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Seven games you'll probably skip to play Modern Warfare 3, but shouldn't
by Andrew Whipple III

Every year a cascade of triple-A titles beam themselves into the households of gamers everywhere. Surely it's a grand time to be anticipating the holiday schedule and perhaps the sequel to a game you enjoy dearly, but what about the games that don't receive such high-profile traffic? What about the games that rival the behemoths of the autumn, but don't get nearly a fraction of the attention? Of course, you don't know what I'm talking about, because you're probably too busy thinking about Modern Warfare 3. But, for a moment, forget about Activision's latest; I'm here to disclose to you the best games which are most likely to fly under the radar come the year's end.

Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Rage... the list could probably go on indefinitely, and I'm sure that - if you're reading this - at least one of those games has you trembling with excitement. The fact of the matter is that the excitement you're feeling should be redirected toward something more clandestine. Alright, so maybe these games aren't exactly invisible, but when put up against the likes of Gears and Modern Warfare, they might as well be. The titles found below all contain something magical that, unfortunately, will be glassed over by millions. Try very, very hard to not let this happen, and expose yourself to something that's not going to make a quadrillion dollars.

The following are my unprecedented predictions of the most underrated and underappreciated games of the year:

Mortal Kombat

Woah! Woah there, Mr. Critic! Mortal Kombat received overwhelmingly positive scores, is constantly being updated through DLC and balances, and is being enjoyed right now by a locust horde of gamers. How could this title possibly be under the radar?

This is easy: it's a fighting game. As much as I hate to say it, fighting games lose the majority of their player base after a short amount of time. Why? Because the general players aren't as hardcore as the true fighting fans out there, and want to sink their teeth into something more fresh. Mortal Kombat is probably the best fighter I've ever played; it's accessible and fun, but come year's end, people will make like Kenshi and turn a blind eye to it.


Borrowing from an excessive amount of incredible titles, Outland is a conglomeration of games that you loved, tossed together into a 2D plane. For some reason, people never remember the sidescroller. I don't like those people. Akin to Chair's awesome Shadow Complex, Outland is a title that all arcade aficionados simply must play. The aesthetic style, combat and platforming set this game apart from the myriad of other games out there. For $10, you can pick this up on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade, but the majority just aren't interested, because that price is almost enough to get a map pack for Modern Warfare 3.

Shadows of the Damned

Suda 51 makes some unique games, but unfortunately the general populace doesn't buy them in droves. Shadows of the Damned is sold as a "psychological action thriller", and plays like Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space mixed with a plethora of phallic jokes. You really shouldn't miss out on this game. Whilst it ostensibly seems immature and contrived in all sorts of ways, Shadows of the Damned is one polished, beautiful disaster of awesome. The mechanics behind the game are a perfected Dead Space/Resident Evil 4 assortment and the humour is incredible. You might have to enjoy a dry style of comedy to really appreciate what Grasshopper has done here, but I'm telling you: this game is awfully good.

Dark Souls

This game is going to be hard. Really hard. Probably too hard for you. Which is why you're skipping it. Checkpoints are for losers. Loser.

Dark Souls has a lot of hype behind it. Being the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, this comes as no surprise, and will probably sell well within the month of its release. However, after that, I can't see this game being talked about in wide circles, since they'll all be too busy sawing people in half and/or levelling up their half-orc gnome. The game is going to be hard. But trust me, it's completely worth the price of admission.

Dynasty Warriors 7

If there was ever an effective deterrent, it'd be slapping the Dynasty Warriors moniker onto the front of anything. I've seen people run for their lives after just glancing at the title. I know I've washed my hands several times after handling certain games in the series.

Probably the biggest surprise of the year for me, Dynasty Warriors 7 is hands down the best game in the series. That would mean nothing if there wasn't a single redeeming feature in the franchise, but this game is both surprisingly simplistic and awesome at the same time. So, admittedly, these games were never very hard in the first place, but Koei has gone the extra mile in improving the quality of the game, along with developing a multiplayer component that actually works. The characters don't suck, the voice work is mostly pretty good, and the story mode is... fun. It's just too bad that hardly anyone is going to give this gem a chance.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Why bother messing with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, when you're going to be enjoying playing as Marcus and 'his lot' as they devour their own enemies, only just over a week after it releases? The masses agree: Gears of War will stomp the little Space Marine into a pulp.

In actuality, though, a single Space Marine would probably wipe out the entirety of Delta squad. It doesn't matter how big Cole is; you have no idea what a Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine is capable of. Saying that, September 6th is dangerously close to Gears of War 3's launch date, and no good will come of it. Space Marine will probably fare alright at first, but there's no chance it'll hold up against the popularity of the chainsaw.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

People don't care about planes in games. Ever. Which is a shame; Assault Horizon is the reboot of the Ace Combat franchise, and damn does it look impressive. It's just too bad that it's releasing so close to the rest of the triple-A storm that will more or less chew it up and spit it out. Just check out the trailer above, and tell me it isn't amazing-looking. Go on, tell me it isn't. I dare you.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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