With so many titles out there, great games often slip through the cracks. Here are ten retail and indie Xbox games you might've missed that definitely warrant another look.
Dead Rising 3
The Dead Rising series has a loyal following, but Dead Rising 3 slipped under many gamers' radars due to the widespread negativity surrounding the Xbox One console launch. The more fervent of the non-Xbox crowd dismissed it as a lesser game because of its 720p native resolution. But launch titles often have to make graphical sacrifices. What Dead Rising 3 has no shortage of is fun.
Dead Rising 3 stars new protagonist Nick Ramos, a mechanic caught up in a zombie outbreak. The series' claim to fame is the massive number of zombies it throws on-screen, and Dead Rising 3 does not disappoint. The actual color palette of this one is unfortunately dingy, but it otherwise maintains the traditional Dead Rising sense of whimsy.
As always, players can wield and create an arsenal of creative and wacky weapons for the battles ahead. Nick even gets to plow through the undead hordes in a variety of vehicles. Loads of optional missions and the super difficult Nightmare will keep players busy for ages.
Should you have missed Dead Rising 3 the first time around, now's the time to jump in. The Apocalypse Edition includes all four of the game's story DLCs in one package. It's a bargain at $29.99, especially if you have a friend handy for online co-op. With Dead Rising 4 on the horizon, there's no better way to prepare than with this Xbox One and PC exclusive.
Electronic Super Joy
Indie platformers are a dime a dozen nowadays, though mostly they tend to be puzzle platformers. Electronic Super Joy doesn't have time for puzzles, however. It's too busy being stylish, subversive, and really freaking difficult.
Electronic Super Joy offers more than fifty levels of ultra-challenging platforming, plus an endless mode. Our hero faces overwhelming odds, usually with nothing but a stomp maneuver at his disposal. Most levels can be completed in less than two minutes, but your first run-throughs will likely take far longer. Deaths are accompanied by suggestive "ooh yeah" voice samples that simultaneously confuse and reduce the sting of failure.
The whole game is very rave-like, with silhouetted characters and enemies cast in front of colorful, pulsating worlds. The electronic dance music soundtrack is one of the best in gaming. And a silly story involving an evil pope stealing the player's butt keeps things lighthearted, even when the levels occasionally get too tough for their own good.
Electronic Super Joy might not be as well-known as Super Meat Boy, but it's just as worthy of a place in the platforming hall of fame.
The Flame in the Flood
A Kickstarter success story, The Flame in the Flood takes place in a bleak setting: a world that has (somewhat recently) been ravaged by some apocalyptic disaster. With civilization largely wiped out, a girl named Scout and her dog must team up and try to survive against the elements and carnivorous predators.
The game takes place in a procedurally generated world, so every playthrough is different. Scout and her dog can collect a huge variety of resources and use them for food, medical purposes, crafting, and more. The game provides some tutorial information, but it still leaves a lot of the crafting experience up to the player to discover. This can be rough, as you won't live long until you figure out how to make fires and craft bags to carry more items.
Scout's world consists of isolated areas connected by a massive river. She'll have to navigate its dangerous waters, searching for supplies and new places to dock and explore. Unpredictable weather, rapids, and ever-present needs like hunger and thirst threaten to end Scout's journey at any time. The Flame in the Flood has a sparse story and ending, but players can tackle Endless Mode for the ultimate challenge.
Despite its modest production budget, The Flame in the Flood provides a more memorable world than many AAA games. Steel yourself for a challenge and you'll find this struggle for survival captivating.
During the 1980s and 1990s, King's Quest was one of the best-known graphical adventure games. Although original publisher Sierra Studios no longer exists in its original form, the Sierra name lives on under Activision's ownership. And in 2015, King's Quest returned as an ongoing episodic adventure game worthy of the series' name.
The new game's framing device involves Graham, the now-elderly hero of past games, recounting his adventures to his granddaughter Gwendolyn. Not only does this provide quality narration from Graham (Christopher Lloyd) and Gwendolyn, it also creates interesting storytelling opportunities. When young Graham dies during gameplay, the death is explained as a lapse in memory or a test for the listener.
A beautiful art style brings the lighthearted adventure to life. As for gameplay, it has been streamlined so that players need only rely on two buttons to solve puzzles. First-person and action sequences keep things moving along. There are Quick Time Events too, but not nearly as many as in Telltale games.
King's Quest is far more interactive than Telltale adventures too, and each episode is much longer as well. As of this writing, the fourth of five episodes is about to be released. You can grab the first episode for free and either buy subsequent episodes individually or as a set. The $29.99 Complete Collection includes a bonus epilogue not sold separately, so that's the version we recommend.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
One day, Max comes home to find his younger brother Felix has broken his toys. Understandably upset and looking for a way to punish the little toy breaker, Max accidentally banishes Felix to another world. Much like in the movie Labyrinth, our hero must journey into that dangerous world to save his lost sibling.
Luckily for Max, he quickly finds a magic marker that gives him extraordinary abilities. He can use it to raise and lower platforms, create tree branches and vines, control waterspouts, shoot fireballs, and more. Using these skills, Max must survive 20 levels of platforming challenges and solve clever puzzles. The controls occasionally make those trials harder than necessary, but the game's creativity and its surprisingly well-told story mostly make up for the rough edges.
A launch-era title, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood had arrived before many gamers had picked up an Xbox One. If you missed this downloadable gem before, now's the time to pick up the marker and join Max for an adventure.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Although the first Garden Warfare became a cult hit early in the Xbox One's lifecycle, this year's much-improved sequel seems to have slipped by without nearly the same mainstream notice. That's a shame, because Garden Warfare 2 is a family-friendly third-person shooter with lots of competitive and cooperative goodness.
The zombies have overrun the town of Suburbia thanks to interference from the future. The war-torn city now functions as the game's hub world, with both factions occupying a camp on opposite sides of the map. From your home base, players can take on story-based solo quests, multiplayer-focused daily challenges, customize their characters, and more.
The first Garden Warfare was only really good as a competitive online game, but the sequel opens things up by making all modes available in single-player, split-screen, and online. The four-player co-op mode can now be played with zombies in addition to plants, adding some welcome variety. And 12-versus-12 online battles still offer plenty of frenzied competition.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is available to purchase or for free to EA Access members. Although a cheerful and lighthearted shooter like this will never be able to compete with realistic FPS titles like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1, Garden Warfare 2 fills an important niche with casual shooter fans and younger players.
Japanese-developed games and shoot 'em ups are both quite uncommon on Xbox One. That makes Raiden V, which is both of those things, pretty special. It's also the latest in the long-running Raiden series – and currently an Xbox exclusive to boot.
This Raiden has a bit more story than most shmups, brought to life by (painfully cheesy) voice actors as you play. In the near future, an unusual new form of crystal appears and begins causing Earth's military machines to go haywire. Only team Raiden can stop the massive forces of corrupted machinery and save the world.
All Raiden games are vertically scrolling shmups. Raiden V maintains that vertical aspect ratio, opting to fill the sides of the screen with stats and story details. The graphics are fully 3D, but the game still plays like a traditional 2D shooter. Raiden is a bullet hell shmup, but selectable difficulties and local co-op keep things manageable.
23 stages (counting alternate paths), three playable ships with nine weapons each, and a separate Boss mode ensure plenty of longevity. Raiden V sells for $50, a bit high by some players' estimations. But Xbox One will only get more excellent shmups like Raiden if it actually sells, so don't let the price dissuade you from picking it up.
Resident Evil 5
Capcom recently released several classic Resident Evil games on Xbox One, to varying amounts of fanfare. Resident Evil 5 received little notice, as mainstream gamers tend to lump it in with the abysmal Resident Evil 6 as evidence that the series went off-track after Resident Evil 4. But 5 is a much, much better game than 6, and easily one of the best 2-player co-op games on the market.
The game begins as Chris Redfield and newcomer Sheva are sent to investigate mysterious goings-on in an African village. It turns out that the locals have become infected with parasites similar to the ones from Resident Evil 4. They're violent and bloodthirsty like zombies, but can wield weapons and coordinate with each other. Sometimes huge tentacles burst out of their heads, too.
Where the story goes from there doesn't matter so much – all later Resident Evils suffer from bad writing. But 5 offers some fantastic cooperative elements that really make its gameplay sing. When playing solo, you'll manage your AI partner and share inventory between characters. In split-screen or online, watching each other's back and coordinating inventory becomes even more important. Sometimes you'll face overwhelming odds, but as long as you work together, you'll both make it out alive.
Resident Evil 5 also features the best "metagame" of the series. Replaying levels on new difficulties yields welcome rewards, with inventory and weapon upgrades carrying over throughout. Eventually, you'll be able to unlock unlimited ammo and other helpful perks that provide an awesome sense of power.
The move to Xbox One brings increased resolution and framerate (plus all previously released DLC), making a fantastic third-person shooter that much better. Gamers who missed it the first time around or just need a co-op fix won't find many better bargains than Resident Evil 5's $19.99 asking price on Xbox One.
Ryse: Son of Rome
Another launch exclusive that was unfairly dismissed as a result of the negativity surrounding the Xbox One launch is Ryse: Son of Rome from Crytek and Microsoft. Despite its age, Ryse continues to be one of the most graphically impressive Xbox One titles, but it also plays better than people give it credit for.
Ryse takes place during the times of the Roman Empire. The game follows the lift of Marius Titus from his childhood into his days as a general. Marius eventually embarks on a quest to avenge the deaths of his family at the orders of the villainous Nero. The story is brought to life by beautiful, engaging cinematic scenes.
The actual gameplay mostly consists of hack-and-slash battles. Players will need to carefully manage attacks, blocking, and movement in order to come out alive – and slice their enemies to pieces. The game also has some mild strategic aspects as you command troops in battle, but they largely take a backseat to the blood-soaked combat. Ryse is all about the hard-hitting action and narrative.
If you missed Ryse early on, you'll want to give the Legendary Edition a look. It bundles all of the game's single-player and multiplayer DLC maps in one $29.99 package. Even several years into the Xbox One's lifespan, few action games look as good as Ryse: Son of Rome.
Before popular free to play MMOs like Star Trek Online and Neverwinter showed up on Xbox One, we had Warframe. Although Warframe is arguably not an MMO, its online connectivity and continuous update cycle put it in pretty much the same ballpark.
Warframe takes place within the same universe as cult classic Xbox 360 actioner Dark Sector, only thousands of years in the future. The story begins with the player waking from cryosleep as a member of the Tenno, an ancient race of warriors (think space ninjas). The Tenno are at war with three evil factions, including the Grineer (ghastly cybernetic clones), the Corpus (a militarized mega-corporation), and the Infested, monstrous victims of a virus originating in Dark Sector.
With over 30 distinctive playable Warframes, countless weapons, parts, pets, and helper characters to collect, and more than fourteen planets and planetoids filled with missions, Warframe is a huge game that you can enjoy for free. Team up with up to four online players cooperatively to take on missions and hunt for resources.
Warframe just celebrated its two-year anniversary on Xbox One. The game has drastically grown and evolved since launch, so it's definitely worth a second look from lapsed players. Don't let this game's free to play nature fool you – Warframe is one of the best online action games around.
Did we miss any Xbox One games that you guys consider underrated? Let us know in the comments!
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