Community Review: Xbox’s Backward Compatibility

Community Review: Xbox’s Backward Compatibility

There haven’t been a whole lot of new releases in the last fortnight, but there’s been some very good reasons to revisit old games. Especially if you own an Xbox.

The 4K update for Red Dead Redemption recently gave everyone a sharp reminder of how far the BC program has come. Because while you can pop in any Xbox 360 disc into your Xbox One/Xbox One S/Xbox One X, the ability to enjoy the game at vastly better resolution with other quality-of-life tweaks … it changes an awful lot.

The Xbox One still holds up pretty well, and even a ton of fire effects everywhere doesn’t stop that native, 4K 30 FPS performance. And it’s fantastic that games like RDR look as good as they do, because it helps alleviate some of the problem the Xbox One has with exclusives.

Of course, if you’ve gone and sold all of your old 360 games, then you’re a bit buggered. It’s nice to be able to play a cleaned up version of Morrowind, with widescreen support and much cleaner textures. (You could have played it already, although it wouldn’t have played as nicely without the Xbox One X enhancements.)

For the Xbox owners among us, especially anyone who trade in or upgraded to an Xbox One X, how much do you use backward compat – and of the games you’ve played, how have they held up?


  • It’s been great – played through the old Mass Effect trilogy, only really ran into issues with the first one with infrequent random frame rate drops (but IIRC the original wasn’t smooth anyway). Microsoft have done a really great job with this and hopefully they continue to keep it up (publishers permitting, I guess).

    Of course, if you’ve gone and sold all of your old 360 games, then you’re a bit buggered.
    Not really, you can just re-buy them through the digital store (unless it’s region locked?), but it’s probably cheaper to go to an op shop or something and hunt them down cheaply.

    • It’s been great – played through the old Mass Effect trilogy, only really ran into issues with the first one with infrequent random frame rate drops (but IIRC the original wasn’t smooth anyway)

      Nope, the frame rate of the original was a mess. To the point where having Motion Flow (or equivalent) switched on was a good thing.

  • I haven’t had the chance to play any backwards-compatible games on my XBox One X (been playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins since I got it). But it’s a feature I really love the concept of, and I’m very happy that Microsoft are making so many games available. It’s not only an opportunity to re-visit old games, but also play some that I missed when they first came out.

  • I remember at the start of the generation I was real dirty on MS that the bone wasn’t BC – I had spent a lot of money on XBLA in the preceding years and was annoyed that that library was going to be killed off

    Well didn’t they turn that around!

    BC games get a regular run in our house from playing portal 2 with my kids, left for dead with my teenage son or my fruitless endeavour to finish Dark Souls! Best feature on any console this generation

  • It’s been great for me. I’ve been on the Sony side of the fence for a while now (I have a PS4 Pro) and the Xbone S is my first Microsoft console. The price the Xbone got so low it was rude not to buy one. I’m currently playing RDR and you can get some great deals on pre-owned 360 games.

  • If you have had a gold subscription for a couple of years your library will be chockers full of the backwards compat games – it’s awesome!

    I’ve been recently replaying through kotor and loving it.

  • I thought when they first announced it that it would be very similar to BC on the 360 a few patches would come out and the games would run buggy or glitchy. But i have to say I’ve been very impressed with what they have achieved especially with the enhanced updates not only can i play my old 360 games but i feel like I’m playing a remaster. Also every week there is an article of new games being added i think there is over 500 games now. I’ve played and have been able to finish of a few 360 games on my X1X which has been great.

  • I love it i just wish it didnt require you donwloading the entire game even if you have the original disc. Would be awesome if you when you inserted the disc it just grabbed the files from the disc and just downloaded the required files for emulation.

  • I love it! Last month I had one of those golden moments of clarity (Or more likely, a brief moment of sobriety). My housemate was playing Witcher 2 (1X enhanced), and I was on my Xbox next to him playing Battleblock Theatre – What year is it?! Buckle your pants!

    Also, having the huuuge selection of Backwards games to round out a local session is insane! There were so many good x360 titles for local play. Finished playing some Dragon FighterZ with mates? Time to boot up some Geometry Wars, Crazy Taxi, RaSkulls or Castle Crashers!

  • It sets a fantastic precedent for the future. I’d go as far as saying that it’s Microsoft’s current killer-app. Particularly the enhanced versions of 360 games (loving RDR, TW2 & Oblivion).

    I missed Red Dead Redemption… so I purchased it a couple months back and started it on my Xbox One X. Now, it was okay, but it looked a little dated – and before long I started playing something else.

    Now that it’s been upscaled? Wow. I mean, I’m just playing on a 1080p screen, but it looks absolutely incredible. And it really is a tremendous game.

    To be honest, it feels odd playing RDR and having it look significantly better than GTA5 on the same console.

    MS deserves a lot of praise for this. And it’s a great example of how pro-consumer it can be when there’s strong competition.

  • Also, I’d kill for an X-enhanced BC copy of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.

    But I’m not sure how the licencing would work now since the whole Relic(SEGA)–>THQ—>Relic thing happened.

  • I would be lying if I said the BC isn’t awfully appealing, especially with some of the titles being announced like Morrowind and Mercenaries piquing my interest so.
    Sadly I would also be lying if I said this is the reason I’m going to finally go out and close off a third generation of membership in the console gaming Triumvirate. (Haven’t got a Switch either)

    This isn’t something I attribute solely of Microsoft mind you, I’m finding less and less time to game these days, even before I acquired a milk guzzling poop goblin.
    This is the first generation I’ve actually aquired a backlog of console games and with newly gifted Pro and 4K/HDR TV I’m sitting on Origins, Nioh, Deus Ex, Horizon, Prey, Last Guardian, FC5, Ark and more.

    The most telling thing for me was actually packing up all my older consoles and games to make room for my sleep depriving fart machine.
    Aside from meticulously packing everything in such a way that that I can easily grab out a box and start playing old games if I choose, it was hard not to notice that my love affair with Xbox might belong mostly to the original, my 360 collection was actually fairly lacking.

    I’m going to be watching the old titles being released for Xbox very closely and crossing my fingers for some paradigm changing new titles, which will make my decision an extremely easy one.
    Let’s put it this way, if I can get my hands on games like Fable, the arcadey Mech Warrior spin off and some of the great games already available combined with some awesome new games then I will be throwing my wallet at the cashier and snapping one up with a subscription in a second.

  • I think I played 40 back compat games last year. I love getting a couple new ones each month with my Gold subscription (even if there’s more trash than treasure) and some of the discounts have been fantastic.
    I’m also glad that I’ve kept my original Xbox games all these years; who ever would have thought they’d be playing Hunter: The Reckoning in 2018? And still holding my breath for Deathrow!

  • And you can’t play PS4 games on PS5. MIND BLOWN. SONY WINS. NO WONDER EVERYONE LOVES THEM SO MUCH. Gosh PS4 is so much better than Xbox. So great that we have all these exclusives games to play on our less powerful console. The graphics are just..great…hahaha…ha….ha…….uhh………….ok now to sell the PS4 and get an Xbox.

    I’m just kidding…I never had a PS4 to begin with.

  • There is a drawback though… went in this weekend to one of the second hand stores to have a look and see if I could pick up a few of the new OG BC games, saw Sith Lords… for $79! It looks like the store owners have cottoned on to the fact that OG games are valuable when there’s a reason to buy them. Good thing I already have both Battlefront games.

    • Just keep an eye on the Deals With Gold specials, there’s always some great BC titles on sale each week for $5. This week you can pick up Mass Effect 2 & 3, plus all the Dead Space games for $5 each.

  • I love it… if only I didn’t have a huge backlog of current gen games.

    So far my BC gaming has been limited to Star Wars Lego with my son.

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