Show me your Obscure / Underrated Games!

Phantasy Star used to be a very obscure / underrated video game franchise in the West (it still far from mainstream but it is entering the public mind lately) so I figured... lets talk about any games you feel are either obscure or underrated! The game can be from any era! With that said, allow me to get us started:

7th Dragon III - Nintendo 3DS

The first game in the 7th Dragon series to be released outside of Japan and also the final entry to SEGA's 7th Dragon series. The game's a neat little dungeon crawler JRPG; you create a party using a character creator and do missions to progress the story. The battle system is your standard turn based battle system but the variety in character classes, different skills you can obtain and overall challenge make it quite fun. The game is produced by Rieko Kodama, best known for Skies of Arcadia and the classic Phantasy Star series.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax - PS Vita & PlayStation 3

One of the few games we certainly never expected SEGA would release in the West. Dengeki Bunko is a crossover fighting game featuring characters from various light novels (and Akira from Virtua Fighter) published under the Dengeki Bunko imprint (Durarara, A Certain Magical Index, Sword Art Online, etc). If you are looking for a technical fighter, this aint it... but if you are looking for a casual experience or are just a fan of any of the lightnovel (or manga and anime based off of it), this is certainly a game to check out. The game also has a couple of SEGA cameos including Green Hill Zone and a PSO2 stage... both which feature prett with awesome music:

Magic Knight Rayearth - SEGA Saturn

And now we are going back... back to the past. This game was one of the last SEGA Saturn games released in the West, its a tie in title to the anime / manga of the same name. The game is a fun little top down Action RPG with a three character dynamic; you swap between any of the three heroines at a press of a button (sorta like Sonic Heroes) and each character has their own unique specialty in terms of weapon and spell element. The game's localization is excellent thanks to the excellent work of Working Designs who (as they do with other titles) even included some behind the scenes stuff on the manual and their original website for the game. Also by sheer coincidence, this game is yet another game made by Rieko Kodama.

Thats it for my end so far!I got more gaems that come to mind but... lets save that right now for another time!

I've played a lot of niche games thanks to me getting into RPGs early on in my life back in the 90s. So here's a few some people may or may not have heard of:

Radiata Stories - PlayStation 2

A game made by tri-Ace, it uses a similar combat system to that of Star Ocean: Till The End of Time, but with a new limit break bar. Instead of controlling characters manually, you give them orders, and formations to follow. The game is for the PlayStation 2, and offers a refreshing take on tri-ace's action-based RPGs. The game doesn't have too much of a complicated story, and has two sides of the same story, so you have replay value.

Tales of Destiny - PlayStation

This was my introduction to the wide world of niche RPGs. The game was the first Tales game to come to North America, with Tales of Phantasia on the GBA to follow suit after. It had an in-depth story, and a fake-out plot point making you think it was the end, but it wasn't, which has been a staple in main series tales games for a long time now. The game inspired the story of Tales of the Abyss in the sense of "What if the bad guys won?" A director's cut was made for Japan Only on the PlayStation 2.

Legend of Legaia - PlayStation

Another niche RPG, but this time it combined the fighting mechanics of an arcade fighter, with the wonderful world of JRPGs. The story is a bit cliche in some respects, but it's a good early RPG. There is a "Legaia 2," but like Final Fantasy, it has nothing to do with this first game.

Xenogears - PlayStation

An extremely mature JRPG that uses some unique fighting mechanics similar to an action game. You input commands to deplete a gauge or point system. IE: One action may cost 2 AP, while another costs 3 AP. AP regains each turn and you can guard/etc. without losing any. It's a bit difficult for some people to play this game, but it has its grinding areas well defined. This was the first Xeno- game. Xenosaga was the next serial to spawn, then Xenoblade Chronicles. The story within this game is quite fragmented in certain parts, and some of it is locked behind optional content. Square still owns Xenogears.

Valkyrie Profile - PlayStation/PSP

Valkyrie Profile was a good game. Squaresoft however didn't know how much people would love it, and thus there was limited production of the game. So little in fact that it became one of the rarest and most expensive JRPGs. Its PSP re-release/remaster would follow the same, and it became rather rare. The game has you play as Lenneth, a valkyrie who is out to gather Einherjars to fight in Ragnarok. There are multiple endings (Each ending has a letter assigned to it.) Combat follows a similar style to Xenogears, but this time, characters are assigned to buttons instead of just attacks. IE: Triangle could be one guy, Square could be Lenneth, etc.

Dragon Quest Series - Famicom/NES, Super Famicom/SNES, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, DS, 3DS, etc.

This series is beloved by many people for its simplistic stories and call backs to ancient JRPG mechanics. The Dragon Quest series to this day still uses tried and true fantasy storytelling. A dark evil must be destroyed, a damsel saved, a world restored. This series has not been touched by the complex nature of other serials, such as Final Fantasy. it is a great game series to play to get away from complexity. The popular classic JRPG only recently started to get ground again in the west after Dragon Quest VIII.

Golden Sun - GBA

A JRPG that took on the theory of flat earth, Pangea, and intertwined it with magic. A solid RPG developed by Camelot, which has a great music track composed by Motoi Sakuraba, who also does music for the Tales series, and other Tri-Ace titles. It uses a summon junction system similar to Final Fantasy VIII to raise stats and cast elemental spells.

Grandia Series - PlayStation, PlayStation 2

The Grandia series is one of my earliest serials in the RPGs I've played. The first Grandia was great, and told the story of a young boy wanting to go on a grand adventure, he finds love in the process, and a dark secret of the world. Grandia II is also really good, and its recently released Steam version is a great Dreamcast port. If only Grandia III could come out on the PSN or PC/Steam.

Wild ARMs Series - PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PSP

The Wild ARMs series is a JRPG series that takes place in a wasteland of sorts. Not all is as it seems in most cases however. Usually the story tells of a time when everything was right, the land was bountiful with flora and fauna. Wild ARMs 2, Wild ARMs: Alter Code F (Remake of the first), and Wild ARMs 5 happen to be my favorites of this series. Wild ARMs XF (A tactical RPG) was the last entry, on the original PSP.

Breath of Fire Series - Super Famicom/SNES, GBA, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Mobile

The Breath of Fire series was Capcom's attempt to make a good JRPG series. It was a great JRPG series. The game usually centered around a boy who has the power of a dragon, or is connected to dragons in some way. My favorite game of this series is Breath of Fire III. The last main series game was released in Japan on Mobile Only, due to the fifth title being such a shock and disappointment.

Mega Man Legends and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne - PlayStation

The Mega Man Legends series was a short-lived PlayStation series made by Capcom. It is, in a sense, the first good RPG Shooter. The game's series was meant to have a conclusive "Mega Man Legends 3," but development halted / and was thrown out. The games are still loved by many people, me included.

Thousand Arms - PlayStation

The first ever Dating Simulator RPG to come to the western market on a major console. Made by ATLUS, it had a very raunchy story. it wouldn't be until...

Ar Tonelico Series - PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3

...the Ar Tonelico series that the western major console market would get to see a new Dating Simulation RPG. It's a pretty good series, but the voice acting can leave you wanting.

Briefly, because it's late:

Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (PS2) -one of the first turn based juggler RPGs that I played. Good graphics (for the time), and a worthwhile FMV-animated story

Steel Lancer Arena International (PS2) -Based off of phantom crash, a dead Xbox title, SLAI was an arena mecha fighter set in a near future where remote-controlled giant robots had become a spectator sport. Great arenas, tons of variety, and a unique interface with endless replayability.

Xenosaga 1-3 (PS2) MSI and Namco-Bandai's flagship RPG series between 2003 and 2005. An epic story across the stars, and the pseudo-prequel to Xenogears. This was my all time favorite RPG series until Kingdom Hearts came out, with some of the most memorable boss fight music around thanks to Yuki Kajiura. Back in the day a lot of people criticized it for having cutscenes that could be upwards of 20 minutes long, but there were some things that you just couldn't communicate through gameplay at the time. A sample of the music that brought the series to life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n10VyIRJj58

PSO Episode 3: C.A.R.D Revolution (Gamecube) Yes, this is a PSO series, but it's still badly underrated. PSO III CR brought PSO episodes 1&2 to life in a way that the original games never could. The characters were worth investing in, and at the heart of it all was a tale where up was down, left was right, and nothing was ever what it truly seemed.

Xtreme G (N64, Gamecube, PS2): One of the rarer combat racing games out there, in a time when that genre was dominated by the Twisted Metal series and Mariokart. The series died with XGRA in 2004, but it always had phenomenal music, and introduced me to artists whom i still listen to today. Gameplay sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8V6PgX1Ol0

Timesplitters 2 & 3 (Gamecube, PS2, Xbox): Braindead FPS shootemup with loads of weapons and tons of unique characters. Also came with a level editor, for infinite replayability.

Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Infinite Frontier: The direct predecessor to project X zone, with a sequel which was only released in Japan (and which was only recently translated by the community here in the west). Perhaps best known for its off the wall characters and wall to wall dirty jokes between all of the characters. Good story, diverse cast. The characters make the game rather than it having a noteworthy narrative.

Descent 1 (Mac, PC, Playstation 1, 1995). The original 6DOF spaceship shooter. Dive into the mines, blow up the reactor, and try not to die in the process. What it lacks in story it more than makes up for in nail-biting boss fights and action. Had a recent prequel reboot with Descent: Overload, which can be found here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/448850/Overload/

Ridge Racer 5 (PS2): Arcade Racing Physics? Check. Doing a 360 degree spin across the finish line at 100mph? Also check. Great soundtrack? Triple check.

Burnout 2 & 3 (PS2): "But what," someone asked, "if we made it so that you could not just race your opponents, but also brutally smash them off of cliffs, into traffic, and generally race in senic locations as though road-rage were a career sport?" The Burnout series is that game. Don't just out-race your opponent, get revenge on them as you check their car into alleyways, other cars, and other urban features, and watch the fireworks in your rearview mirror.

Hyperdimenson Neptunia (PC/Playstation 3 & 4): Somoneone apparently asked if it would be possible to make a successful JRPG series out of videogame consoles anthropomorphized as adolescent anime girls and based on the console wars of the 1990s/early 00s. The Neptunia series is the answer, being one of the most niche RPG series out there. Come for the wacky premise. Stay for Neptune, the avatar of SEGA Neptune, the console that never was, protagonist of protagonists, memer of memes, and competitor with Umaru for laziest protagonist in an anime or game series.

Little late to this party but Custom Robo on the Gamecube. That game was awesome but, at least in my circles, didn't seem to get any hype.

Human Fall Flat. Think originally for PC, but there's an Xbox One version as well. A physics-based puzzle game that's equal parts fun and challenging. And also equal parts hilarious and frustrating trying to complete these puzzles with a blubbery, ham-handed little marshmallow person staggering around like a drunkard. Very fun solo, likely even more fun with friends but much like Custom Robo I have not seen this one gain any traction in my circles so I only know the "friends" factor from watching youtube gamers crack each other up with their antics.

@zaffy2005 , I actually think I might have played Custom Robo, during my trip to Tokyo at the retro shop I got my Dreamcast from there was a mech fighter game on the Gamecube section but I never knew the game's name. At least I now know the name of that game heh! xD

Wow, there are just too many. Pick a console and there is a gem missed. I am really going to have to limit myself.

I'll do a short list. PC: The great Thinking machine, The Oregon trail, Lode Runner,

NES: Battletoads/BTDD, Contra FORCE,

SNES: Aero the Acro-Bat (1&2), Battle Clash and its sequel Metal Combat, Any of the sailormoon 2d fight scrollers, Chrono Trigger, E.V.O , Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues, Primal Rage, Thunder Spirit, Wolf Child, Wordtris, Xardion (Really amazing story, in fact Gundam Writers and music worked here), X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Zombies Ate My Neighbors,

Sega: Jurrasic Park (Play as a raptor), Thunder Force (Different music and some level changes than the snes), Virtual Fighers 1,

GB: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan,

GBA: Castlevania Circle of the Moon, Metroid Fushion, Golden Sun,

SKIPPING OTHER HANDHELDS Cause I'll be here all year Also limiting myself to 1ish.

N64: Battletanks (1&2), Army Men (any), Resident Evil 2,

PS1: Twisted Metal, Vigilante 8,

PS2: Bushido Blade 1&2,, Onimusha,

GameCube: Phantasy Star online 1 and 2, Rogue Squadren, Zoids, Spy Hunter, Naruto Clash of ninja 2, James Bond 007: NightFire, Bloody Roar: Primal Fury, Conflict: Desert Storm,

Stopping here. PS3, XBOX, WII, and so on are kind of a little well known.

@Leonkh99 It was sort of a mini arena-fighter meets pokemon type thing, by which I mean people "fought" each other by using this tiny robots and apparently everyone is completely useless without these things because the police could never just arrest the criminals without beating them in a robo battle first (and since criminals used illegally modified parts, the cops were useless).

@ERICK001BC Got a few gems from my childhood in there. Battletoads....that damn speedbike stage. You know I don't think I ever actually made it passed that point. And Bushido Blades 1 and 2 were actually PS1, and they were awesome for their era. A sword combat fighter where you could actually target and damage limbs hobble and handicap your opponents. Black Lotus was my favorite in BB1, wasn't so keen on his "highwayman" persona for the second, though.

@zaffy2005

Damn I had a feeling they where PS1. I loved the hell out of those games. My fondest memory was on Bushido Blade 2 when I was foing the full weapon challenge, and I was on the hardest difficulty. I got challenged by the tea sipping British fancy duelist on the rooftop. Mission Begin and I got shot in the chest. Reminded me of the Indiana Jones scene. lol

Custom Robo was very fun. I remember how happy I was to see it included in the smash universe.

@ERICK001BC A lot of the character movement and "emotes" in PSO2 remind me of Custom Robo. That same kind of exaggerated movement.

@zaffy2005

I seen someone playing as a cast using that exact color, I knew what they where going for considering they called themselves Mark ii. They quickly got that like from me. I have seen a number of Gundams as well. Surprisingly I would expect someone to do something from Armored Core. That would be cool.

Kenka Bancho Badass Rumble (PSP): Pretty much a 3D take on River City Ransom (Kunio-Kun series) comes an open world beat em up RPG, where you are on a class trip for a week and have to take over every school district leader there. Explore Kyoto, customize your combos, clothing, and special moves, and the #1 most badass delinquent possible.

Soul Sacrifice Delta (PS Vita): An enhanced version of the magical Monster Hunter style game by Keiji Inafune, Soul Sacrifice Delta pushes the PlayStation Vita to its absolute limits. Dynamic battle effects, such as weather storms, stages shifting gravity, boulders collapsing, bring the battlefields to life, alongside using their terrain to your advantage. A refined combat system, including new dual combinations to fight the monsters that seek vengeance in the books. 4 player local & online co-op makes sure you can take your adventure with others you meet along the way.

Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Spectors (3DS): The complete version of Yo-Kai Watch 2 brings you new dungeons to explore, a new Blasters T mode to hunt down the Yo-Kai monsters, and the choice to choose between the Bony Spirits or Fleshy Souls campaign. With a Japanese style that oozes charm, a pretty solid localization, and a large sandbox to uncover, Yo-Kai Watch 2 will keep you busy for awhile.

City of Heroes: Launched shortly before World of Warcraft, to this day no other game has surpassed it in overall freedom to build an actually useful character in any way you choose.

the gameplay did NOT age well but what it did best it still would do best today.


Equinox (Solstice II) [SNES]

Tracks: Title; Quagmire; Boss Theme

Gameplay: Galadonia; Tori; Deeso

Let us begin with an isometric 3-D action-puzzle game. The music is amazing, game play difficulty can be frustrating at times though due to disorienting perspective. Developed by Software Creations. Music by Tim Follin and Geoff Follin.


BlackThorne [SNES]

Tracks: Title; Forest; Tower

Gameplay: Mines

Manual: Manual

This is a cinematic platformer developed by Blizzard. Plays in a similar manner to Prince of Persia for SNES. Personally I found the lore and story behind this, pretty immersive. Read the manual for that if you are interested. The game has ogres! As expected of Blizzard.