The PlayStation (PSX or PS1) was home to a whole load of amazing games. The system is arguably the best console for RPGs and helped revolutionize sports and shooter games. With such an influx of overwhelmingly great PS1 RPGs and other games, it’s only natural that a few would slip through the cracks.
Whether the games were too outlandish for their time or were released too late in the PlayStation development cycle, many underrated games exist for this system.
Take a look at the 15 most underrated Playstation games of all time, and see what kind of games you should go back and play!
1. Um Jammer Lammy
Most people probably never picked up the game because of the stupid name. However, Um Jammer Lammy and Parappa the Rapper were critical games to the development of future titles that we didn’t see at the time.
These timing-based games became the prototype for the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games of the future. Um Jammer Lammy was silly and at times was like a bad fever dream, but it had a lot of amazing parts to it, too.
The entire game was voice-acted and a lot of the songs were catchy as all get-out. The game didn’t get great reviews and it didn’t sell a ton. Still, it’s a game most fans of rhythm games would get a kick out of today.
2. Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring
I don’t know what the heck to make of the name either, people. It’s a weird one, but if you can get past that, there’s a really fun game in here.
Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring is a two-part game. One part is a Final Fantasy fighting game that includes famous characters like Cloud, Tifa, Vincent, and Sephiroth along with original characters. The other part of this game is a dungeon-crawler RPG.
The game got some hype around Funcoland when it first came out since we were all riding the high of Final Fantasy VII. However, it landed with a splat because it wasn’t the best fighting game and it wasn’t the best dungeon-crawler RPG.
Despite the reviews and poor sales, this game was still very good in my book because it was inventive and fun. Each character in the fighting game got a backstory and a cool ending when you beat the game with them.
The RPG portion was intriguing, frustrating, and had great music and some unique facets like a wine-selling stock market game. In short, this game is highly underrated and you’re a gem of a person in my book if you played it.
3. Vigilante 8
Any fan of the Twisted Metal series knows that nothing is better than smashing apart your enemy’s car with weapons in a sandbox level. Sure, Vigilante 8 may not have been original, but it was pretty fun.
The game featured a unique lineup of combatants that you could use to attack your enemies. From rocket launchers to special weapons for each vehicle, you could obliterate your foes in style.
The game even had a bunch of hidden content that you could only uncover by playing the story mode, including an alien spaceship that was devastating in battle.
This game got called out for being a ripoff in the reviews, but it’s actually a very good game. At the very least it was better than Twisted Metal III.
4. Legend of Legaia
I’ve said before that the PS1 RPGs were the best ever made, and I ranked this game high for a reason. Sure, Legend of Legaia may not have had the best story or world-building, but it was a solid departure from the repetitive JRPG combat style that was so prevalent on the system.
This game had you perform martial arts combos to attack enemies while using magical forces to aid you. Part of your task was to find your opponents’ weaknesses and then use it against them.
The story was another high point for me. We had a lot of games that were kind of depressing and hopeless but you could find some happiness. This game puts you in a world that was already wrecked and you have to try to make the most of it. Sure, it might have needed a little more sweet for that bitter, but it worked!
5. Omega Boost
Way back in the 1990s, mech suits were the thing. These giant robots are piloted by people and used to destroy other evil people piloting mechs. Well, Omega Boost got the awesome idea to pair a mech suit game with a crazy shoot-em-up style, and we got a very underrated game.
Omega Boost had an interesting, time-traveling story. You’ll see if you play it. However, you end up piloting the Omega Boost mech, and you have to traverse several levels, flying through space to fight the evil AlphaCore and its minions.
The game was downright stylish, fast-paced, and fun. You had to be on your toes to effectively destroy the lowly minion creatures and fight back against some of the giant killer enemies.
The music was very solid and the game gave you some freedom to fly around the map even though you were technically on a rail. Bottom line: this Omega Boost deserved more attention for its somewhat simple yet refined gameplay.
6. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill got some flak because it went with a third-person shooter mode instead of sticking with the Doom-like games of the past. However, this game showed that the series was not afraid to try new things.
The game’s gameplay integrates gameplay similar to Tomb Raider, an interesting change of pace. You’ll spend as much time platforming as you will mowing down enemies across different time periods.
Sure, Duke’s character does not hold up today and the latest entry proved that the series is better off dead. However, the cool time-traveling element, shooting, and crassness of the game should have earned this title a better reception than it received.
7. In the Hunt
Sure, In the Hunt is the port of an arcade game that was released in 1993, but it was one of the earliest games released on the PlayStation. It’s an underwater side-scroller shoot ‘em up game that puts you in the seat of a submarine called the Granvia.
The game allows you to control the screen, so you can determine how quickly you move around the level. The game’s graphics and gameplay were loads of fun.
Personally, I liked the variety of weapons that you get and the various endings. Even if the story was nothing special, the game was highly entertaining and deserved more than the low scores it received from reviews.
8. Azure Dreams
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Azure Dreams is one of the most underrated PS1 RPGs that has ever been made. This is a dungeon-crawler RPG that puts you in the role of Koh, a young man that has to enter the towns’ monster tower and uncover secrets and riches.
The combat and overall gameplay are great. The music is incredibly catchy and suits the game’s mood perfectly. The story, while a little predictable, has some dark twists and turns that make the game very interesting.
Furthermore, the monster-raising element of the game allowed you to fight alongside your favorite creatures. That alone should have made Azure Dreams stand out from the pack.
Everything shines in this game, so it’s very peculiar that the game didn’t see much in terms of sales. Sure, the fact that it’s not a Final Fantasy probably hurt the game’s sales, but surely some publication could have given this game the appreciation it deserves.
9. Dune 2000
Dune 2000 had a winning formula for an RTS. Westwood Studios, the same team behind Command & Conquer, remade some elements of the Dune II video game, improved just about every element of gameplay, and let you play as House Atreides, House Harkonnen, or House Ordos.
Looking at the reviews, the game might as well have been trash. The game had the same UI as Command & Conquer: Red Alert, sucked you into the world of Dune, and even had FMVs to flesh out the story.
Sure, the graphics weren’t great, but Dune 2000 let you battle for spice in a unique and harsh environment with many familiar elements from the main series. Maybe I’m wrong, but this game was a serious underrated PlayStation game.
10. Spec Ops: Ranger Elite
Back before Spec Ops: The Line delivered one of the most horrifying scenes in video game history, we had Spec Ops: Ranger Elite. Now, I’ve maligned this game in the past for not expanding the series and being part of a series that could have pushed the envelope.
However, Spec Ops: Ranger Elite did have a lot of bright points. Basically, the game sends you on missions around the world. You, as an elite ranger, would have to work with an AI or human squadmate to complete missions.
You could control your squadmate by giving them orders, preparing their loadouts, and ordering them to complete certain actions. That’s not bad for a PlayStation game.
The game’s grittiness and barebones music is often mistaken for laziness. Perhaps it is, or maybe we don’t need a dramatic song playing in the background urging us forward. Was the game a big-budget effort from a major studio? Nah, but it was still a good, cheap game to have fun with.
11. Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Long before Farmville sullied our Facebook walls with its incessant cries for energy, we had the Harvest Moon series (now called Story of Seasons). Like its predecessor, you are given the task of renovating your grandfather’s old farm within 3 years or giving up the land.
You start out with a field of rocks, a few tools, and your dog. Your job is to create the best farm possible, including raising livestock, clearing fields and planting crops, and getting along with the members of the local town.
You need to balance every action because the days are timed and you only have so much energy. It’s not long before you get the hang out of things and start horse racing, going to festivals, and wooing local women.
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature made working on a farm fun. More than simple fun, this game had charm like no other. Nevertheless, it got middling ratings in a long, unique title. It deserved better.
12. Bushido Blade
Have you ever played a fighting game and wondered why the people don’t keep their weapons out all the time? Bushido Blade finally took care of that for us.
In this game, you could fight with eight different weapons like the katana or a sledgehammer. Unlike other 3D fighters at the time that had you facing your opponent the whole time, this game allows you to run around the environments that you’re fighting in.
Sure, the game might have lacked the interesting characters of games like Mortal Kombat, but it made up for it with the amazing levels and the ability to incapacitate enemies before killing them. This game put a little bit of effort into creating a sense of realism in that sense.
Still, the game floundered outside of Japan, but it deserves to be looked upon more favorably in my opinion.
13. Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve is a solid horror/action-RPG that has a heck of a story to tell. Remember when people complained about learning how mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell? Well, this game is why the PlayStation generation never had that problem. This game showed what happens when that organelle gets out of control.
The story is wild, and I can only sum it up by saying a supernatural death goddess attacks modern-day New York City. You play as a police officer named Aya who has to spend 6 days from hell figuring out how to stop the aforementioned creature named Eve from causing everyone to spontaneously combust.
The combat is awesome. The game is an RPG shooter that lets you target an enemy and shoot them while building up energy for your turn. The game is like an RPG Resident Evil with fewer puzzles and annoying elements.
The game was popular enough to get a sequel, but it was somewhat poorly received in the U.S. because of long load times. The game has a heck of a story to tell, and it does that perfectly.
14. Ghost in the Shell
After Ghost in the Shell rocked everyone’s collective world with its amazing story and storytelling, people yearned for a game to play. I think that the game we got was good, but most people wanted to play as Major Kusanagi.
Instead, this game puts you in a Fuchikoma tank which is similar to the spider-shaped tank that Major faces in the anime. In this game, you are a rookie tank driver working with Major Kusanagi and others to fight back against terrorists.
You can run around with the little tank, scanning for enemies, doding their attacks, and sending a hail of bullets or missiles at your enemy. It’s simple, but fun.
The game’s levels were cool, but a lot of people criticized the gameplay for being too easy. However, the fact that an anime-based game and brought back the voice actors and inserted incredible music into the game should have gotten this game a more favorable review.
Ghost in the Shell was a mature, stylish game that was good for several hours of fun.
15. Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu
Jade Cocoon tells a pretty dark story. The vast majority of your tribe is put into a deep slumber by the Onibubu monsters, and you have to find the herb to help your people. Thus, you become a cocoon master, an individual that captures and purifies monsters. This story is not your typical coming-of-age and go rescue everyone with the power of friendship. Things are messed up.
You use these monsters to fight against others and their masters. The capturing system is fun and the combat is simple. It’s basically like Pokemon— one type beats another and is weak to others.
The game’s graphics were good, the music was nice, and the gameplay was good. Yet, it was considered mediocre. Don’t sleep on this game, though, fam. It might not be the best PS1 RPG, but it’s certainly a good one.
Final Thoughts on the Most Underrated PlayStation Games
The PlayStation had a wide variety of amazing games, many of them RPGs. The underrated PlayStation games that I have listed here are all good games that come up short of great in most cases.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them out. With the prices of PS1 games these days and the fact that so many games have been re-released on other systems, you can try out a lot of these games.
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