Thursday, March 19, 2020

Most Overlooked Current Gen Games - Part Ten

Welcome to a very special edition of Most Overlooked! No, I don't mean "very special" like one of those "very special" episodes of Full House or Saved by the Bell. I mean, "very special" as in we've reached our tenth installment of the Most Overlooked Current Gen Games!

SPC has always been passionate about sharing those gaming gems that aren't your traditional million-selling, triple-A mega hits. Instead, the Most Overlooked series by its very nature looks at those games that don't get extravagant marketing campaigns, don't stay on the sales charts for prolonged periods of time, and don't get as much hype dedicated to them. Perhaps with this series of articles you'll discover a new game that piques your interest and preference.

This tenth edition features games from a wide range of different genres; We have a dungeon crawler, a fighting game, a JRPG, a platformer, and a point-and-click puzzler.

Before we continue our journey through the land of the Most Overlooked Current Gen Games, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the previous nine installments of this long-running series for your to peruse:

Current Gen - Part One
Current Gen - Part Two
Current Gen - Part Three
Current Gen - Part Four
Current Gen - Part Five
Current Gen - Part Six
Current Gen - Part Seven
Current Gen - Part Eight
Current Gen - Part Nine

Darksiders Genesis (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Our first game for this tenth edition of Most Overlooked Current Gen Games takes the familiar hack and slash, dungeon crawling gameplay of the Darksiders franchise and puts in a new, isometric perspective. Darksiders Genesis offers a Diablo-like dungeon crawler with Zelda-like puzzles and platforming challenges. The levels feature myriad secrets inside to encourage meticulous exploration and return trips, and the boss battles are absolutely intense and entertaining. Whether playing alone and switching between War and Strife on the fly, or playing co-operatively with another player with one as each Horseman, judgment will be brought down on your enemies. Darksiders Genesis was a pleasant surprise to start off the gaming year with when it launched on home consoles (the PC and Stadia versions launched late last year), and it's a shame it seems to have come and gone without much fanfare.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

With a history of less than morphinominal licensed games, it's easy to see why not many took to a fighting game based off of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Those who did, however, experienced one of the most fun and fluid team-based fighting games available, albeit not very content-rich. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid launched rather bare bones with a limited roster and very little single player content to speak of. Since launch, the roster's reached higher numbers with every fighting game archetype represented, a story mode based off of the Shattered Grid arc of the Boom! Studios-published comic was added, the presentation greatly improved, and the fighting itself has only gotten better. This 3 vs. 3 fighting game is a blast not just for fans of Power Rangers but also just those who desire a fighting game with deep mechanics and plenty of pluck.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore (NSW)

Perhaps this next game is proof that it wasn't just the Wii U's failure that made the original Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE bomb at retail when it originally released on Nintendo's first HD system. Even with a second chance in the spotlight on a much more successful system (and that's understating the Switch's success in comparison to the Wii U), Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore didn't exactly follow in the footsteps sales-wise of other ports of Wii U games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, among others. That's okay, though, as the game has found its own following, and if you can stomach and tolerate the overdose of Otaku and idol influences, you'll get a challenging JRPG that has both style AND substance in grand abundance. This RPG is quite unlike anything else, not just on the Switch, but on any platform.

New Super Lucky's Tale (NSW)

3D platformers are in rather short supply on ALL systems this generation, and that stretches to the Switch as well. Nevertheless, owners of Nintendo's hybrid system received a rather remarkable addition to the genre from an unlikely place. Lucky's Tale was originally an Oculus Rift exclusive, and then, it was expanded to the Xbox One as Super Lucky's Tale. Late last year, the game arrived on the Nintendo Switch with added content, additional levels, and another word in its title with New Super Lucky's Tale.

Lucky himself is enjoyable to control, being able to burrow into soft surfaces to dodge hazards and enemy alike and reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Levels are full of secrets to find and special pages to collect, whether they are in non-linear 3D, side-scrolling 2D, or auto runner form. Lucky's adventure doesn't wear out its welcome, nor does it overly frustrate. New Super Lucky's Tale delivers a charming and entertaining platforming adventure that didn't necessarily find an overly perceptive audience on the Switch. Particularly disappointing when you consider the longtime audience of Nintendo consoles.

Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy - Deluxe Edition (NSW)

Being real here, Level 5 has bungled a lot of its franchises over the years. What was once a strong Japanese developer currently faces challenges in getting attention to its various series, many of which have either been mismanaged, or worse, run right into the ground. Like many other Level 5 franchises, the Professor Layton series isn't as strong as it once was during the Nintendo DS days, but that doesn't stop Layton's daughter, Katrielle, from having her first puzzle-filled adventure in Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy from being a success, at least quality-wise.

The original game launched on the Nintendo 3DS as well as mobile devices, offering over 100 unique brain teasers sprinkled and scattered throughout the game's dozen chapters. Instead of one overarching mystery, Katrielle and her group of companions took on a different case each chapter. Regardless, whether it's because of franchise fatigue or a lack of Layton fans nowadays, not even a new protagonist could renew interest in the series. Whether Layton as a franchise can bounce back is almost as great a mystery as any featured in the games themselves!

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