We agree, buying a digital version of the game is convenient, at least if you have a decent internet connection. In that case, you can get any title as soon as it's released, without leaving your house. Plus, a lot of fantastic games don't even receive physical releases. However, this also means hundreds of games are getting delisted on Steam, PSN, Xbox Live, and other digital distribution services, with very little hope of returning. That's why we're naming the best games no longer available to buy digitally or in any other form. As we'll focus on full games, don't be surprised that P.T. is not on this top ten list. Of course, we'll also skip yearly sports titles, and we surely don't need to explain why.
10. Super Mario Bros. 35
Super Mario Bros. 35 is a unique entry on our list, as it's extinct! Nintendo launched this free Switch title on October 1, 2020, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. for the NES. This was a unique and fun take on the popular battle royale genre, where you compete against 34 other players. Of course, you have to survive for as long as possible, ultimately being the last man standing. Alternatively, you could participate in "Special Battle "events with specific conditions.
The gameplay simplicity made this title incredibly popular, but unfortunately, the fun lasted for only six months! On March 31, 2021, Nintendo shut the servers down, and since this was an online-only piece of software, no one can enjoy it anymore. Well, there's a fan-made server now, but you have to wonder for how long it will stay alive. The best hope we have is that Nintendo will bring the game back in some form, as the title's popularity suggests that fans would love some more!
9. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth
Konami pleasantly surprised us with remakes of its famous games, which included Castlevania, Gradius, and Contra. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is a massive improvement over the original release, published on Game Boy. We are not talking only about infinitely better graphics, but also the gameplay changes. The pace is thankfully much faster, and now we can also use secondary weapons. Despite this, you'll need a lot of practice to reach the end credits!
Unfortunately, this software was only available on Wii and Wii U via the WiiWare online market. However, as the service was closed in 2019, you can't purchase it elsewhere. As Konami still owns the IP, we hope they will release the ReBirth collection sooner or later. We have a feeling that they would still sell well, even without any enhancements. Furthermore, it would help save the largely forgotten series.
You might remember how popular music games were, with titles such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or SingStar. After releasing numerous editions on physical discs, Sony decided to launch a digital edition in 2014. With over 1600 songs to purchase, the game was perfect for home parties. You could even use a phone as a mic by installing a dedicated app! Even the single-player was pretty fun, as you could complete online challenges and post your high scores.
Unfortunately, the game was taken offline on January 31, 2020, preventing us from buying new songs. Furthermore, PS3 owners can't even redownload the tunes they already purchased! Of course, this also means that all online modes are shut down, and you can't unlock some of the trophies. Currently, the best alternative is the Let's Sing series which is pretty similar and available on many platforms. However, the library of songs is much more limited.
7. Transformers: Devastation
The quality of Transformers games varied a lot, but Transformers: Devastation grabbed everyone's attention. Taking control over five Autobots, once again, you have to stop Decepticons and Insecticons. If you've ever played Bayonetta, you'll quickly realize that this title borrows many gameplay elements from it. This includes fast action and the ability to slow down time. The gameplay is varied thanks to the ability to transform at any time and many attacking options. As you can purchase new abilities and upgrades, it's hard to get bored quickly.
However, the game was delisted in 2017, only two years after its release. Of course, the expiring license was the reason, so you can play this title only if you buy it on physical media. However, this doesn't include PC gamers, as the DVD copies are not available. Every other Transformers game suffered the same fate, so hunting down the second-hand copy remains the only choice.
6. OutRun: Online Arcade
In 2003, Sega finally released a true sequel to a legendary arcade racer, OutRun, this time with a Ferrari license. The company knew how to handle massive expectations, offering lots of content, combined with excellent controls and multiplayer. Soon after, the game was ported to home machines before finally arriving on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2009. Renamed OutRun Online Arcade, the title was graphically arcade-perfect on both systems, although it lacked content. Unfortunately, as Xbox Live Arcade titles were limited to just 2 GB, the developers had to remove additional cars and tracks.
Still, this remained one of the most fun arcade titles of the generation until it was removed near the end of 2011. As you can imagine, the Ferrari license expired, and Sega didn't want to renew it. Interestingly the more complete release, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, stayed on Steam for two more years before it vanished for the same reason. However, unlike Online Arcade, this title is at least available in the physical edition.
5. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 improves over the original action RPG by offering deeper gameplay and even more popular heroes. These include Cyclops, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Wolverine, or Hulk, among almost 30 others. The best thing about this title is the four-player couch multiplayer, which is enormously fun. Gamers need to cooperate as they can combine powers in many unique ways.
While the game initially appeared in 2009, the digital release happened only in 2015. However, in July 2018, the title was delisted from all platforms. Unfortunately, that's very common for Marvel releases, meaning you can't wait forever before you purchase them. So while, in theory, this and other titles might come back, that's not a guarantee.
As one of the best PlayStation 4-only games, DriveClub had a very rough start. After many delays, it was released but seriously lacked content. Plus, online servers barely functioned for weeks. However, the developers Evolution Studios kept working, and in a year or so, tremendously improved the title. Tons of additional content was added, including new cars, tracks, championships, and even gameplay elements, such as weather conditions. Plus, this game looks gorgeous on modern gaming TVs!
Still, even though it sold millions of copies, Sony decided to kill the future franchise. The writing was on the wall when Evolution Studios was shut down in 2016, and three years later, the game was removed from sales. While you can still find a physical copy and play it on your PS5, the problem is that it lacks any DLCs. This makes it pretty bare-bones and probably not worthy of a purchase. Unfortunately, there's no chance in hell this title is even coming back. In theory, Sony could reacquire the licenses, but the company simply doesn't care about it.
3. Driver: San Francisco
After the exceptional first and second game, the Driver series had a massive downfall. However, after a few forgettable and buggy releases, Driver: San Francisco came to the rescue! This 2011 release took us to Golden Gate City for another round of exciting chases. To make the action faster, the developers introduced the shifting ability. This means that you can transfer yourself to another car without even stopping! As you'll find out, there is a perfect explanation why this is even possible.
Even a decade after its release, Driver: San Francisco remains an attractive-looking and unique racer, but unfortunately, it's not available since 2016. Yet, this is not a surprise, considering that the game had a ton of licensed tracks and, for the first time, real cars. For years, gamers have been begging Ubisoft to remaster it, especially as this title is backward compatible on Xbox Series (if you can find one!). However, until this becomes a reality, your best bet is to find a second-hand copy for the Xbox 360.
2. Mortal Kombat
After a terrific start, the Mortal Kombat series took a nosedive by the end of the nineties. Mortal Kombat 4 was disappointing, and a trilogy of games for PS2, Xbox, and GameCube did nothing to help the situation. However, in 2011 the original team created the soft reboot, commonly known as Mortal Kombat 9. What they did is to get back to the roots, taking the combat to two dimensions. With a perfect roster that included all fan-favorites and revolutionary story mode, no wonder this title was a terrific success.
Delisting a fighting game looks pretty unusual, but that's what happened to Mortal Kombat in 2020. However, the problem wasn't the licensing, even though the game includes Freddy Krueger as the downloadable character. Instead, the publisher Warner Bros. announced the removal because of the network change. Hopefully, the game will come back in one form or another, as it's still one of the best fighters ever!
1. Forza Horizon 3
The Forza Horizon series allows us to drive hundreds of licensed cars in some of the most attractive open-world environments. The third part took us to Australia, where we could freely roam even outside the tracks. One of the best things about this title were showcase events that made us compete against unusual opponents, including boats, trains, or even a jet plane. Furthermore, there were fun expansions that took us to the snowy mountain and the world of Hot Wheels.
Unfortunately, as is the case with every Forza Horizon game, this one also got delisted. That happened in 2020, only four years after the initial release. This is because of the expiring licenses for different brandings, vehicles, and music. As Microsoft continues to release new sequels, it's doubtful they'll ever bother to bring back Forza Horizon 3 or any other previous releases. So, grab them while you can!
Unfortunately, many other quality titles share the same fate, including James Bond 007: Blood Stone, Simpsons Arcade, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, or even the Midnight Club series. Fortunately, you can find physical copies for most of these top ten titles, though that might not always be easy and cheap. Still, as we can't avoid buying digital copies of games, make sure to grab them while they are still available.
Do you still buy games on physical media, and why? Do you regret not purchasing some title before it was delisted? Share your words in the comments section!
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I have Driveclub, but I missed a chance to buy all DLCs, including the bike DLC. This game will never come back unfortunately, it's a perfect storm of bad events.
November 23 at 03:44:00 PM