Ah, the Xbox 360, the granddaddy of this console generation. Microsoft’s second home video console has a slew of excellent titles in its library, both disc-based and digital, that have thrilled gamers since 2005. This X-List highlights the ten best games in the Xbox 360′s catalog, spanning traditional titles and motion-enabled Kinect offerings. If you haven’t delved into Xbox 360 gaming, consider the games presented here your collection’s building blocks.
Folks, these are the 15 best Xbox 360 games of all time.
Dead Rising lets you live out the classic George A Romero zed film Dawn of the Dead in video game form. Gamers play as photojournalist Frank West who snoops around a quarantined shopping mall, but unbeknownst to him, there’s a zombie outbreak. With the helicopter he rode in on being the only way out, West investigates the reason behind the horror and tries to survive for 72 hours until his ride comes back to get him. You defend West from the undead and the psychotic in this open-world survival horror action title using every piece of environment available. Factor in the RPG-like leveling system (in which you increase your speed and strength, and learn hands-free techniques) and Dead Rising becomes an absolute Xbox 360 must-buy for zombie game fans.
The story follows a 1,000-year old immortal amnesic solider named Kaim who meets a cast of characters who set forth on an odyssey to find out about themselves and their destinies. This gem is highly underrated despite it being a RPG from Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the legendary Final Fantasy series. Turn-based battles feature a timed button queue for melee attacks to increase the amount of damage dealt. With up to five characters participating in battles at once, there’s a full opportunity to experiment with teams of mostly Black Magic users (elemental attacks and negative status effects), Spirit Magic (stat changes status, ailments and non-elemental attacks), or heavy physical hitters with some White Magic (offering health and protection to the party) users. Lost Odyssey, featuring an awesome leveling up system, customization and dynamic story, has the greatness of any Final Fantasy installment.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 is one of the most satisfying games I’ve ever played. Besides closing the chapter on Delta Squad and the Locust/Lambent threat, there are numerous modes on that single disc to keep you entertained long after the main campaign’s completed.
The story begins with the military COG’s dismantled and the remaining soldiers scattered as there’s no home to go to after the human stronghold’s destroyed. Each of the spiritually broken Delta crew members attempt to find their own peace as the story progresses. The ending is satisfying (save a few unanswered questions), the four player co-op in campaign mode delivers on all points, and Versus Mode is quite polished. There’s even a Beast Mode where you get to become the enemy sort of like Left 4 Dead, where you become a Locust or Lambent. This Gears of War installment is easily the best of the three, and even rivals the god-like Halo franchise in terms of shooting action.
I’m not much of a Halo fan outside of the series’ multiplayer modes. That isn’t because I thought they were bad; I, frankly, didn’t dig the story. Halo: Reach, on the other hand, is a story without Master Chief and set before Halo: Combat Evolved. You’re a member of “Noble Team,” a Spartans special ops unit on a mission to gather information about the Covenant. The multiplayer is top-notch as always, but this time around, you aren’t as super powered as you are in previous installments. You don’t fully heal as time progresses, which makes brazen gunslinging a foolish endeavor. The standout mode here is SWAT, a multiplayer setup that sees your warrior equipped with just a battle rifle and pistol (no shields or motion trackers).
Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare
This is the game that forever changed the face of war games. Developers went out of their way to produce shooter upon shooter to get a piece of that sweet, sweet genre pie after Modern Warfare‘s release. None of them, however, can live up to the Call of Duty franchise. I chose this one out of the many CoD games released in its wake because it was the first, and to me, the one with the best story. You play as John “Soap” Mactavish who’s tasked with cleaning up a mess of a civil war raging in Russian…see what I did there? The missions and dialog are immersive, especially the “All Ghillied Up” mission (Captain MacMillan, FTW!), which I won’t spoil here. Other than introducing the revolutionary multiplayer aspect of most shooters today, developer Infinity Ward also managed to squeeze in one of the most difficult and self rewarding achievements in Xbox 360 history: Beating the Mile High Club mission on Veteran difficulty. Virtual high-five if you did it.
The Orange Box
Half-Life 2, Half- Life 2 Episode One and Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2 all ported and bundled together for your gaming pleasure? Yes! Gordon Freeman’s thrilling FPS adventure continues in Half Life 2, and also in Episode One and Two. Portal is a story-driven puzzle game set within Half-Life‘s universe. Combine those titles with Team Fortress 2, one of the gods of PC multiplayer gaming, and you have a near-perfect package. All of these games, from developer Valve, are top-tier and must-plays if you call yourself a gamer.
Fable 2 takes place in the fictional land of Albion, five hundred years after the original Fable. This time around, however, you can select a male or female gender, get married, or pick which sex you want to make naughty time with! This console exclusive title features interactive cutscenes that you use to mold your character as good or evil, and a doggie as a companion that assists in missons. It’s also one of the most gorgeous games on the platform.
Dance Central 2
Dance Central 2 is the only game I know where you could shake your ass to both a Lady Gaga and Mary J. Blige song. As it’s a Harmonix game, you basically play it like Rock Band, but you use your body instead of plastic guitars and drums. Basically the players perform on-screen dance moves, which the Kinect tracks and scores. The more accurately the player executes the move, the more points s/he racks up. Multiplayer, a drop in/drop out system, and voice control means that you can party hard with your friends and look foolish while doing it.
Mass Effect 2 Platinum Hits
Mass Effect 2 is one of the greatest games ever made. Everything you love about the original is greatly improved upon, while everything you hate is repaired or scrapped completely. The story drives the game, your choices drive the story, and the earth-shattering obstacles and amazingly fleshed out characters drive your choices. You play as Commander Shepard, a military solider from Earth out to stop an alien race called the Reapers from re-emerging and destroying galactic civilization. If you played the first Mass Effect, the actions you took will follow you in part two; even the most minuscule bit from the original may play a big role this time around. A game has never made me feel as connected to fictional characters quite like this one. Don’t let the Mass Effect 3 controversy keep you from experiencing this amazing title and series. Action RPG’s don’t come better than this, folks.
An underwater utopia set in the ’60s that’s beaten down by politics, drugs, and alcohol. Citizens turned psychopaths by a revolutionary product made for society’s betterment. A leader whose vision of a better place than America becomes as corrupt as the people he sought to escape. Bioshock is easily one of the most memorable games to appear this console generation. The quick rundown: Your character survives a plane crash and finds shelter in an underwater city called Rapture. There, you meet a man named Atlas who’s looking to escape the hell this paradise has become. Bioshock, between the frightful environmental designs and the timeless ’50s and ’60s music that’s more creepy than joyous in the game’s context, is an audio-visual beast. Morality comes into play, and I absolutely refuse to spoil any of it here. All you need to know is this: Play this game now.
A topic that’s been fought and will seemingly forever be fought is if there is any substance in videogames, and if the medium can ever truly be seen as art. Bioshock: Infinite is the physical manifestation of gaming as an art form. “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.” Set in 1909, players control Booker DeWitt, a man that’s gotten into it with the sharks and owes a substantial amount of money. At his wits end, he meets a stranger that promises if he brings him a certain girl locked away in a mysterious and hidden city above, that he can wipe away his debt. You travel to this city in the sky called Columbia to capture and return this girl. However, things aren’t as simple as they seem once you reach this so-called paradise in the sky. A story so uniquely told in an environment so rich, beautiful and yet disturbingly uncanny is seemingly something from an academy award winning film—being controlled by the tips of your fingers.
It’s very rare that the sequel to an already critically acclaimed game makes its prequel look like a demo for things to come; Portal 2 is one of those games. The mindblowing puzzles, the charming Weatley and the loveable AI psycho GLadoS all function together to bring one of the most brilliant narratives in gaming history. Fans of the original as well as newcomers will laughing during the beginning, scream expletives of shock in the middle, as well as cry and find solace in the end. It’s a must play for any gamer who finds comfort in seeing gaming as an art form.
I’ve personally clocked in over 150 hours into Fallout 3 over the years, and I don’t regret a single second of it. Become the “messiah” or “devil” of the post-apocalyptic wasteland in this massive game. Choose the fate of hundreds, build or topple law and order in this raider-infested world where if the cash is right, morality and consequence comes second. Loot for the best weapons, build the best weapons, customize your character inside and out, from head to toe, and set out on one of the greatest western RPGs ever made.
Batman: Arkham City
The phrase “This game makes me feel like Batman” is one that’s used whenever Batman: Arkham City is mentioned – no truer words could ever be spoken. Set in Gotham City, you run amuck in a closed off district of the city called Arkham City, a place where the lowest of the low and highest of the high in the criminal world call home. Under the surveillance of the sinister Doctor Hugo Strange, the city tries its hardest to break Batman. With Kevin Conroy reprising his role as The Dark Knight and Mark Hamill taking up his last Joker performance, Arkham City is a game that will be fondly remembered because it represents the last time both original voices will work together in the Batman universe. Plus, the events that unfold within this story are unlike any Batman story ever told.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 immediately makes you forget the letdown that is its predecessor, Tekken 6. Hands down the best 3D fighter of this console generation, TTT2 adds almost every fighter from earlier Tekken installments to the tune of 59 playable characters. Namco tweaked, re-calibrated, and added additional attacks to achieve the proper character balance. TTT2 has the best tag in/tag out system in a fighter thus far, all the while making it the most aesthetically pleasing looking Tekken to date. Let’s not forget that near-perfect OST.