Not many games are critical and commercial successes which also sit well with fans.

Many more games fall prey to unfavourable opinions despite their values. Sometimes some poorly executed aspect overshadows actual brilliance, other time the game has a bad luck of being released at the same time as some long-awaited mega-production. Regardless of the reason, the end result is the same: a game is underrated, underappreciated, and, in the end, potentially forgotten.

Below we have prepared a list of ten such games, with a brief explanation what makes them worth more attention and praise than they have received so far. To remain fair, we have arranged the titles in alphabetical order.

Underrated PC games The list is arranged in alphabetical order.

Game (click to read more)GenreRelease year:Theme:
Brutal Legend Action adventure2009a loving tribute to heavy metalBuy now!
Evil Genius Base building2004building a base for your supervillain operationsBuy now!
Ghost Master Puzzle2003scaring hapless mortals with a gallery of ghostsBuy now!
Mad Max Action adventure2015being the best road warrior you could beBuy now!
Overlord Action role-playing2007becoming a local version of SauronBuy now!
Prototype Action adventure2009the best Venom game without VenomBuy now!
Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG2011a blend of a BioWare RPG and traditional MMOBuy now!
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Action role-playing2013the offspring of Abraham Van Helsing saves a steampunk countryBuy now!
The Temple of Elemental Evil Turn-based RTS2003the best video game adaptation of the D&D 3/3.5 rulesetBuy now!
Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine Third-person shooter2011intense slaughter approved by the Emperor and the InquisitionBuy now!

Brutal Legend

PC
PS3
Xbox 360
Release year:2009
Theme:a loving tribute to heavy metal,
DeveloperDouble Fine Productions

The cast of Brutal Legend should be enough for any fan of heavy music. After Jack Black signed up for dubbing the main character, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, and Lemmy Kilmister also joined the cast.

Brutal Legend game screenshot

The game *almost* had Dio voice a character, but in the end he was replaced with Tim Curry, who is too cool for anyone to be angry about the change. If you like heavy metal do yourself a favour and get this game. It’s weird, but it’s Tim Schafer-weird.

Evil Genius

PC
Release year:2004
Theme:building a base for your supervillain operations
DeveloperElixir Studios

It’s like Dungeon Keeper, except instead of being an ancient devil you’re a leader of an evil organisation. You have goons instead of goblins, and you have to deal with James Bond-alikes instead of dimple-chinned noble knights.

Evil Genius game

If you want to feel like Dr. Doofenschmirtz who has more money and space to work with, go ahead. Not an all-time classic, but a fun twist on a familiar formula.

Ghost Master

PC
PS2
Xbox
Release year:2003
Theme:scaring hapless mortals with a gallery of ghosts
DeveloperSick Puppies

Ghost Master is the reverse Ghostbusters in a Sims-like world. You’re in control of a band of bizarre, horror-inducing ghosts with names that are sure to make you smile.

Ghost Master game

Your job is to scare mortals away from a location, free other ghosts, and do all of it as quickly as possible. A mix of creative ghost powers, as well as Sim-like mortals make playing the game a blast.

Mad Max

PC
PS4
Xbox One
Release year:2015
Theme:being the best road warrior you could be
DeveloperAvalanche Studios

Fury Road made Mad Max cool again, while this game tried to make open worlds cool again. Somehow playing an open-world game with a vaguely Ubisoftian structure is much more engaging, when you have a badass car and the map isn’t a bog standard fantasy or urban landscape.

Mad Max game

Mad Max has the bottom of a dried sea for a map, complete with wrecked ships, ruined lighthouses etc. It’s most interesting, and easy to get lost in, even if it gets slightly repetitive after a while.

Overlord

PC
Xbox 360
Release year:2007
Theme:becoming a local version of Sauron.
DeveloperTriumph Studios

Overlord is an unmistakably satirical game. It mocks familiar fantasy tropes, and your main method of interaction with the world are delightfully dastardly and mischievous goblin-like minions, who eagerly chase innocent sheep and turn pumpkins into helmets.

Overlord game

Overlord (the game, not your character) is quite charming, never takes itself too seriously, and its core gameplay is quite unique. Check it out if you thought Fable was too serious and not cheerfully villainous enough.

Prototype

PC
PS4
Xbox One
Release year:2009
Theme:the best Venom game without Venom.
DeveloperRadical Entertainment

The plot of Prototype is quite interesting and engaging. Learning all about it requires hunting down and absorbing targets But it’s not the game’s focus. Being a monster is. Mercer can throw tanks, outrun anyone in the world, take rockets to the chest and barely flinch.

Prototype game

He can also form claws, blades, impenetrable armour or a swarm of tentacles out of biomass he consumed (read: people), all of which help him with fighting mutants and nefarious mercenaries. Prototype was the best superhuman simulator until Saints Row IV rolled along. And if you liked the Venom movie, you’re not getting a better symbiote experience anywhere else.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

PC
Release year:2011
Theme:a blend of a BioWare RPG and traditional MMO.
DeveloperBioWare Austin

Could BioWare transplant its storytelling skills onto an MMO framework? The answer is: yes, mostly. The Old Republic has something that would make it an outstanding singleplayer game. There are two sides of the conflict (it is a Star Wars game, after all), and each side has four character classes, representing roughly the Soldier, Scoundrel, Knight, and Caster types.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

The best thing is that each class has its own storyline with unique dedicated voice acting, and some choices to be made along the way, influencing the personal endings. That’s eight unique plotlines, alongside the overarching war stories of individual planets and factions. SWTOR may well be the most narratively diverse MMO out there.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

PC
PS4
Xbox One
Release year:2013
Theme:the offspring of Abraham Van Helsing saves a steampunk country.
DeveloperNeocore Games

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing trilogy wasn’t widely promoted, which is a shame, because they are quite competent and entertaining hack’n’slash/action-RPG games. The ability trees are quite robust, with auras, passive and active abilities, and there are loads of loot to collect.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

The game is also quite eager to poke fun at itself and popculture, lending this steampunk adventure an air of levity. It also has a decent co-op mode, and somewhat engaging endgame content used to boost the character’s abilities beyond regular skill trees.

The Temple of Elemental Evil

PC
Release year:2003
Theme:the best video game adaptation of the D&D 3/3.5 ruleset
DeveloperTroika Games

While Baldur’s Gates, Icewind Dales and Planescape: Torment are still the talk of the genre twenty years on, Troika Games’ The Temple of Elemental Evil remains oddly forgotten. ToEE is an adaptation of a classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure module, converted to the quite complex 3.5 ruleset.

The Temple of Elemental Evil game screenshot

The best part, however, is that Troika chose to incorporate a hefty chunk of the D&D mechanics into the game, including the turn-based combat based on initiative and plenty more. It was great. If you want as authentic a D&D experience as you can get without playing with other people, The Temple of Elemental Evil is a good choice.

Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine

PC
PS3
Xbox 360
Release year:2011
Theme:intense slaughter approved by the Emperor and the Inquisition
DeveloperRelic Entertainment

One of the final games before the original THQ collapsed, and it should be more popular than it is. In addition to being a satisfying third-person action game Space Marine also presented a rarely explored perspective of the WH40k setting. Usually we see it from high above in a strategy game, here we could see the architecture down from the ground.

Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine game screenshot

It let us see the iconography up close, and mingle with the regular humans of the Imperial Guard, much shorter than our Space Marine in a heavy ceramite armour. Although the game eventually lets us kill enemies few Space Marines outside of Grey Knights could tangle with, it remains a stunning adventure in the grim darkness of the far future where there is only war.


Closing statements

This concludes our top 10 picks from a long list of games which were underrated and underappreciated. Each of these games, in addition to being really quite good, had something making it worthwhile, which held up against the tide of time. Some of them had their initial bugs squashed mercilessly by developers and fans alike. Others still simply need a signal boost to enter people’s awareness again.

Hopefully our list brings to your attention something that sounds like it may be of interest to you despite low profile or mediocre ratings.