20 Most Criminally Underrated Video Games Of All Time

These unappreciated classics deserve far more love than we gave them...

The wonderful people of the interweb tend to go thermonuclear when someone calls one of their favorite games overrated. It's Fanboy's Third Law of Trolling. You fall madly in love with Generic Terrorist Shooter 3, someone tells you that Army Propaganda Tool 2 is vastly superior, and you lose your mind. We've covered these theoretically overrated games a number of times in various categories, and it always leads to the kind of flame wars usually associated with less important things like politics and religion. Underrated games, on the other hand, are easier to talk about openly without sparking World War 3. But just because it's a conversation that doesn't cause burst blood vessels in your brain doesn't mean it's not worth discussing. Instead of bashing the games you love with an unhealthy passion, here we're taking a compassionate look at titles which just didn't get the attention they deserve, or which have gathered massive fan praise but were shafted by the gaming press. Some of these games have earned a second opinion over the years - games which were instantly overlooked at launch, and relegated to the depressing pit of the budget bin, but have since proven to be strangely endearing over the years. Others were given a mild reception, and had a moment in the sun, but never caught the full attention of the gaming public ... perhaps games which were inaccessible or too avant-garde for the mainstream gamer to sink his or her teeth into. Whatever the reason, these are the games which are loved by a certain sector of the gaming world, but either forgotten or regarded with less enthusiasm by the rest of us. Some have gone on to be serious cult classics with a fervent following to match the biggest franchises in the industry, but the fact remains: within their genre, era or individual franchise, all of these games are better than many of us give them credit for.

20. The Saboteur

A swansong for defunct developer Pandemic Studios, this WW2-based open world action adventure cranked up some serious heat during the development phase, but stumbled out of production to a face a firing squad of uninspired review scores. Among other things It was accused of being unpolished and rough around the edges, just like game protagonist Sean Devlin, the heavy drinking, heavy brawling Nazi-killing Irishman. It was lambasted for its supposedly untidy meshing of open-world cliches, for its clumsy controls and derivative take on the genre - the critical consensus was that it tried to be too many things at once. This barrage of mediocre industry opinion translated into mediocre results at retail. In other words, we bought the opinion of the gaming press and didn't buy the game. Not in vast numbers at least. But those of you who gave it a chance regardless would know that The Saboteur was one of the most crafty and charming action adventures of the last generation. Our hard-living lead character was instantly relatable, in a sort of "drinking buddy who you never invite home" kind of way, and Pandemic's recreation of Paris was stunningly atmospheric. Far from perfect, obviously, hence the muted critical reception, but still a very stylish adventure which should have saved the developer and earned a sequel.

Game-obsessed since the moment I could twiddle both thumbs independently. Equally enthralled by all the genres of music that your parents warned you about.