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5 most underrated games of 2011

Hidden gems from the last year...

With all the AAA games flooding in over the past few months, you might have missed out on some absolute gems. Or possibly, you missed out on games that critics didn't score that well, but were actually decent.

There are probably even a few games that you didn't buy because you weren't even aware of their existence. There are also a lot of other games that you may have been reluctant to pick up either due to price or because you didn't really want to take a gamble on it (Shadows of the Damned, for example).

In this feature we hope to shine a spotlight on some of them as we run down our picks of the top five underrated games of the year.

This is our list, and we've made an effort to show a little love to some of the games that might not get attention otherwise.

We know Shadows of the Damned is underappreciated but we'll leave you to champion it, and any others you might have a passion for, in the comments below. Let us know your most underrated games of the year.

Serious Sam 3: BFE

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This is a game for those that like their shooters fast-paced, without any of that cover lark or that set-piece nonsense. Serious Sam 3 is a return to the golden age of first person shooters where the guns were big, and the enemies were bloody huge!

Everyone knows that most badass action heroes carry more than two guns at a time, so Sam "Serious" Stone packs up to thirteen weapons, and all the FPS classics are represented: the shotgun, minigun, rocket launcher, even a laser gun.

The enemies swarm in en masse and it's pure shooting bliss from beginning to end. On the last level, it wasn't uncommon for us to keep spraying our minigun non-stop for up to five minutes. And we mean non-stop - our finger genuinely didn't come off the trigger for minutes at a time - the enemies just keep coming. You just don't get that kind of action these days.

The game supports up to 16 player campaign co-op too, and it's an absolute bloodbath with that many players all unloading bullets at once. It's hilariously chaotic.

We do have a few criticisms though, namely the first couple of levels, which feel a bit too Modern Warfare-like, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a little our of place in Serious Sam. Fortunately, the vast landscapes and impressive archetecture in later levels more than make up for that.

There was also a severe lack of of puzzle-type rooms and death traps that made common appearances in the previous Serious Sam games. They helped break up the action every now and then, and the crazy physics made watching your partner plunge to his death or get crushed by a spiked ceiling over and over again a good laugh in co-op. Classic power-ups such as super-speed and invincibility are also absent, which is a bit of a shame.

Still though, it's a great experience for old school shooter fans and, contrary to its name, Serious Sam 3 is perfect if you love loud, brash and fun shooters.

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