Developing a game isn't all that complex, so long as you know which path you're willing to follow through to the bitter end. It's employing one too many genres that causes the mass headache. And when done in a poor way, it can make a genuinely good game dwindle into mediocrity. Such is the case with so, so many games, all of which have tried to dip toes in way too many pools.
Of course, there are those that have made a genuine difference, though they're often hard to find, seeing as no particular genre can house them. But from the knowledge we've accumulated over the years, there are definitely five we can name and praise right here and now. So, should you be wanting to find a game that doesn't know its own genre, then be sure to pick these up whenever you get the chance.
5. Lost Judgement
Personally, I have nothing against Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio's unorthodox methods for creating a video game. Who says you can't spend your free time between manhunt missions on a claw machine in a back alley arcade endorsed by Sega? It works, is the point, and it never seems to deviate from the overall narrative that Lost Judgement effortlessly provides.
On top of it being a murder-mystery experience, Lost Judgement is also a stealth-based, beat 'em up, skateboarding, role-playing…thing. It's actually sort of hard to pin just one genre to it, which is more the reason to go back and play it a few times over. Because at the end of the day, once the main story has been cleared, you've essentially got another five games to experience, courtesy of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio's novelty, albeit weirdly engaging techniques.
4. Yakuza (Series)
While on the subject of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, it does make sense to put its gateway franchise front and center, seeing as Lost Judgement is, more or less, its watered-down double. But where Lost Judgement only fused its weirdness into one journey, Yakuza, on the other hand, made a field trip out of it, with a handful of entries, all as odd as the other.
Outside of its core gameplay, which is basically beating up pensioners with garden furniture, Yakuza houses an abundance of side activities, all of which play some sort of role in your journey. Whether it's singing karaoke in a run-down bar, or racing RC cars around an indoor circuit—Yakuza never really fails to amaze us, making each passing instalment a genuine surprise every time.
I'm not sure what happened with Fahrenheit, but whatever it was, Quantum Dream somehow managed to pull off one of the strangest combinations of genres in decades. The fact you begin the story as a deranged murderer cutting yourself in a bathroom stall, to playing basketball for that $50 you owe your colleague, as you do, is a mystery in itself.
That said, it still worked. Fahrenheit featured moments that involved puzzle-solving, stealth, role-playing, and quicktime events. Circulating all of that was a rich and immersive storyline that just couldn't make its mind up on whether to make you laugh, or bundle up in the foetal position and cry for no reason. And you know what? We loved every moment.
2. Brutal Legend
What started as a straightforward hack and slash game eventually transitioned into a rhythm piece, and then completely out of the blue—a real-time strategy, war-based mashup. Thus the tale of Brutal Legend was born, and so followed a library of weird and wonderful genres that no label could dare call their own. Though, if you had to call it anything, then it'd probably be an action-adventure game, more or less.
Not only does the Jack Black-led adventure feature a mixture of genres, but a hearty amount of side activities, such as racing, treasure hunting, and a whole lot of pointless headbanging to prehistoric metal ballads. And so, going by that, there's no way in a million years a developer will be able to replicate the banquet that Brutal Legend once brought to the table. It's just a shame the game itself was overshadowed by millions.
On the surface, Catherine is a puzzle game. At least, that's what it pours its heart and soul into being. But tear away a few heartstrings, and you've actually got this complex love story that requires a whole lot of player interaction in order to unravel its past, present, and future. Not that we're complaining or anything. It's just a weird game.
During the day, you'll find yourself moping around a diner, speaking with your friends, checking your phone—oh, and having an affair, without any recollection of ever starting it. But at night, you'll be thrown into a dream world, where ascending a tower of blocks is your only hope for survival. Miss a step, and you'll come tumbling down faster than you can say “morning hangover.”
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.