Games You Should Have Played, But Probably Didn’t – 2009 Edition

Four Neglected Games That You Should Buy This Holiday Season

So 2009 is nearly at its end, I feel confident in saying that it has been another great year for gaming. Although some big name titles got pushed back until next year (cough, thanks Modern Warfare 2), enough AAA titles were released to satisfy just about everyone.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 broke sales records in the entertainment industry, Uncharted 2 proved that games could be much more than simple time wasters, and Left4Dead 2 continued the beloved tradition of shooting zombies in the face with good friends. Not all great games, however, got the attention they deserved – terrible release dates troubled some, a lack of advertising haunted others, and some games just didn’t sell much because gamers can be hesitant to pick up anything that doesn’t have a number at the end of the title. Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that a lot of very good games got lost in the shuffle.

It’s December, and that means that almost all of this year’s big games are on store shelves, with only a few titles left to trickle out, such as EA’s The Saboteur. This is the perfect time to reflect on the year in gaming and perhaps take a break from your online Call of Duty addictions (Editor’s note: Yes, we’re talking to you, Andy Murray). It’s time to give credit, where credit is due and pick up the games you should have played but (probably) didn’t.

Demon’s Souls (PS3)

Developed by From Software, this underrated RPG showed gamers some tough love. The game was seriously difficult, like kick you while your down difficult. This is not a game where you preform amazing feats by pressing a few buttons during a quick time event. The game doesn’t hold your hand if you’re having trouble defeating a certain boss, or when you get confused about what exactly it is that you have to do. If you want to accomplish anything, you have to take a deep breath, dig in your heels and scream at your television. Sound fun? Well, surprisingly, despite the insane difficulty level it actually is fun to play. A lot of fun. The pure sense of satisfaction from slaying a dragon after getting your ass handed to you twenty plus times is reminiscent of old school gaming goodness. Remember when your on screen character actually died when you played a video game? You don’t? Well, don’t worry because this game is sure to remind you, in fact it’s as if the development team made that their ultimate goal. If you’re really in trouble, Demon’s Souls supports four player online co-op, which is sure to make things a bit easier to deal with. With some decent graphics – character models look a bit outdated – an orchestral fantasy music soundtrack, and loads of replay value it is definitely one of 2009’s most underrated games.

Demon's Souls is difficult, but worth the effort

Demon's Souls is difficult, but worth the effort

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)

Continuing the pattern of games that have ‘demon’ in the title, this little Wii gem demands to be played. It sold quite well in the Japanese market, but when shipped to North American shores it became one of the most underrated games of this decade. With absolutely breathtaking 2-D visuals, a simply mesmerizing score, and intuitive gameplay that never gets tiresome, it has already become a Wii classic. Completely steering away from the usual packaged-in, pointless minigame collection, or rail-shooting lameness, it makes for one unbelievable ride. Be warned, the game is not for the weak of heart, and it will punish you the same way that only classic NES games could. Adding RPG elements into the mix only added to the overall sense that this game, although similar in appearance to many other titles, was trying very hard to separate itself from the mainstream games, and for that I not only respect Muramasa: The Demon Blade, but I love it.

Muramasa is challenging and fun, and sorely neglected

Muramasa is challenging, fun, and sorely neglected

A Boy and His Blob (Wii)

Developed by WayForward Technologies, and published by Majesco Games, this one unfortunately got lost in the massive shuffle of titles released this year. A re-imagining of the classic NES title, ‘A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobonia’, it gained much critical acclaim when it was released. The game followed a minimalistic story about about a Boy who befriends a Blob who lands from what seems like outer space. It is a puzzle platformer that has you taking control of ‘The Boy.’ The player must feed the the blob jellybeans in order for it to pull off a number of transformations that it is capable of doing. Perhaps the most artistically stunning game to come out all year, it is a friendly, heartwarming experience that is accessible to a wide audience. Although some might complain that the game could have easily been a downloadable Wii-Ware game, that does not damper the fact that it is one of the finest achievements in gaming all year. Shame on you for not picking this one up, now is your chance.

A Boy and His Blob is a remake of an NES classic and it is stunningly beautiful and fun

A Boy and His Blob is a remake of an NES classic and it is stunningly beautiful and fun

Madworld (Wii)

Madworld is the sort of strange game that comes along every-so often and doesn’t fits into any specific category. Developed by Platinum Games, once known as Clover Studios, creators of such franchises as Viewtiful Joe, and Okami, Madworld stirred up its fair share of controversy when it was released. The controversy mostly took place in Europe, for its over-the-top violence, and foul mouthed language. It featured a black and white color scheme, not unlike that found in Frank Miller’s Sin City, with an emphasis on the color red. Start liking that color because you’ll see a lot of it. Madworld worked on just about every level, there’s nothing innovative there – unless you consider impaling an enemy with a stop sign innovative – but there is a ton of fun to be had. You punch, you kick, you rip foes from limb to limb while watching the screen fill up with blood, and hear the often offensive commentary that follows your every move. Madworld isn’t a thinking man’s game, it’s pure, unadulterated joy that stands tall against even the greatest of the beat-em-ups.

Violence on the Wii? Check.

Violence on the Wii? Check.

You missed them when they were released, so do yourself a favor and play them now.