From SimCity To DMC: The Most Underrated Games Of 2013

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At this stage of the calendar year, with the transition to new hardware and the current onslaught of software, it’s easy to get swept up in the annual gaming maelstrom. ’Tis the season, after all. Having said that, although this year may not signal the curtain call for the seventh generation of consoles per se — with Dark Souls II et al slated to release in 2014 — 2013 will still go down as a notable twelve months for the industry at large. Amid the build-up to the next cycle of home consoles, we’ve explored the xenophobic heights of Columbia in BioShock: Infinite, traversed a post-apocalyptic wasteland in The Last of Us, and took control of a criminal trifecta within Grand Theft Auto V. Undoubtedly, this pixelated trio stole much of the industry limelight during the course of the year, garnering overly positive approval from critics and gamers alike.

In the current climate, however, it seems a video game can either sweep the critical board like the aforementioned threesome with close to unanimous approval, or, more alarmingly, fall off the radar due to good, but not quite excellent ratings. These are the games that perhaps didn’t light up the Metacritic rating system upon launch and were instead forced to carve out a niche audience despite their innate quality. It’s a palpable issue; one which directly handicaps the staying power and overall longevity of any given release. Ultimately, though, it usually comes down to a lack of media coverage or advertising; particularly with smaller companies tethered with appropriately limited budgets.

As a result, these titles can become lost amongst the crowd; flash in the pan moments that sell moderately before nosediving down the chart rankings. Of course, this happens within every gaming year. For every critical darling like 2012’s The Walking Dead there exists the under-appreciated titles such as United Front Games’ Sleeping Dogs. It’s simply the nature of the medium; or any creative platform, for that matter. What strikes a chord with the majority of gamers may not appeal to certain demographics and vice versa. But, crucially, this enthusiasm, or lack thereof, doesn’t necessarily represent the quality of the software. The titles in question can fall victim to tumultuous launch windows, passionate fan bases or general franchise fatigue that can undermine their overall impact on the gaming community.

Undoubtedly, there have been several surprises this year: Crystal Dynamics’ bold visualisation of the Tomb Raider franchise, for instance, along with the revitalised Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which steered the once ailing MMO back on course expertly. Nevertheless, given the spectrum between triple-A titles and the thriving indie community — which has seemingly widened with each passing year — there are numerous games from the last twelve months that weren’t quite given the attention they deserved.

With that said, let’s uncover the hidden, critically underrated gems of 2013.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Good shit — love DmC

  2. upmasays:

    Seriously? did you get paid to write that sim city review? yet another review far off the mark. ive never heard so much rubbish in my entire life. have you even played the game? i can win the game in 6hrs, its a facebook game far too easy and nothing like the original sim city, theres no room to build, you can fill the grid in an hour and then you get seriously bored and start deleteting buildings to build something new. not gonna blow anymore steam over this, you clearly havent played it long enough.

    1. Nerevarinesays:

      I thoroughly enjoy SimCity. Now that server capacity and numerous bugs are fixed. Sure, the map feels cramped, yet I’m able to see past that. I understand their reasoning for putting your CPU on a complex simulation – rather than a watered down simulation on a larger map. We can only hope that the fanchise manage to live on for us to see larger maps in a SimCity “6”.

      BTW. I googled myself to this article, having spent most of my weekend and all of sunday playing SimCity =P

  3. Samsays:

    Having only played DMC recently, I think Ninja Theory is deserving of a major round of applause. They made a smartly refined update of a franchise in need of one, all while respecting the core elements that made the original popular to begin with. Other developers tasked with doing a reboot should take note.

  4. Clinton H Davissays:

    SimCity isn’t underrated. It’s just as bad as people think/thought and has many issues still not fixed by the devs. Though they are finally looking at putting an offline mode into the game, the damage is pretty well done as most of us who would have bought it as an offline game are about the give up on ever buying it and just continue to play older games until something else comes along.

  5. worst list this year...says:

    Dmc was an awesome game. so glad you threw that one in there. People tend to forget how dated the original four are at this point, and Dmc brought a stylish new take to it, while still giving nods to the original. That’s a delicate balance to dance, and they did it marvelously.

  6. John Tremendolsays:

    Ratchet and Clank Nexus

  7. IRMacGuyversays:

    Most of these games aren’t underrated they’re just flat out rejected by the gaming community for being franchise cashins

  8. Red Flame Foxsays:

    DmC was awesome, too bad stupid fanboys ruined its reputation.

    1. Shawnsays:

      Vergil’s DLC on hell and hell is hard as fuck.

  9. Agt_Pendergastsays:

    DmC. Removing the lock on means there are no directional input attacks (so each weapon has less moves than it’s previous counterpart), no enemy prioritizing, moves like stinger and killer bee are less reliable, and the two demon pulls become less useful the more enemies there are. The weapons seem to be totally unbalanced (angel weapons seem to hardly any damage whereas the demon weapons seem to destroy the bosses).

    On top of that, the enemies don’t seem very aggressive even on hard and the bosses seem limited on attacks and get stunned for half a minute. No royal guard, no DT burst or distortion, no taunts and no styles and a rating system that hands out S rank like it’s candy. It’s not under-rated, it was overhyped by the gaming media. I would rather games advance, not go backwards.

    1. Shawnsays:

      Try it on hell and hell because you might come out with a new opinion on the difficulty.

      1. Agt_Pendergastsays:

        I already gave more it more than enough chances. I’m not going to be spending any more time or money on it just for the chance one issue of many might be resolved.

  10. Soilsays:

    DMC’s downfall was one simple fact: It was DMC. The story was a reboot, yes, but the characters and universe were similar only in name, otherwise so very different from the original material that they could have easily just created a new IP. Instead they succeeded in riling up the DMC fan base, many of whom blacklisted the game purely on those grounds. Without the support of the fanbase they had to appeal to the hack-and-slash audience that was already hyped over the next God of War game (Ascension was due in 2 months.) Sadly, Dante’s Inferno suffered a similar fate, though arguably that game had plenty more flaws.

    1. Shawnsays:

      Its sad but they’ve probably found an entire new fan base to build off much like what the first devilmaycry went through when it first came out.

  11. SimCity Suckssays:

    You must be smoking crack to give Sim City that review. It sucks balls even worse now than it did prior to the always online fiasco

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