With the year essentially over and with the fact that Untitled Goose Games console port is the only “major release” remaining until the end of the decade, we have decided to compile a list of the most underrated hidden gems of the year. So just to set the terms, we are using underrated in the context of games we don’t feel people talked about enough or games that hit the mainstream, so don’t expect to see games like Rage 2.
Honorable Mentions: Tropico 6, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Ace Combat 7
5. Life is Strange #2
Life is Strange 2 got hardly any buzz due to several factors, Chloe and Max do not return and it is about a new cast, and largely that the episodic formula does not appeal anymore. People nowadays wait for full seasons to play games and by the time the full season is out the games have been forgotten about. However luckily now every episode is out (Bonus is that they’re all on Xbox Gamepass if you have that) The story is very good, and one of the best narratives of the year. Give it some of the attention it deserves because it is largely a great game.
4. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey
Ancestors is a game about evolving through millions of years, published by private division and the first game from Panache Digital Games. When it released it was met with very mixed reviews and little to no word of mouth and buzz post-release. This because the game is extremely hard to learn and if you don’t have the patience to understand the systems, you might get frustrated and struggle to enjoy it, which is fine. However for the players who like to experiment this game is a blast, and worth playing and picking up. It will be looked back as a unique little hidden gem. Check out our review here.
3. The Walking Dead: The Final Season
While The Walking Dead Season 1 was met from widespread love from fans and critics alike, and many game of the year awards. Subsequent Telltale titles failed to reach the same level of “hype” that made the first season so special, ultimately leading to their demise. However despite this, the quality of the games remained solid for the most part, and the Final Season of the Walking Dead is no exception, it follows Clementine and sees her journey end with a great final season. It is underrated as nobody talked about it, and if you’re a fan of the first season then its worth picking up to see how the story ends.
Greedfall is a game that essentially got no mainstream press. It is a great AA RPG game with choice and consequence. The premise is that there is an infection in your homeland, so you must travel to a newly discovered island to find a cure while choosing which nations you ally with and dislike, and how you feel about the natives. It is a fantastic game if you account for the fact that it is a smaller budget and not AAA and all the money here was put into the right place, definitely a big recommend. Check out our review here.
1. Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium may have been a game that won several Narrative and RPG awards at The Game Awards 2019, but despite that fact, it is a rather niche unknown game that many in the mainstream still have not heard of. Disco Elysium is a top-down open-world Detective RPG, the first game from new Indie Studio ZA/UM, and let us say, they came out swinging. This game has arguably the best writing in any game in the entire decade. The amount of choice is unprecedented. It is fairly long, so many interesting characters to meet. It isn’t only one of the most underrated games of the year, there is a serious case to be made that it is the best game of the year simply because of how amazing the writing, choice, and narrative are.