While most gamers today know Rockstar Games as the birthplace of GTA and Red Dead Redemption series, it’s hard to doubt that these are really supreme titles. On the other hand, there is more to Rockstar Games game dev as well as publisher.
The two aforementioned franchises now outshine most other games from Rockstar (and from other developers too, frankly speaking). Still, there are hidden or forgotten gems you should take a look at, if you like the dark, shiny, luxurious and violent style Rockstar promotes. Here are the top 5 Rockstar games you might miss. All these games are available on Windows (except for The Warriors – may the PCSX2 be with you!), so you won’t have to bring your old consoles from the attic.
Max Payne Series
While GTA is a bright adventure in sunlit streets, and RDR takes you back in time, Max Payne series is a detective series inspired by noire movies. A police detective whose family was killed takes his own investigation in order to prove innocence and to find the real murderers. Then two more games follow.
This story is told like it would be in 1940s’ Hollywood, with intertitles, slowing time, and cynical brutal speech from both the narrator and the characters. In 2020, it makes sense to play them in reverse: start with Max Payne 3 (2012), a “surprisingly improved sequel” that looks on today’s hardware the best for reasons obvious.
Definitely, Rockstar Games has a thing for noir style! Again the protagonist is a policeman who gets the promotion from a patrolman to a PD who investigates multiple crimes in LA of 1947. The era is the best choice for a noire story, and the manner it’s told is highly realistic, with the best face animation available in 2011.
As for the gameplay, it’s clue-based. You need to search for pieces of evidence and solve the mysteries around each crime. Some incidents are connected, some aren’t. Anyway, this intellectual approach is what let the game age well. Now it even has its VR version, but the original is also worthy.
It’s usually regarded as “the high school version of GTA series”. The protagonist is (as the name suggests) a rebel student who makes his way to the higher ranks of the school hierarchy. Missions he has to complete include both decent and criminal things, fighting opponents with bare fists or with weapons like slingshots and bats, and – yes – studying. Good English will help you out of legal issues, and Chemistry will enhance your ability to create explosives. Successful as it was, Bully is still among the underrated Rockstar games, shadowed by adult rivals.
It’s not a nightclub simulator as the name might mislead. It’s an arcade-styled racing game that features nocturnal city landscapes as your racing road. Shiny and fast-paced, it’s the complete opposite to L.A. Noire.
These games were released from 2000 to 2009, changing locations and improving visuals. Still, they look quite decent, given their arcade manner. You may feel something familiar if you have spent lots of hours cruising the streets of Los Santos.
The original The Warriors movie hit the screens in 1979 and remains iconic until now. The game tells the backstory of the gang that had to roam the streets in the night, escaping other gangs hunting them citywide. The movie events are also here, in the last quarter of the game.
It was voiced mostly by the actors from the original film, so the two form a sort of continuum. This, along with great combat mechanics, made this game a sort of cult (that is, loved by few and unknown to the most). To play it in 2020, you’ll need to either install a PS2 emulator on your PC and connect the gamepad or to reconnect your old console.
Which of these do you remember? Would you play any of these now to recollect the good old days? Or just out of curiosity? And which appears the best to you? Leave a comment, so we can talk about it.