While Double Fine’s Broken Age doesn’t necessarily allow for the same level of replay value, the fantastic writing and story moments are well worth the price of entry. Broken Age is brimming with charm and can be ingested in one, maybe two sittings.