Five Overlooked Games From 2010
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4) Metro 2033
Based on the bestselling novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 blends survival horror and first-person shooting, set in a grizzly post-apocalyptic future overrun by mutants in which a handful of survivors cling to life in the subway tunnels beneath Moscow.
Why It Deserves Another Look: While hugely popular in Russia, this property is hardly a household name overseas, possibly because it features characters with unpronounceable names and accents thicker than a vat of a babushka’s freshly made borscht. But though that and the game's unforgiving difficulty may be why it failed to connect with audiences here in the West, it's hardly a reason to dismiss a game that is as solidly designed as Metro 2033. The game's world is as visually impressive as it is bleak, its levels that are as atmospheric and tension-filled as Gears of War and the underlying game mechanics work beautifully. Fans of survival horror owe it to themselves to pick up Metro 2033, a game that comes across as the brilliantly entertaining Russian lovechild of Fallout and Resident Evil.
While gamers everywhere were blasting apart Covenant grunts in Halo: Reach, another sci-fi shooter was released at around the same time, but without the pomp and ceremony of September's big Spartan orbital drop. Developed by Japanese studio Platinum Games (the studio behind Bayonetta), Vanquish is a futuristic third-person shooter that puts players in the role of a cybernetically armored warrior battling for survival in a war-torn Earth.
Why It Deserves Another Look: You’re unlikely to find a game with a plot, dialogue or characters as cheesy and poorly developed as Vanquish. Additionally, you’ll probably blow through the single-player campaign in less than six hours. And yet, as a science fiction spectacle exploding with epic boss battles, over-the-top action sequences and enough weaponry to satisfy even the most hardcore Halo fanatic, Vanquish simply can’t be beat. The game’s level design is nearly flawless, the action set pieces are pitch perfect and the gameplay elements are incredible (including a genuinely fresh take on the oft-used bullet time mechanic). Sure, you can skip the cut scenes without missing much, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a game with more immersive and action-packed gameplay.
Adam Volk is a screenwriter and freelance journalist, with work appearing in The National Post, Gamasutra and The New York Review of Science Fiction. For more of his inane blatherings please visit www.zombie-geek.com