Top 10 Greatest Unexpected Hit Video Games Of All Time


You can’t always judge a video game by its box art. Welcome to Thegamefreakshow and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Video Games That Defied Expectations.

For this list, we’re taking a look at video games that prior to their release had low expectations, be it because of a ridiculous concept, prior games or fan backlash. But instead ended up being remarkable titles against all odds.

10: “Spec Ops: The Line” (2012)

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In an industry where modern day military shooters are usually seen as a myriad of linear action set pieces, with a goal to stop terrorists cause they’re not American, Spec Ops on the surface seemed like yet another generic shooter trying to cash in on Call of Duty’s popularity. Worse still, the game’s launch trailer and previous entries that followed the same formula only strengthened that association. But when the game came out oh how wrong we were, what we go instead was a disturbing in depth look into insanity when the line to distinct good and bad was so distorted, that in your desire to be a hero, you end up becoming a monster.

9: “Alien: Isolation” (2014)

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When “Aliens: Colonial Marines” alienated gamers with its lousy gameplay, graphics, and near broken A.I., people weren’t too optimistic about “Alien: Isolation” the following year, especially given the track record of most movie based games. This follow-up took many by surprise and that’s largely because it returned to the tradition of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic. Just as the original “Alien” focused on suspense and horror over action, “Alien: Isolation” was all about stealth and survival. It really feels like you’re in the shoes of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, making the experience more intense, frightening, and of claustrophobic.

8: “Resident Evil 4” (2005)

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“Resident Evil 4” was in development hell for years, undergoing numerous changes. Because of this, hype slowly died out and longtime fans especially lost interest when they heard zombies would be removed from the equation. When it finally came out, however, players were shocked to find this wasn’t only the best “Resident Evil” game yet, but one of the greatest games of all time. Aside from revolutionizing the over the should perspective, “Resident Evil 4” enthralled gamers with its menacing environments, compelling third-person shooting, and a genuine sense of dread.

7: “Guitar Hero” (2005)

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A controller is all you really need to play a video game. Alas, video game developers have tried to shove numerous experimental accessories down our throats over the years, from the Power Glove to the Power Pad. As a result, Guitar Hero looked like just another gimmick destined to flop. Nobody could have predicted it would become one of the most successful music rhythm games ever. Having extreme crossover appeal with diehard gamers and non-gamers alike, “Guitar Hero” evolved into an electrifying franchise with immortal music and pioneering gaming mechanics.

6: “GoldenEye 007” (1997)

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Yet another case of a video game based on movie, Goldeneye is an amazing case where every once and a while, we get a movie game that triumphs against the odds. “GoldenEye” ended up being one of these rare exceptions, which is especially surprising considering it came out two years late. Yet, gamers remain captivated by this game’s awesome appeal to this date, as it moved the FPS genre forward with perfect gameplay, rich level design and a multiplayer component that was surprisingly added at the last minute. That’s why you held on to your old N64 and still play in in your dorm room today.

5: “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker” (2002)

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Talk about judging a game based on appearance alone. There was a huge outcry when people saw that “Zelda” would be going the cel-shaded route. The fact that earlier tech demos suggested a darker, more realistic approach only made this turnaround more disappointing. Once gamers actually popped “Wind Waker” into their GameCube, though, they realized it still epitomized everything we love about “Zelda” with unparalleled adventure, locations, and lore. Plus, after getting past the stylistic change, you’ll find that this is truly one of the most beautiful-looking games and still looks far better than any other 3D Zelda game to date.

4: “The Sims” (2000)

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It isn’t shocking that people raised their eyebrows after hearing about “The Sims.” Although everyone was pleading for a new “SimCity,” we instead got a game where you essentially just play house. Going from building a whole city to living in a suburb sounded like the biggest step backwards one could take. “The Sims” was ahead of its time, however, as gamers became engrossed by their virtual second lives. It demonstrated just how invested we can become in a video game world, even if that world is a simple household.

3: “Kingdom Hearts” (2002)

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This one literally writes itself. The pairing of Disney and “Final Fantasy” characters may sound as random as it gets, but “Kingdom Hearts” amounted to one of Square Enix’s most beloved franchises nevertheless. As the immensely likable Sora, this wonderful RPG truly made the gamer feel like they were exploring Halloweentown, Agrabah, and other worlds inspired by Disney classics. A familiar face waits around every corner and you can’t wait to see who’ll pop up next. With incredible voice acting, addictive gameplay, and a touching story, this gaming experience will stay in your heart forever.

2: “Metroid Prime” (2002)

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Gamers may know what they want, but they don’t always know what’s best for them. Case in point: “Metroid Prime.” After the greatness of “Super Metroid” and other titles in the acclaimed side-scrolling series, fans were appalled to learn this new adventure would be a first-person shooter instead. The fact that a then unknown Amercian developer was helming the game didn’t bode well either. How wrong we were. Atmospheric, chilling, and isolating, “Metroid Prime” distinguished itself as one of the franchise’s most involving entries and put Retro Studios on the map. Maybe history might repeat itself with Metroid Prime Federation Force? It wouldn’t surprise us that’s for sure.

1: “Batman: Arkham Asylum” (2009)

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While Batman had fared better on the video game front than Superman, it still seemed unlikely that we were ever going to get an amazing game centered on the Caped Crusader. Rocksteady Studio whom just like Retro Studios were an unknown developer at the time, didn’t just settle for making another half-assed licensed game with “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” though. They went all out with a haunting environment, masterful controls, epic boss battles, inventive gadgets, and iconic voice actors from the exceptional “Batman: The Animated Series.” The result was the superhero game people had been waiting for, setting a whole new standard not only for superhero games, but many other action games to come.

#Top 10 Greatest Unexpected Hit Video Games Of All Time

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