This game gets decent praise but I don’t think it gets enough. It usually makes it into a top 20 3DS game list or at the tail end of top 10 some times but I think it should be talked about as one of the greatest games on the 3DS. I love immersive Sims, the best part about them is interacting with the environment and seeing what’s possible. That’s all you do in the Luigi’s Mansion games, it’s fantastic. LM Dark Moon was one of the most immersive games I’ve played outside PC games like Deus Ex or the Shock Games. All that and it comes in a small handheld package with Nintendo Charm. Easily one of my top 3 games on the 3DS and one of my favorite games of all time.
4. Anno 2070
This game does get its fair share of praise, generally being considered along with 1404 as the best in the series, but I feel that if it released at a different time it would have been given much more praise by the community. Anno 2070 had the unfortunate timing of releasing at the start of the DRM era in 2011. It wasn’t doing anything that nearly all games are doing now, but being one of the first games to require UPlay it was user review bombed for it. This is my favorite city builder/simulation game of all time. The depth of the gameplay mechanics is matched only by its artistic creativity and attention to detail. When considering the best PC Sims of all time this game really should always be in the conversation.
I never understood why this game didn’t catch on as one of the big MOBAs. Imagine if Smash Bros had a much more grounded physics system, on par with the weightiness of a Donkey Kong country game, and was turned into a 2D MOBA. The game had a tactile fun quality to it that no MOBA came anywhere near matching. The pace and movement were exhilarating and it remains the game with the second highest playtime on my Steam account. Unfortunately, online games just never stay the same. Once the player base started declining the match making suffered and Awesomenauts moved into the realm of a small niche game. One of the great tragedies in gaming.
2. World in Conflict
I went back and replayed some of the old RTS classics from the late 2000s. It shocks me the turn history took when it comes to RTSs. As the 2000s entered their twilight years, there were a number of companies reimagining RTS gameplay’s usual “Build base -> Build blob with appropriate counters -> attack move with said blob”. Company of Heroes, Supreme Commander and most importantly World in Conflict were all trying to break RTS out of stagnation. In the end it was Starcraft 2 with as old school a model as it gets, but with a solid IP and narrative campaign, that made it through the 2010s.
World in Conflict provided one of the best modern military experiences in gaming. The visuals were top notch, the physics were spot on, and the attention to detail satisfied anyone looking for military hardware porn. The fantastic Multiplayer gameplay felt like the developers really recognized the coming threat of MOBAs and tried to move RTS gameplay with the times. Those that played the game will resoundingly affirm that they succeeded but unfortunately not enough people bought in and history will declare it as nothing more than a valiant fighter in the last stand of the RTS.
1. Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze
To me, the most underrated video game in the history of man. A victim of an age where 2D platformers were seen as “Beneath” many gamers. In my mind this is the greatest platformer ever created. It surpassed DKC2 in everything but nostalgia goggles for me. A sublimely produced game from start to finish that may never be topped. Unfortunately, it’s under performance likely means that 2D Platformers won’t get this level of AAA investment again. Greatness will have to come out of the indie scene. Tropical Freeze combined the best platforming elements ever seen with top notch visuals and, in my mind, the best soundtrack ever created for videogames. A near perfect production from top to bottom.