Friday, April 8, 2016

All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries - Part Seven

If you've been around SuperPhillip Central for a little while (it's still okay if you haven't, so no harm done), then you know that I like talking about underrated and overlooked games. I've done various series on the subject. However, most of the time, the games mentioned in these articles are from wholly new or overlooked franchises themselves.

There are also a multitude of series that I can think of that have one, two, or a handful of games in it that aren't viewed as highly as the others, whether just or not.

These ideas are where the concept of All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries comes from, and since part six, I've come up with six more underrated entries to big-time franchises, some bigger than others. If you'd like to see past parts of this now long-running series, check them out here:

Pac-Man - Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 (Multi)

Starting off is a game many overlooked because it's a licensed game based on the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures CG cartoon. While the source material doesn't interest me at all, the game series it's based off of is actually pretty good. The first game was a competent 3D platformer, but it's the excellent sequel with some incredibly tight platforming, creative level design, a multitude of secrets that impressed me immensely. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 isn't just a good licensed game; it's a good game in general that many underrate due to it being tied to a TV show. Don't sleep on this game, folks. If you liked Pac-Man World back in the day, The Ghostly Adventures 2 plays like a more polished version of that.

Mario & Luigi - Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)

The latest Mario & Luigi game in Red and Green's long line of RPGs, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam delivers the trademark humor and wit of the series while capturing the amazing timing-based feel of battle from past games in the series. Paper Jam gets some hate for not introducing new characters like past Mario & Luigi games did, such as the Bean Bean residents or Fawful, for instance. Instead, it relies on familiar Mushroom Kingdom characters, which to me was like seeing familiar old friends in a new light. The Toad rescue missions that many found too much are so varied that they offer much wanted variety to the game. The other mini-games that permeate throughout Paper Jam are also excellent as well. This under 30 hour RPG definitely delighted in almost every facet for me, and it's one of my favorite Mario & Luigi games aside from Superstar Saga and Bowser's Inside Story.

Rayman - Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (Multi)

So many people talk about the games that preceded, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, and followed, Rayman Origins, this next game. For good reason, as both of these aforementioned games are well made and some of the best in the platformer genre in both 2D and 3D form. However, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, released on the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and Windows is far from unworthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Rayman 2 or Rayman Origins. The game comes with a lighthearted feeling to it, often mocking the same genre it's apart of. The level design is stupendous, offering sophisticated enemy placement, fantastical worlds, and many opportunities for exploration. Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc doesn't get mentioned as much as many of the entries in the Rayman line of games, which is a shame as it's of just as wonderful of quality.

Pokemon - Pokemon Rumble World (3DS)

The Pokemon series entered the free-to-start/free-to-play line of monetization with the Nintendo 3DS' Pokemon Shuffle. It then took the dungeon-crawling of the Pokemon Rumble series and turned it into a free-to-start adventure known as Pokemon Rumble World. I adore the Pokemon Rumble series, which features simple two-button attack combat, the ability to get lucky and collect fallen Pokemon in battle to add to your roster of playable characters, and linear dungeons to take out enemy Pokemon in. Truly, you didn't really need to spend any money to fully enjoy the game, but to open up later levels you might have to invest in some dough... or I guess in this case "Pokemon Dollars". In any case, a full retail version that has everything from the free-to-start version of the game is releasing at the end of the month, and you can bet that me, being such the Pokemon Rumble World lover, will be purchasing it to add it to my collection.

Batman - Batman: Arkham Origins (Multi)

The truly underrated Batman: Arkham game, and one of the reasons is that it wasn't even made by the main studio behind the games, Rocksteady. Instead, WB Games Montreal developed Batman: Arkham Origins, and it's actually one of my personal favorite Batman games. It's a prequel that delves into the night of a younger Batman, faced with a multitude of assassins trying to take out the bounty on the bat's head. Everything players loved about the Arkham series was present in Arkham Origins: the excellent combo-based combat, the open city structure, the engaging story, the sense of discovery with Riddler trophies, and so much more. Arkham Origins added detective segments where Batman would investigate a crime scene to piece together what occurred and by whom. Batman: Arkham Origins is a satisfying romp from beginning to end, and it definitely deserves more love when compared to the other games in the franchise.

Wipeout - Wipeout 2048 (Vita)

The game that put the series on indefinite hiatus, Wipeout 2048, a launch title for the PlayStation Vita delivers gorgeous visuals, lightning fast racing speeds, incredible to look at and race on tracks and circuits, a highly addicting solo and multiplayer mode, and all the fun the Wipeout series is known for. It being limited to the PlayStation Vita definitely doesn't help spread the love of this marvelous futuristic racer. What you'll find with Wipeout 2048, however, is a game that is full of content to keep you playing, filled with enough variety in its tracks and objectives, and intense races to put a smile on your face... well, unless you're racing dead last. Then, you might be a bit sour on the game, but seriously, as the kids say, "git gud".

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