With so many triple A titles released over the past 12 months, dozens of wonderful games seem to have slipped past large portions of the gaming public. Today we're considering the Xbox 360. Any one of the following titles most of which are available for half price or less via the major online retailers will get you through several water-logged summer days, even if you've never heard of them before…
Bully: Scholarship Edition (Rockstar) Inexplicably, Rockstar's wry, original adventure didn't sell half as well as everyone expected, despite offering gamers the chance to cause havoc and debauchery in an exclusive boarding school. Packed with hilarious set-pieces and crazed missions you can pick it up for a trifling 15 quid.
Crackdown (Microsoft) Ambitious open-world driving adventure, where your job is to crack down on street gangs, by any means necessary – in other words, by shunting them off the road and shooting them. Great physics and emergent gameplay possibilities. The promising sequel is out next year so grab this now and get some practice in.
The Darkness (2K Games) Thoroughly entertaining supernatural shooter following the gory adventures of Jackie Estacado, a mafia hitman with the power to summon hideously destructive demon powers. Features a great story by British comic book writer Paul Jenkins and ladles of satisfying violence.
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (Microsoft) Last year's sequel to the cutesy pet simulator, Viva Pinata, provides another slice of colourful 'sandbox' action. Create a garden to attract a large variety of loveable animals, then, well, look after them all. Much more engrossing than it sounds, and really worth a look if you want something the kids can play along with.
Dead Space (EA) Combining elements of Alien, Event Horizon and every survival horror game ever made, this first-person sci-fi shocker was one of the best games of last year. You play mining engineer Isaac Clarke sent out to fix the communications systems aboard a distant spaceship. Let's just say, switching it off then switching it back on again won't get him out of the terrifying hell he finds up there. It's £15 on Play.com. Go on, I dare you.
Prey (2K Games) It looks a little dated graphically, but this offbeat shooter is still worth a look thanks to its amusing story (a Cherokee garage mechanic is abducted by aliens) and subversive level design. Prey toys with aspects such as gravity, physics and reality in ways that the likes of Doom and Halo would never dream of.
Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (Atari) Escaped space prisoner, Riddick, must shoot his way off a hellish mercenary ship, owned by sadistic clone overlord Captain Revas. Pulsating action, fantastic sci-fi weaponry and hours of gory entertainment. A few glitches here and there, but Play.com have it for £16 at the moment!
Test Drive Unlimited (Atari) A truly agenda-setting racing sim that provides a huge open map, allowing players to cruise the streets creating their own race events against AI drivers (or online versus other gamers). You can't argue with 1000 miles of lovely Hawaiian roads and 125 beautifully modeled cars. If you already have this, though, check out Project Gotham Racing 3 instead.
Ace Combat 6 (Namco) This arcade-style flight combat series has been around for years, and remains popular with its hardcore fanbase. But Ace Combat’s mixture of adrenaline-pumping dogfight lunacy and lush visuals deserves a wider audience. Although you won’t find much online action, the single player missions are as exciting as ever.
The Club (Microsoft) Created by Liverpool studio Bizarre Creations, this is a fascinating attempt to graft the mechanics of a racing game onto a third-person shooter. You're a mercenary blasting your way through a series of shoot-out sequences as quickly as possible, unlocking cool weapons en route. Search for it via Google Shopping and you'll find it for a tenner.Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback