A couple of months ago, a game company known as THQ was forced to sell off its intellectual properties and shut down. While THQ has not had the highest quality games in recent years (with one notable exception), it has had a long and storied history of delivering great titles, and I was certainly not happy to see the company bite the bullet.
With the passing of a couple of months, I have had time to really think back about what THQ has done over the years, and it reminded me of some of the awesome games it is responsible for. While its history may not be remembered in the same way Nintendo or Square’s would be if they were to ever go under, THQ deserves to be remembered for some quality titles.
Today, I am going to reminisce about my favorite games from THQ. I am not claiming these as “the best” list of THQ games, because I am not writing from a pure quality standpoint. Rather, I am approaching from the perspective of the games I enjoyed the most at the time when they hit the market.
Saints Row: The Third
Not only is Saints Row: The Third my favorite game from THQ, it just might be in my ten favorite video games ever made. If you’ve never played Saints Row: The Third, or any of the Saints Row games for that matter, the best way to describe them is to call them Grand Theft Auto with the volume cranked up to 11.
Like GTA, Saints Row features crime-ridden open gameplay. Unlike GTA, any element of realism is thrown out the window, and it’s just unmistakably insane. Where GTA takes itself somewhat seriously, Saints Row, and most specifically The Third, is not even aware that word serious actually exists.
Thankfully, the Saints Row franchise will live on with the passing of THQ, and the fourth entry will be out soon – a world without the insanity of Saints Row is a world I don’t want anything to do with.
Company Of Heroes
I am not a huge fan of real-time strategy games, with only two exceptions: Age of Empires, and Company of Heroes. Company of Heroes did a fantastic job of scaling the game down to smaller battles and smaller squads of units, which made it far more suited to someone like myself who does not partake in the genre regularly.
Company of Heroes was one of the first RTS games I can recall that let you zoom all the way in, and it created a much more human feel for your units. When one of them met an untimely end, you actually felt something, which is uncommon in most strategy games. Even though it scaled down the size of the battle, there is still plenty of depth for hardcore fans of the genre.
Relic, the developers of Company of Heroes, was picked up quickly during THQ’s auction, so we don’t have to worry about not seeing any more entries in the franchise.
Darksiders is an incredibly underrated game. Sure, much of the concepts are pulled directly from Zelda, but there is plenty of originality, and the more “adult” feel gives it an interesting twist. Sadly, the game did not catch on with gamers as well as THQ would have hoped, and the sequel performed even more poorly, but it will always hold a special place in my heart as one of THQ’s most enjoyable games.
The dark art style is beautiful, and the exploration elements in the game are incredibly well done. I think a large portion of its failure came from THQ not having the money to give it the marketing push it deserved. Saints Row: The Third could have easily suffered the same fate, if not for the fact that the game went viral thanks to the help of sites like Giant Bomb.
The fate of Vigil, the company behind Darksiders is unknown at this time. Many of the employees have moved on to new development studios, and Darksiders still sits in limbo. Platinum Games has expressed interest in acquiring Darksiders, so hopefully the game is able to live on with a better marketing push from whoever picks it up.
No long-winded conclusion is necessary here. I will simply say – RIP THQ, you will be missed.