10 Forgotten Masterpiece Video Games

The underrated video games that deserved a bigger reception.

Lost Odyssey

For every great game that becomes a hit, there always seems to be another that falls between the cracks. There are a few obvious reasons why this injustice happens again and again. If a game is badly marketed, comes out at a bad time, or has a niche market, it can quickly fizzle out, regardless of its quality.

But there are other, more obscure reasons why certain gems never stood out. Because Final Fantasy VII is regarded as the peak of RPGs, it takes attention away from other titles in the franchise. If a masterful platformer, shooter, or beat 'em up is only available on a lesser-known system, what chance does it have? Some games get a lot of love initially, but fade into memory once players move on to the next big thing.

Sometimes, video game fans learn the error of their ways, compelling them to buy these underrated titles eventually. Wind Waker, Okami, and System Shock 2 tanked originally, but later developed cult-classic status.

But that isn't the case with every game. Even though the entries on this list are masterpieces, they still remain mostly forgotten.

10. Final Fantasy XII

Lost Odyssey
Square Enix

Final Fantasy lovers endlessly debate on which entry ranks the highest. The mantle often goes to FFVII, but there are plenty of fans who have a deeper fondness for FFVI, FFX, or FFXIV. FFIX has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and is now regarded as among the very best.

And yet, FFXII is rarely spoken about with the same admiration, despite how beautifully crafted it is. It was bold to do away with the random encounters, but this decision gave players far more freedom in exploring. Square also made progress in FFXII less reliant on grinding, which has been a major flaw in the series since Day 1.

Even though the franchise regularly relies on nostalgia, FFXII incorporates none of the iconic Summoning monsters, like Ifrit, Ramuh, or Bahamut. Instead, the creators devised brand-new creatures to summon, all of which can be controlled in the open world for the first time.

Even though modern games still struggle with AI partners, the gambit system that governs the actions of the protagonist's teammates is easy to manage and incredibly efficient.

Since The Zodiac Age remaster has been released on most systems in recent years, now is the perfect time to revisit Final Fantasy XII.

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James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85