Let's Remember Some Xbox 360 Games

I think we all took the Xbox 360 for granted. Other all-time greats like the SNES and PS2 seem to be remembered more fondly than Microsoft's console, which tends to be recalled as more of a thing that happened than a platform to be treasured.

I wonder if that's down to recency. It could have to do with a changing market as well; by the age of the Xbox 360 Nintendo had splintered off from the hardcore console wars and found a very different kind of success with the Wii, which tempered Microsoft's own stellar sales efforts. This was also the era that the PC emerged as a multiplatform destination, something the Xbox 360 played an important part in.

It might be down to the fact Microsoft's console branding has never been loveable in that way that seems to endear other companies to their fans. It could also be the way purchasers of early Xbox 360s had to spend years getting the things replaced because they kept breaking down.

Whatever other people's reasons may befor not revering this console, I'm not having it. I adored the Xbox 360, through its hardware missteps (HD-DVD! Kinect!) and endless UI overhauls (RIP Blades), for two reasons:

1) Because it had the greatest video game controller of all time. And ...

2) Because of those games.

The Xbox 360 wasn't just a multiplatform workhorse during its era, it was also home to a range of exclusives from Microsoft studios (and publishers like EA and Capcom) that make you wonder what the hell has happened at that company in the last few years for all those quality releases to just dry up.

Project Gotham, Fable, Gears, good Halo games, it was just hit after hit.

So let's remember some of those games. This isn't a list of the best Xbox 360 games, we have that already. What I wanted to do here is remember the games that really defined the Xbox 360 experience, whether they came from a Microsoft studio or were just exclusive to the platform.


Project Gotham Racing 4

I miss this series so much. I think out of any driving game on Earth PGR was able to hit this perfect spot that made driving its cars feel real while also making the whole experience fast and fun as hell.


Fable II

The first game was probably better, since the series' fundamentals were more at home with its reduced scale, but this was still a remarkable video game, and one of the most unique RPG experiences in the modern era. Like PGR, it's a damn shame what Microsoft has done (or failed to do) with it in recent years.


Gears of War II

The first Gears was a landmark Xbox 360 game, but the second was — and remains — the best of the series. Cutting yourself out of a giant city-eating worm is one of the greatest pleasures in all of video games.


Lost Odyssey

Microsoft wanted very badly to crack the Japanese market with the Xbox 360, and just never managed. Part of that effort was a push to sign exclusivity deals with a number of JRPGs, and while Blue Dragon was fun (and looked amazing), the four-disc epic Lost Odyssey was the better game.


Braid

The Xbox 360 will forever be remembered as the platform that really helped champion the idea that indie games had a valuable role to play on console. From Castle Crashers to Geometry Wars there were a number of important games driving this movement, but none had the impact that Braid's rule-breaking platforming managed.


Crackdown

DJ Krush's contribution to Crackdown's soundtrack had a big effect on me, but let's not forget that the game itself was pretty special too, using the Xbox 360's powerful new hardware to create an open world that cared less about realism and more about blowing everything up and punching cars off rooftops.


Viva Pinata

It's far from being Rare's best game, but it's easily their best-looking. Microsoft and the Donkey Kong Country creators really swung for the fences here, and while they couldn't nail the Harvest Moon x Pokemon experience they were hoping for, they at least managed to make a game that stood out from the brown shooters that the Xbox 360 was becoming synonymous with.


Forza 3

Just as the Gran Turismo series began to falter, along came Forza 3 with one of the best driving experiences of all time.


Dead Rising

This is the best "next gen" video game I've ever played. Nothing has ever made me go "holy shit this is some new horsepower" with more gusto than seeing the zombie crowds this game could pull together to create an entirely new experience that simply hadn't been possible on older hardware.


Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis

The GTA guys making a sports game? In what was essentially just a GTA IV testbed? It should have been a joke game, but the fact it appeared so early in the console's lifespan — and was genuinely very good — made it a surprise hit.


1 vs 100

Everything that HQ is doing now on mobile, 1 vs 100 was doing on Xbox Live nearly ten years ago. The combination of a live host and massive crowds made up of other Xbox Live users made this one of the most unique — and sorely missed — experiences in console gaming.


Bomberman: Act Zero

Just kidding.


Comments

    Ace Combat 6. Back when I had my 360 it was the one game I would pull out and re-play every 12-18 months.

      Still waiting for Ace Combat 7 to get a release date. In the meantime I've backed "Project Wingman" on Kickstarter which looks and runs great. You should definitely try it out

    Perfect Dark Remake
    Castle Crashers.

    (And sorry, the GC had the best controller design. Everything perfectly placed and thanks to the a/b/x/y/z buttons all being different shapes it was an ease to press when QTE events/button prompts popped up and I didn't have to pause and check what button was where. Swapping between 3 consoles meant the GC was so much easier.

      I emphatically disagree with you, and emphatically agree with the article. I don't like the symmetrical analogue stick design of the dualshock, all of Nintendo's hardware feels like cheap plastic (although I don't have any experience with the switch, so that may have changed). But the 360 controller really was the pinnacle of controller design IMHO. There's a reason it's more or less the default choice for playing on PC!

        It *was* the default choice. IMO both the PS4 and XB1 pads have improved on it.

      While the Gamecube had better grips and triggers, the C-Stick and Z-Button were woeful

    JTAG & RGH...errr i mean Halo 3.....

      Damn straight.

      Except for the Halo 3 part.

      Being able to play the games from a menu without the disc was so damn handy. I had tons of titles in their cases sitting on the shelf, and never had to change a disc, which back then, was fantastic.

    RIP Blades

    Dead Rising was the game for some time for me on xbox. Gears of War was a technical marvel at the time and the disappointment of the 'story' heavy sequel still burns, I only played the third game last year thanks to getting it free* and BC on xbone and enough time had passed I could laugh at that low rent sound a like version of Mad World kicking in, couldn't even spring for the actual song Microsoft? lol

    Blue Dragon I quickly lost interest in, Alan Wake was amazing and it not finding an audience hurts me. My copy of Tales of Vesperia is still sealed, now I'll just 'get around' to that on PC ;)

    I put quite a bit of time into Deadly Premonition, that game would end up being the reason I enjoyed having an import 360 the most due to how long it took for that game to eventually come out here.

    Also blades were the best!

      I didn't mind the Mad World cover personally.

      I think its more sombre tone suited the ruined beauty aesthetic they were going for. And it was feautured prominently in Donnie Darko, which was kind of a big deal at the time.

    After many years away from gaming, it was Halo 3 split screen on the ol' 360 that brought me back. I wish so much that split screen was still a thing. I wouldn't mind if the detail was reduced significantly. It was just such a cool option to have.

    I loved my Xbox 360. It honestly makes me sad and a little bit mad at MS for making the Xbone so unappealing.

    Greatest video game controller in history.....nah mate.

    The 360 really did have a great library. One of the best in fact. The console itself was great but not “magical” like a SNES or Dreamcast. I also rate the original Xbox’s library (JSRF, Panzer Dragon Orta etc).
    Yet I don’t have the desire to own an Xbox One... (due to the library).

    Came here for Lost Odyssey and was not disappointed. Great game.

    I think this article proves why no one remembers the 360 for its exclusives.

    Remember? I still play mine, I love playing Borderlands 2 with randoms from all of the world.

      I still play Halo and Halo2 splitscreen with the kids, and they also love Dance Central on the Kinect.

      Had an XBone, anded up taking it back, but loved my 360 and still play it.

      Bring back splitscreen and I might rethink it :)

    Those rare games were so close to being amazing. I'm not ashamed to say how much time I spent in Viva Pinata as a grown man. But the tiny garden sizes kind of kept the games from being as engrossing and long lasting as city builders like Skyline. They just... tried too hard for that children's demographic. Such a damn waste. Shame with Perfect Dark and Kameo. Both games had a lot of good ideas but just didn't hit the mark. Kameo in particular really needed a better realised sequel with better art design. So many missed opportunities...

    The 360 gave me many amazing gaming years. So many great games on there. The forza games were my first and only love of racing games. A genre I woudl never look at before. Gears was a minblowing experience the first you played it. Fable 2... so many high hopes. Such a crushing letdown. Damn you Moleanux...

    I also spent an unhealthy amount of time playing DoA, Ninja Gaiden... many amazing 3rd party non-exclusive games like Mass effect 1+2... so many good memories.
    The days before wife and kids XD

    I didn’t own a 360 but this list feels really generic for the most part. Surely the 360 had better and more interesting games than these?

    BURNOUT. REVENGE. I have a 1S, and every so often play forza on it, but give me a HD remake of burnout revenge, or if you are going down that path, give us a HD burnout 3 as well! Or first, or hell, just burnout 3 remake...

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