Sailing the Blue Skies since 2001.
Welcome to my new feature, Overrated Vs. Underappreciated. Here I'll discuss games I've played that did little to nothing for me, yet seem to be quite popular for reasons unbeknownst to me. Also, I'll highlight a game that was largely ignored by the gaming populace that I think deserves the attention and fandom the more popular game receives.
OVERRATED - Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
I failed to grasp the hysteria that has surrounded KH. Battling the Heartless was okay...but the fighting system was rather weak, the camera uncooperative and your allies brain-dead. The overworld parts were kind of drab and boring, and sometimes objectives were unclear. Picking up munny was frustrating because you had to walk right on top of it for it to be added up into your total. The Gummi Ship segments were a horrible, horrible disappointment and an exercise in tedium. But what broke the game's fun for me was the awful vine puzzle in Tarzan's realm. The controls were poorly executed, the vines themselves had little collision detection, and unlike a wisely designed platformer, you had to climb all the way back up if you fell. If I do have anything nice to say about KH, it's that I did like the music. The concept is interesting, but eh. It takes more than Final Fantasy and Disney characters to catch my interest.
UNDERAPPRECIATED - Beyond Good & Evil (GC, PS2, Xbox, PC)
Michel Ancel's masterpiece came out during the holiday season of 2003, and it quickly got lost in a sea of games. I recall seeing it on the cheap 1 to 2 months after its release, which prompted me to buy it on the spot. I have no regrets about it...outside of not buying it earlier. A wonder of game design, Beyond Good & Evil had a great control scheme that rarely frustrates, a myriad of gameplay styles that offer plenty of variety, great character designs, the best graphics I've seen on a multiplatform title on the last generation, excellent music and a solid voice cast, and some terrific dungeons. The storyline is great, as well. The game's flaws are few compared to Kingdom Hearts; the game's length is short (but awesomely sweet), the dungeon count is unfortunately small (but outside of the last one are so well done that you want there to be more...the last one was not as rich in stealth or puzzles...and once you do the key objective, it wraps up really fast), and the game's ending offers up a cliffhanger leading up to a sequel that seems to have become forgotten. Despite these few small issues though, BG&E is an excellent game deserving of your attention. You'll probably find it for under $10, and it'll be one of the best $10 you'll spend on a game.