DAR Games: Underrated Video Game Franchises

By @Peagle05

We all know about the top gaming franchises, the standards: GTA, Zelda, Final Fantasy and others..but what about the less heralded franchises? The ones that have turned out top tier games but aren't spoken of in the same reverent tones as the aforementioned games? Some of the games here were sucessful in their own right, but still don't get the shine they deserve. This isn't necessarily a “Top__” list, but more of a guide to what people may have missed, and one franchise that can mostly be skipped but must be acknowledged.

*Jak and Daxter

-The franchise that developer Naughty Dog created after they jumped off the Crash Bandicoot ship (More on that franchise in a later article), and they showed exactly what they were capable of from an adventure standpoint. If you want to see how we got Uncharted and The Last of Us, look no further than the Jak and Daxter franchise. This was ND's first real foray into a larger storytelling endeavor by taking what Crash did well and putting it into bigger worlds. The result was Naughty Dog's first true hit of the PS2 era and one of the more iconic franchises on the system. Yet despite this, after the third game, it fell into the pitfall (Ha) that the platformers of that era tended to fall, the outsource to another developer and the eventual dreaded racing game. Jak X: Combat Racing wasn't necessarily bad, but like a Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar rematch, no one asked for this. However, the good people at Sony have seen fit to give us updated versions of the original 3 games...and Jak X...later this year. So if you haven't experienced these games the first time around, take the chance to this fall. You won't regret it.

*Syphon Filter

-Another franchise that should have stopped after the third game, Syphon Filter was 989 studios' answer to the Metal Gear Solid franchise. With that as its influence as well as a couple of pulls from Goldeneye 007 (Foreshadowing!), 989 created a franchise that was actually able to stand on its own as another option in the third-person stealth shooter genre. Probably known more for the strange animation of its main character than its gameplay, Syphon Filter was actually one of the more solid third-person shooters of that era and its lock-on system was a huge reason for the game's playability in a time where shooting mechanics were still a bit iffy. I'm not sure if it could be brought to the newer generations of consoles after MGS and the Splinter Cell series without suffering from “same-shit-itis”, but I'd always be open to seeing another shot at it.

*James Bond

-This was a group of games that I never felt got its due. Yes we all know Goldeneye 007 is heralded as a classic (Perfect Dark was better, but that's for a different day), but there are plenty of other games in this franchise that were great in their own right and this franchise has supplied far more hits than misses. The most notable of these, is the excellent 007: Everything or Nothing. This third-person shooter utilized the Bond license beautifully to the point of including Pierce Brosnan's face and voice in the game. The game featured driving sections with impressive chases and great gunplay, as well as a story that very well could have been a Bond movie in that era. Another great Bond game was 007: Nightfire. This game was known more for its excellent multiplayer due to its campaign's short length. This is still a game that is incredibly fun to play with a few friends and remains in my personal collection to this day. There are others in the franchise like Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, the excellent and Sir Sean Connery assisted James Bond 007: From Russia with Love and even the slightly less well recieved (NOT THAT I CARE) Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. There are some gems in this series outside of Goldeneye 007 and they're worth a look.


-Okay...so I'm not the biggest fighting game freak on the planet. I can throw down pretty well in certain games: MK, Injustice and even on a REALLY good day, Tekken. But this was the first fighting game that I truly got good at. Like annoyingly good...make you throw the controller good. I just know its mechanics and combo system fit me perfectly. But personal feelings aside, this is truly the greatest weapons-based fighter ever and the franchise has just sort of faded from memory over the last few years. The last installment we got was SC5 in 2012 and even that one seemed to come and go. Honestly, the true classic of the series was SC2. That was the game that put it all together and really pushed the series forward. After that, Namco would continue to see commercial success with the games but never the fanfare of a Street Fighter, Tekken or MK. A shame because they remain quality games and I'd love to see a sixth game for this generation of consoles.

So that's it, just a few of the franchises that deserve a bit more love. There are classics here, but for some reason, they just never stuck outside of their initial impact. Hopefully, one day, the impact of franchises like these will be truly acknowledged and we get even more games like them or even more games in the respective series.



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