Remember when Sega decided to get out of the hardware business and go strictly third-party? So do we and while it was a disappointing decision for Sega fans across the globe there have been some great games published by Sega since the demise of the Dreamcast. The following list is the combined opinion of the Sega Addicts staff with what we feel are the top 10 games released by Sega since going third-party.
Remember to take into account that this is a list created by over 10 people and we had to take into account that some great games have not been played by many of us and thus were left off of the list. (Translation: More people need to play the Yakuza series!)
So read on dear site viewer and be enlightened by some great games released by Sega but not on Sega consoles…
Josh Newey: Platinum Games has had quite the storied run with Sega so far, and of all the games that they’ve released this generation, I’d have to say that Vanquish is the most underplayed, and perhaps underrated. A lot of people found the game’s failed attempt Americanized sensibilities to be somewhat bland, if not flat out gauche. To me, these awkward aesthetics and ridiculously overdone lead character add to a silly, unabashed charm that makes a lot of Platinum Games’ efforts memorable. The visuals of this game were nothing short of stunning, with some of the largest, most awe-inspiring set pieces and battles I’ve ever seen in a videogame. The gameplay is what really sticks with me though. The sliding mechanic, while not as revolutionary or essential as Mikami made it seem, added an extra layer of speed and even dexterity to an overdone control scheme, making it easy and incredibly fun to slide up to enemies, kill an entire group in slow motion, then return to cover in a few seconds flat. Despite (or perhaps because of) its incredibly brief campaign and an increasingly uncommon lack of multiplayer, I find myself returning to Vanquish time and time again, as it delivers a third person cover-based shooter experience unlike any other this generation.
9. Phantasy Star Zero
Flake: Phantasy Star Online was incredible. If anyone ever tells you otherwise, they hate fun and you should not associate with them. However, PSO had one huge problem: It was developed by Sonic Team, a development group obsessed with ruining every successful IP they create. After PSO episode 2, the series was subject to weirder and weirder development choices such as being an Asian PC exclusive or being retooled as a card game. Eventually, PSO was written off entirely, replaced by a similar series that was decent but no replacement.
Phantasy Star Zero for the Nintendo DS is the unlikeliest of games. It is quite literally a brand new episode of PSO, squashed down onto the Nintendo DS with almost nothing lost in the process. The artwork, music, gameplay, and atmosphere are distinctly PSO in a way that none of the Phantasy Star Universe games ever came close to. Sega went one step forward and even put in the on-line co-op that was such a huge part of the phenomenon that PSO was on the Dreamcast, an effort that is still rarely made on Nintendo’s portables.
8. Panzer Dragoon Orta
Scott Morrison: Panzer Dragoon Orta should have been on the Dreamcast. If the Dreamcast lasted just one more year it would have had its Panzer game. But alas, like the Imperial army, the Dreamcast did not last as long as planned.
Panzer Dragoon Orta was not essentially a sequel to Panzer Dragoon Saga gameplay-wise. Orta returned the series to a straight rail-shooter, but on an intense level, as the game was much more difficult than any past Panzer game in my opinion (I had to reduce the difficulty to “easy” just to pass the third boss). The amazing art direction and style of the Panzer series can still be found in Orta, but with a more organic feel as opposed to the desolate lands found in previous iterations. Orta takes the best from Panzer Dragoon Saga with the different dragon classes (Base, Heavy, and Glide Wing) by allowing you to change class any time during game and actually level-up those classes with the goal of acquiring the perfect dragon. Orta also does a fine job of streamlining the entire Panzer series by combining slight RPG elements with said classes, straightforward action, and an intriguing story-line. The unlockables in the game are also unexpectedly in-depth with an entire side-story where one can play as a child going through the ranks of the enemy Imperial army. Combine this with the entire first Panzer Dragoon game, and you almost have three games in one. If you are reading this and own an Xbox 360 I recommend finding this game as it actually supports HD as well. Panzer Dragoon Orta is an excellent post-Dreamcast game, which I believe still holds up to today’s arcade rail-shooters (the few that exist), and should be enjoyed by any fan of the series or anyone who is looking for an introduction to the Panzer Dragoon series.
7. Valkyria Chronicles
Sven Wohl: Valkyria Chronicles is an anomaly in today’s videogame industry. It’s a Japanese role-playing game set in something that closely resembles the Second World War. It has Anime aesthetics, is well written and features likeable characters that aren’t completely clichéd. Top that off with deep and rewarding strategy mechanic and you have a winner! In short, it tries not to do all those things that have driven the genre into that sorry state it is in right now.
Sega took huge chances creating this franchise. Even after the mediocre sales of the first one, they continued the franchise, but that’s not the most essential thing. What is important here is, that Sega did something new. This is a great game, with an interesting turn based strategy mechanic at its core and a lot of charm. It has become one of this generation’s high points when it comes to new IP and managed to create a dedicated fanbase. Hopefully, we will see more of it coming to the West.
6. House of the Dead: Overkill
Alex Riggen: House of the Dead: Overkill is the perfect conversion of the classic arcade shooter to a home console. The game is substantially longer and more complex than the arcade games in the series but it still keeps the basic gameplay so fans of the franchise will know what they’re getting into. The over-the-top writing and great variety in level and enemy design make this one of the best rail shooters on a home console and I highly recommend it to any fans of the genre. Plus, if you do own a Playstation Move the new Extended Edition of the game is worth checking out.
5. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
Mike Kyzivat: The biggest reason this game is on the list is not because of its gameplay (which isn’t bad, but is not stellar), it’s not because of its graphics (which are nice and colorful, but nothing mind blowing) the reason it is on this list is because of the sheer about of fan service this game gives SEGA fans (and the level design is pretty good too). Having all these characters together, both old and new, is something that needs to be done with a Capcom Vs SEGA game (get on it Capcom!!!!).
I suppose you have to have been a SEGA fan from back in the Master System days to really appreciate this game. Fortunately I was which is why I focus so much on the nostalgia of the game. Playing as Alex Kidd, or the Opa-Opa, is pure nostalgic crack. I haven’t seen these characters in decades, but I’ve never forgot about them, and it’s nice to see SEGA hasn’t either. Even seeing some of the newer SEGA characters in a different game is cool too, Akira and Jackey driving the Outrun car is a great idea, as is having B.D. Joe driving his Taxi from Crazy Taxi. It’s too bad they couldn’t come to an agreement with the creator of ToeJam and Earl to have them in the game. The levels are a lot of fun as well, racing through the streets of Tokyo-to, or one of the many sonic levels. I only wish they had done more tracks taken from the cast’s games, like tracks for Opa-Opa and Alex Kidd, or a Shenmue track would have been cool too. There is so much SEGA nostalgia in here I’m sure I’ll be nerd-gasming over it for a long time (sorry to put that image in your head).
4. Virtua Fighter 5
Mike Kyzivat: Best 3D fighter ever!!! And way back it was the first fighting game after Street Fighter 2 that wasn’t just a shameless copy. It went its own way and because of that we now have the 3D fighting genre. What else can be said about this franchise that hasn’t already. It has (for the most part) real world martial arts moves, it has awesome throws, and every character is balanced so you have just as much a chance of beating Lau with Shun Di as you do with Jeffery. Each character can take a life time to master, no matter how much time you put into this game you can always learn more.
Specific to VF5 are 2 new characters El Blaze a luchedor wrestler and Eileen a girl who practices Monkey Kung Fu. The graphics look amazing on either system, but for an online experience you’ll want the Xbox 360 version of the game, because for some reason there is no online play on the PS3. I believe it’s only around 20 or so dollars now (so worth it).
Pat Reddick: In a better time (2005) before the words “survival horror game” were totally synonymous with “shooter with zombies” we had Condemned. That’s right, Condemned has been doing horror in the exact way it should be done for 6 years while so many other horror games totally missed the mark. Although the game plays very similarly to a first-person shooter, firearms are scarce in Condemned so you’re forced to be smart about how you use your ammo. Most of the time you’ll be swinging melee objects at…well…basically zombies or even, get this, solving puzzles! The atmosphere of the game is absolutely eerie as well and it provides a very immersive experience to lose yourself in. And just when you’re fully immersed the game does something to scare the hell out of you. And for those who love collecting there are a ton of collectible objects to find throughout the game. The only real downside is the game’s plot which is…odd to say the least, but even that isn’t very hard to look past given how well this game excels in all other aspects. The best part is since it’s so old you can usually find it for less than $10; I got my copy for $8. Everyone horror fan with an Xbox 360 owes it to themselves to play this game.
2. Sonic Generations
Tom Kyzivat: What can I say about Sonic Generations that we all haven’t already said over the last month? It’s a total badass festival chock full of fan service, fun gameplay and a surprisingly good story! It makes lame beggars walk and blind men see! It brought Israel and Palestine together! It asked me to the prom!!! EEEEEEE!!!!!
That is to say, in a nutshell, Sonic Generations is what Sonic fans have been wanting for about… *checking watch* the last decade or so, and Sega finally delivered. This is more than a mere game–it’s a promise! It’s encouraging to see them get it right: no gimmicks, no bullcrap, just a good, solid Sonic game, and it makes me excited to see where they’ll take it next. Especially since the game was pretty short, and I still want more! MORE! Not that the game was perfect, of course. I would have preferred to see more classic levels, rather than mostly modern (Dreamcast is modern enough for me–I wanted 2D into 3D!), and it could have done with maybe one or two fewer city levels, and of course the last boss gave me herpes, but you can’t argue with how gorgeous the game looks and plays, overall. It’s the first step on a long, happy journey into what Sonic is fully capable of, and I embrace it. Kudos to you, Sega! Keep it up.
Alex Riggen: Bayonetta is a pure action game at its finest. The combo system and combat is deep rewarding and most importantly easy to pick up and start doing something that looks cool. If that’s not enough the art style, graphics and overall tone of the game are unique and create a setting and world that feels very different from most games in the genre. There’s also quite a few nods to games from Sega’s past which may go completely unnoticed by many but for Sega fans like ourselves it’s greatly appreciated.