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Forget me not: The 10 most underrated games this generation

Metacritic doesn't love them, but we do

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Excite Truck

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Wii

Metacritic score: 72

Sample critique: "It might show off how well racers on the Wii will work when developers finally do it properly (yes, Ubisoft, we're looking at you) but even so, there's just not enough here to warrant the premium price" - Games TM - 6/10

Why it's secretly quite good: Excite Truck was a victim of inflated expectations. For the first few years of the Wii's existence, people expected motion control to provide a wonderful new dimension to games; the kind of next level experience that Nintendo had always promised. Ultimately, the controller's limitations meant that the revolution was not going to happen (though Nintendo, which had sold more than 95 million of the machines, would beg to differ).

The Wii's best games are often the early ones that kept things simple. Games such as Excite Truck, which is one of those breed of racers where the trick is to correct your positioning in mid-air so you don't lose momentum when you land.

We're spoiled for choice with these at the moment (MotoHeroz, Trials et al), but Excite Truck is the best 3D example of the sub-genre, and its wild handling is a perfect match for the Wiimote's jittery nature. Terrible name, mind.


Binary Domain

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PS3, PC, Xbox 360

Metacritic score: 72

Sample Critique: "It's the best kind of 7/10. The gunplay is raucous, but never revolutionary. The relationships make you laugh, if not cry. Binary Domain is unpolished in all the right places" - Official PlayStation Magazine - 7/10

Why it's secretly quite good: There's one thing Binary Domain gets very, very right, and it's not the box art. It's the mechs. Most specifically, the satisfying way they fall apart at the seams (rivets?) when you shoot at them.

Mechs must have a good union, because games rarely manage to get this simple thing right. It's okay for us humans to bleed rivers, but mechs tend to be allowed to die quietly and with dignity. Binary Domain addresses this imbalance with glorious, metal-crunching fury. Death to our mechanical oppressors!


Deadly Premonition

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PS3, Xbox 360

Metacritic score: 68%

Sample critique: "Awful in nearly every way. The Twin Peaks meets Resident Evil with a dash of Grand Theft Auto formula sounds pretty great, but it was well beyond the capabilities of this development team. Terrible controls. Terrible pacing. Terrible sound effects. Terrible visuals." - IGN - 20%

Why it's secretly quite good: Deadly Premonition holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Critically Polarizing Survival Horror Game", which in itself holds the record for "Most Peculiarly Specific World Record Category". Little wonder really as it's really quite bizarre.

Deadly Premonition is a game that defies easy classification. The closest we can come to describing it is as a budget Resident Evil with a penchant for mischief. Brutal acts of violence are accompanied by terrible one-liners. Outlandishly freakish scenes are juxtaposed by mundane segments where you trim your beard or swig coffee. It's a surreal piece of interactive story-telling and you'll either love it or hate it for that.


Alpha Protocol

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PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Metacritic score: 72

Sample critique: "Alpha Protocol's astounding intricacies are tarnished by bugs, clumsy gameplay mechanics, and rough production values" - Gamespot - 6/10

Why it's secretly quite good: You have to dig deep to get the most from Alpha Protocol, but it's worth the blood and tears.

Your digging will have to cut through a crust of ugly presentation and a mantle of shoddy AI. Then you've got to drill through the near-impenetrable outer core that is the main character's crouching animation, which makes him look like he's filled his pants.

Dig past all of that, and you get to sip from Alpha Protocol's delicious gooey liquid centre; a stealth-action RPG which gives you a mind-boggling number of ways to develop your character's skill set and approach each mission.


SSX Blur

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Wii

Metacritic score: 74

Sample critique: "It all boils down to the controls. When you have the capability to utilize the innovative controls of the Wii, be sure to use them to the fullest extent" - Cheat Code Central - 52%

Why it's secretly quite good: Does this sound familiar? It's Excite Truck syndrome all over again. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see SSX Blur for what it actually is: a cracking little snowboarding game that works well within the Wiimote's limited capabilities. Carving into the snow with the nunchuk feels great. We've even grown fond of the cartoon aesthetic. Time heals all wounds, right?

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