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Opinion [Top 5] - Your favorite "pleasantly surprised" games?

eyesabitdull

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OVERVIEW:

So I've had, what I would call, a renaissance in my love for gaming after moving to PC and exploring games from genres I've long abandoned.

And a lot of these games that I took a leap of faith on, and bought on an absolute whim, have became some of my favorite games that I've had the pleasure of enjoying in years.

And in this thread, I'd like to talk all of you of some those games that I was caught pleasantly surprised by after buying it on a whim, and found myself enjoying dozens of hours playing - and hopefully some of you could also share with me and others on games that you yourself have enjoyed under similar circumstances.




Let me start by saying that I have never like rogue-likes until I played Hades. But Hades, for me, was a great game in how it was able to consolidate it's gameplay loop & mechanics along with it's story while never sacrificing - or compromising - either. I'd argue that my biggest issue with the game is that it never really ends, per say. You hit the end, and then you're expected to hit the end, again, multitude of times, to get to the actual ending. Not a fan of forced repetition to get an ending, but nonetheless, it makes up for it by consistently providing an almost always fresh string of encounters over many hours.





Unavowed was my first point and click adventure in game in eons, and I had no idea what this game was about other than what was on the steam page, and bought it on an absolute whim. I just knew that I was itching for a point and click adventure game, and I needed to scratch it and so I bought the game. I personally love about 90% of the game. With a great story in opening and midway point, the third act seems to fall apart a little hard than it should. I'd even argue as point and click adventure game, it was a bit on the easy side. However, it was a game in which it's tone and mood, and art style, that really helped captivate me again into being open minded to enjoying point and click adventure games again.





Victory Road was a game I bought trying to scratch an itch for a boxing/MMA game and sim management game all in one. Realizing that UFC game wasn't going to come out on PC, I needed a fix, and somehow stumbled upon this game. This game is essentially you being a manager for a boxer and training your boxer to fight, and workout, while also taking care of his diet. In fights, you callout attacks/combos that your boxer - who is controlled by an AI (iirc) - will then execute. His ability to fight also depends on the training you give leading up to the fight. This game is ABSOLUTELY EXHILERATING. Winning some fights when you were so close to losing is one of the most memorable moments I've had in gaming. Raising my hand up like an idiot when my boxer wins the championship was fun as all hell. Recommended game for me.






Ostriv is a period based town sim management game, and you should absolutely play it if these kinda games are your thing. What I love most about this game is the attention to detail to almost everything in the world. Villager build houses bit by bit through phases and you get to see how each building differs in design as it builds. The developer puts an insane amount of research in the history of the period (which, sorry, I can't remember the era) and painstakingly recreates the same buildings and tools of that era into the game. It's a very relaxing, and beautiful game, that I'm so glad popped up on my discovery list on steam.





Hands down, my favorite game of the year so far. Suzerain is a simple, short, yet quite a hell of a riveting game to play. It's a text based decision making game set in a fictional world where you become a president of a volatile nation. You're pit against the former ruler, and dictator, and you're tasked to either push for reforms or double down on the dictatorship role - or find a very interesting combination of both to set your country forward. I love this game, and more people need to play it. Buying this game was the best decision I've made. Never did I enjoy game so much and found myself captivated by a political world set in a fictional setting.


 
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GHG

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1. Hades - expected a good rouguelike indie game and 60 hours of addiction later I ended up with my GOTY.

2. Prey (2017) - based on all the pre release material I thought it was going to be a standard shooter but it actually turned out to be one of the best immersive sims of all time and the best spiritual successor to system shock we could ever wish for. Even the Mooncrash DLC surpassed my expectations in every way. A roguelike immersive sim? Sign me up.

3. Nier (2010) - the moment I stopped listening to critics. The game is a masterpiece. This game shits on the face of anyone who says "videogames can't be art".
 

Kenpachii

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1) Valheim ( best open world survival game i played )
2) they are billions ( best RTS ever made )
3) The witness ( myst 2.0 )
4) immortals risen phoenix ( botw + ac odyssey crossover + kingdom hearts mixed into it, great game )
5) divinity 2, absolute god tier game.
 
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Plantoid

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Doom eternal - I was expecting something good because of reviews and trailers but the game absolutely blew my mind, best fps from last gen

Another vote for Prey - I'm sure others will get into detail but don't sleep on it

Ori and the will of the wisps - think the sequel can't possibly be better than an already perfect game, think again

Hades - the trailers and gameplay videos I saw didn't do it justice, games Is like crack, yesterday I went to bed 3am and couldn't sleep because I was in a rush after playing it for 6 hours, I even had dreams about it
 
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Captain Toad

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Demon's Souls - The classic first Souls experience. I didn't like it. I quit before finishing the first true level. Came back a few weeks later and it became one of my all-time favorite games.

 
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Raphael

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Most recent examples - dead cells, Monster train, slay the spire, risk of rain 2, curse of the dead gods, Hades.

As you can see i recently discovered i actually love roguelikes after thinking i would hate them / thinking i have better games to play. All of those are absolutely amazing.
 
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Mabdia

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Well... I'll talk only about the games that surprised me how good it was.

Tales of Berseria (My first Tales games. I really hate action rpg games and I loved it so much!)
Cyberpunk 2077 (I really hate FPS games. After 30 minutes of game I loved it. Played it for over 200H)
Heavenly Sword (I didn't expect anything of it. In the end it was an amazing game)
Disgaea ( Who would have guessed how funny to play it could be?!)
Driver

1. Gravity Rush
2. The guided fate paradox
3. Nier
4. 13 sentinels
Ah, the good old Gravity Rush. Still now I remember the first time that it showed into my radar.


It was no surprise how good it was. This game alone selled me a Vita! It isn't in my list because the second I watched the video above I knew that I would love it!
 
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Honestly when they announced it I thought it would be a game of 8 as a launch of PS vita and I was only based on photos.

At the end when I saw it in motion ... And I played it, I found the game that marked my passion for the hobby and the one that became the video game of my life, because from playing several titles I was tired of not having a game for me, and especially the characters that are specials like kat .

For that and more, no matter how much they want to put me in a game with Graphics from the latest Final Fantasy movie or a monumental budget, it doesn't mean anything ... Because Gravity Rush I have the affection and love that no other title has could give my passion.
 
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AJUMP23

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Crusader Kings 3.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the management of the country the political alliances and building factions through marriage. One time I started out in Ireland and ended up ruling most of Russia due to some marriage luck and untimely death. None of which I planned, but all of which I loved.

 
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chixdiggit

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A Plague Tale: Really enjoyed this from start to finish. Turns out puzzle solving and battling with rats is pretty fun. Can't wait for the sequel in 2022.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons: Great story and interesting gameplay mechanics. The main characters reminded me of me and my own brother so maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.
Valheim: Incredible game. After 120 hours I put this on the shelf to wait for the next update but I easily could put in many more with what is available. Just so much fun to explore and create adventures.
Hunt Showdown: So underrated. The most intense multiplayer I have ever played. A real treat to the eyes and ears as well.
Torn City: This is a text based MMO that is much deeper than you could imagine but still really easy to get into. A game that can be played many different ways with a really diverse community that makes it fun. You will make friends and you will make enemies. People will try to scam, cheat, back stab, and steal from you, none of which is against the rules. But you will also meet lifelong allies and faction mates that will help you along the way. As it's text based and runs on browser it's great to play at the office when bored.
Torn-City - Massively multiplayer online text based RPG
 
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eyesabitdull

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Crusader Kings 3.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the management of the country the political alliances and building factions through marriage. One time I started out in Ireland and ended up ruling most of Russia due to some marriage luck and untimely death. None of which I planned, but all of which I loved.

Joining Welcome Home GIF


I too, absolutely love this game. It's currently my most played game clocking in at almost 300 hours to date.

I would of put it on my list if I had bought it on a whim, but after seeing a few playthroughs I found it really intriguing and had planned to buy it day one. Knew nothing of the series, never played it ever, just wanted to try something new. Became a game I can easily say that I have a hard time putting down to the point I'm on a sabbatical from that game until new content drops.

I'm patiently frustrated with the lack of expansions and/or DLC this far into the games release tho.

But goddamn do I love this game.
 
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R6Rider

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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
[I should also note that at this point I didn't follow news, announcements, etc of video game and had very little experience with what I would soon learn are called RPGs] I remember back in 2005 I was at a friends house playing with airsoft guns and during some video game conversation another friend brought up that his older brother was playing this new game called Oblivion and talking about going around the map and becoming a vampire and such.

Me loving what I had heard decided to take a look at the store the next chance I had. When that moment came I found the title was $50 which was much more than I could spend as a kid in that instance. I DID notice that it was part of a series: The Elder Scrolls, and right to its left on the shelf was the prior game. So I grabbed the Morrowind GOTY Edition on PC for a whopping $20.

This game blew my mind in it's freedom and depth and basically consume my summer. It's still one of my favorite games of all time. It also led me to online gaming forums and discussions which also led to a much broader world of gaming and genres.


Hitman Collection on PS2 [Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts, and Hitman: Blood Money]
Basically a friend in junior high wanted to borrow a game on PS2 (I don't know which title) and told me he had the Hitman Collection I could borrow in return. I had no idea what the Hitman series was, but it sounded fun.

These games were some of the most fun I had in years and I ended up buying myself the collection soon after. Blood Money specifically was such a good game.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
This was actually among the games my parents (mostly my dad) picked out one year as a birthday gift. He didn't follow gaming, recognize the series, or anything like that. He simply browsed the selection at the store, noticed it said "stealth" on the cover and thought I would enjoy it.

I did and I enjoyed the shit out of it. I might have been lost in the overall story, but goddamn was that gaming amazing.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Dark Athena
I had the PS2 almost since it launched, but didn't have an Xbox for years. I actually got mine from ebay with a bundle of about 10 games with it. One of those games was Escape from Dark Athena.

I had seen and enjoyed the movies so I was interested in the title, but figured it would be a bad movie game. Boy was I wrong. This game and gameplay still hold up pretty well today and is some of the most fun stealth out there. I also remember Xzibit was in it which I thought was hilarious. I went on to buy the PS3 Assault on Dark Athena game which included EfBB and wasn't too bad itself. If they offered another remaster of it, I'd buy it again.

Thief: Deadly Shadows
This was another title from the Xbox ebay bundle and another series I had never heard of before. I knew from the boxart (and title) that stealth would be involved and an older setting.

Toss in the supernatural stuff and fantastic gameplay and it was instantly one of my favorite games back then. It's a shame what happened with the reboot, but I'll never forget that creepy ass level at the asylum.
 

hangdang69

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Recently? Steamworld Dig 2, The Pathless, Yoku's Island Express, and Spiritfarer.
 
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DOOM 2016:
I never really played any DOOM game before, and on a whim I asked my buddy to borrow his copy. I heard some reviews said it was good, but my friend said it sucked. Turns out my friend only tried the multiplayer and I played the Campaign and had a blast. Probably one of my favorite games of the PS4/X1 gen for sure. Plus the snap map was great. Since then have played all the DOOM games.

Bloodstained RotN:
Despite Metroidvanias being one of my favorite genres, I’ve never really gotten into the Castlevania games that much. Again on a whim I decided to get RotN when it came out since it was cheap and actually seemed like it was a mostly well made crowd funded game. Had a good time with it.

Bayonetta:
Saw the game for 10 dollars off used at GameStop a week after it came out, which seemed odd because usually any brand new game they had used was only 5 dollars off. I had heard good things about it being a great action game, and already loved Ninja Gaiden 2 on 360, so I had decided to get.

I even asked the guy at the counter why it was cheaper than usual. He said said most people didn’t buy it because it was bad. I asked him if he played it himself and he said was “yeah I don’t play games like that,” which was pretty vague so I wasn’t sure what his issue with it was. Regardless it was a fantastic action game and I liked it so much I bought a WiiU later just to play the sequel.
 
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1. Stardew Valley - A wolf in sheep's clothing. This is what Pokemon games ought to be. Not the farming but the addictive nature of it.
2. The Witcher 3 & HoS, Blood and Wine - I somehow dodged all hype & media for this and then played it on a whim.
3. Monster Hunter: World - Haven't had this much fun playing online co-op since the original Demon's Souls.
4. Fallout: New Vegas - My expectations were down in the gutter after coming from Fallout 3.
4. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - Pleasantly surprised with the depth of the battle system. Best in the series.
 
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Woggleman

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Red Dead 2. I expected them to go the GTAV Route with a short story, arcadey gameplay and shallow story but the game is everything that GTA V is not which is a good thing. I didn't think Rockstar still had it in them.
 

R6Rider

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Red Dead 2. I expected them to go the GTAV Route with a short story, arcadey gameplay and shallow story but the game is everything that GTA V is not which is a good thing. I didn't think Rockstar still had it in them.
After Red Dead Revolver I don't think that series will ever go in that direction again. Granted that game wasn't originally developed by Rockstar.
 

TimeShinigami

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Can't really think of a Top five, but I did pick up YS VIII on a whim recently and it quickly became one of my most enjoyable game experiences in awhile. Gave me Skies of Arcadia vibes, and that's a Top 10 game ever for me.
 

darth.shrimp

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The Neptunia series.
I bought Re;birth 1 on Steam while it was on sale, I guess it looked good for that price? Still looked like a super weeb game so totally forgot about it until the second was released, thought "why not" and gave it a try. Boy, was I impressed... sure, it was still a super weeb game with cute girls, but the characters were still endearing, the story quite compelling, the humour on point and super meta, and most importantly, the combat system was awesome. Reminded me of both Grandia 2 and Xenogears.

As you can see with my avatar, I'm now a huge Loweecon.
 
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Mabdia

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The Neptunia series.
I bought Re;birth 1 on Steam while it was on sale, I guess it looked good for that price? Still looked like a super weeb game so totally forgot about it until the second was released, thought "why not" and gave it a try. Boy, was I impressed... sure, it was still a super weeb game with cute girls, but the characters were still endearing, the story quite compelling, the humour on point and super meta, and most importantly, the combat system was awesome. Reminded me of both Grandia 2 and Xenogears.

As you can see with my avatar, I'm now a huge Loweecon.


Since I fell like FF battle system sucks nowadays, Neptunia was a really surprise. Loved it so much. Played it on my Vita.

The best thing about the game is how it never get too serious about what it is.

One of the best battle systems of PS3 era (the original sucks on PS3).
 
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synchronicity

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God Hand
Puppeteer
Fran Bow
Bit.Trip Presents...Runner 2 : Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Bulletstorm

I don't know if these are my "top 5" but they all came to mind as games I went into without super strong expectations, and all of them became all-time favorites.
 
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Steamworld Dig 2

This one really surprised me. It's still my favorite Metroidvania. I love the gameplay and it's fun to just explore.

Batman Arkham Asylum

I went in not expecting much and I ended up loving it. It's still my favorite Arkham game out of the four.

Odin Sphere

I played this on the PS2 and was surprised by how much I love it. The gameplay is fun and fast. I was able to get the best ending. I still think that Odin Sphere is Vanillaware best game.

Mario + Rabbids

When I first heard of this game, I thought it was a stupid idea. I got this game on sale and when I started playing it I was hooked from the beginning. One of the best looking games on switch. The environment s are colorful and imaginative. The gameplay systems is addicting and plays like XCOM.

Yokai Watch

Not really into Pokemon, so I went in this game not expecting to be blown away. I ended up loving it. The gameplay is fun and different. I like the supernatural aspect of the ghosts. The story and characters are much more interesting than any Pokemon game. That includes the gameplay. I love all the monster designs. I love all the games in this franchise but the first one is the one that got me into this series. I would say the second one is my favorite though. Wish Level 5 would bring over Yokai Watch 4+++ to the US
 

brian0057

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  • Mark of the Ninja
    • I was not a fan of Klei's previous games, Shanks. I mainly got it because I'm a stealth whore. Currently, one of my favorite stealth games ever made.
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary
    • I actually played the 2013 reboot first so I wasn't that excited for it. Turns out I liked it better and the puzzles were amazing.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
    • I'll say it right now: I'm not a fan of Twilight Princess and that didn't endear me to its sequel. Well, to this day, Skyward Sword is one of my favorite Wii games and in my top 5 Zelda games ever
  • Tom Clancy's Spinter Cell: Double Agent (Version 1)
    • I consider Version 2 to be the superior version. But the PC counterpart was shockingly good. Probably the last time Splinter Cell was good.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
    • I despise the Metal Gear series with a burning passion. Possibly the worst stealth series ever made. That being said, the fifth outing was surprisingly decent, even if it's just ripping off Chaos Theory. Perhaps the only game in the series I can play without wanting to commit sudoku in the aftermath.