The Xbox One has been out now for over a month (in South Africa) and while it is great to finally have it on our shores, and while we are loving the new console, it’s important to remember just what came before it. Making the switch to the next generation is obviously great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it must be a rushed decision.
There are some fantastic games to play on the Xbox 360, and before you move away from your old console Dawid and I thought we would share our view on the top 30 games you should play before you upgrade. Keep in mind that games that are being ported to the Xbox One were not considered, because you won’t need your 360 to play them of course.
It’s the final edition of our Top 30 games to play on the Xbox 360 and we hope that you have found it interesting and helpful so far. Today we complete the list with another 10 games that are simply must plays. Let’s take a look at them.
I did mention at the very start that we aren’t including games that are being remade for the new gen consoles, so that of course cancels out Halo Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4, all of which were great. There is, however, no need to exclude Halo ODST, Halo Reach and Halo Wars. Halo ODST and Reach follow the same formula as the standard Halo games, but do not do so from the perspective of the Master Chief. Many consider them to be as good, if not better, than the main Halo games with some great campaigns and multiplayer. Halo Wars is often underrated, probably because a RTS game on console does not appeal, but those who have played it swear by it.
I’ll admit it, I took ages to play this game purely because me and creepy stuff just do not get on. I am very glad I persisted with it though because it is easily one of the finest experiences on the Xbox 360. An exclusive of the highest order, Alan Wake had us second guessing everything. There’s just nothing quite like a psychological thriller. The ending frustrated some, but many agree that it is one of the best.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The Witcher 2 was finally ported to console and exclusively on the Xbox 360 when it comes to consoles. It looks stunning and to this day it’s still hard to believe they got so much out of the console. The game is of legendary status without doubt and Geralt is an absolutely incredible character. The combat is a bit clunky but everything else in the game is near perfect and with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releasing next year you surely want to play this one first.
Assassin’s Creed Series
Many complained that the first Assassin’s Creed game was very repetitive and a little too basic. It’s hard to argue but it did have its merits in terms of the way you could explore the world, some of the combat and all the ideas behind the game. It did so well that the franchise has been booming ever since and was the direct result of all the games that followed. Assassin’s Creed 2 was probably the best of the lot, while many loved Brotherhood and Revelations. While Assassin’s Creed 3 is considered the worst of the lot, it’s still probably worth checking out for closure reasons.
Batman Arkham Series
Was the Batman Arkham series the best to come out of the previous generation? Many would say so and they’d have a good reason to, well maybe not in including Origins. Arkham Asylum reignited the superhero in gaming and brought one brilliant combat system, one that is now copied in other games. Arkham City extended upon it in a bigger world and made the combat even smoother. All the games gave us so much, like Riddler challenges, epic moments and of course the closest thing to actually being Batman. Rocksteady, we are forever grateful.
Mortal Kombat 9
Who would have thought that Mortal Kombat would make such a resounding Komeback after some really poor entries into the series. NetherRealm reworked the system, gave us a fresh approach to it, added more weight to things like the story and the kombat, threw in more kombos and made us feel like we kould finally love the series once more. It’s at the top of the fighters for the previous generation and if you want an idea of what Mortal Kombat X might offer you will want to give this one a try first.
It will be tough to track down each and every copy of Call of Duty (CoD) that appeared on the Xbox 360, but if there’s one series that left a mark on the last generation, and should be played, it’s this franchise. From World War 2 events in Normandy to Modern Warfare – each game brought along with it its own Hollywood-like experience that left all gamers on the edge of their seat. Include one of the best multiplayer components in the industry and you’ve got something you really should not miss out on.
First-Person Shooters have taken place all over the world and even in the future, past and various other settings, but up to this point it never took place under the sea or above the clouds. The story twists, art style and unique weapons and Plasmids made this a very special series to play. The team that worked on it might be something of the past, but we highly recommend you give this adventure a go, even if you’re not really into shooters. Would you kindly?
Bethesda really hit a home run with the Fallout series and continued to exceed expectations when it arrived to consoles. Although Brotherhood of Steel was the first Fallout game to reach consoles, it’s not considered canon (or good). Fallout 3 had a very creative and innovative take on first-person shooters, relying on skill and use of its V.A.T.S. limb targeting system rather than machine gunning your enemy. It’s also one of the best action games to integrate an RPG element. The ways in which you can sculpt your character really made it special and each experience a new one. Although buggy as all hell, the game looked stunning, contained the voices of Liam Neeson, Malcolm McDowell and Ron Pearlman, included choices that truly did impact the game and how people react to you and it kept you entertained for hours. Although it takes you 40 hours to complete, the main campaign doesn’t even cover 50% of the content that’s in it. This is one game that shouldn’t be missed.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
When an old classic returns and somehow tops the original outing it’s generally a very special moment in gaming. Deus Ex: Human Revolution did just that with Adam Jenson as their lead character. This first-person stealth adventure comes equipped with all the augmented gadgets this side of Inspector Gadget, as it’s not always a good idea to shoot your way out of trouble. It’s got some very tough boss fights, but if you can get through that you’re left with a gripping tale and soundtrack that will keep you hooked right up to the end credits.
Splinter Cell Series
The Splinter Cell series has been around for quite a while now and it was often wondered if the newer releases would ever match the games like Pandora’s Tomorrow and Chaos Theory. Double Agent didn’t quite meet those expectations but Conviction and Blacklist most certainly did. Conviction moved away from ‘pure’ stealth and had a bigger focus on the action. It introduced a whole new presentation method and was just plain awesome. Blacklist restored the stealth feeling of previous games but made a way for those who preferred the all out action approach to enjoy it too. It is easily the most balanced Splinter Cell game there is, and despite a change in voice actor still provided one hell of an experience.
Shadow Complex is personally one of the best games I have ever played on any console, ever. It’s a 2.5d action platformer filled with intrigue, a great story and some really cool weapons and upgradeables. The deal is sealed when you get to partake in some epic boss battles and memorable moments. It’s one polished product from the guys from Epic and if you have been put off it for any reason whatsoever, do us a favour and get to it.
Mass Effect Series
The Mass Effect series needs little explanation really. It was originally an Xbox Exclusive actually and made its name on the Xbox 360. The sci-fi space epic that brings the universe to life in more ways than you can imagine was a benchmark in the previous generation. The 3rd game had a contraversial ending but little complaint can be made about the series in general. Amazing moments, epic characters and one unbelievable story in a vast world makes this trilogy a must have for any gamer.
Gears of War Series
When it comes down to it, Gears of War is probably the most renowned Xbox exclusive, on par with Halo. Your first outing with Marcus, Cole and Dom, and then later with Baird and Carmine of course, cannot be forgotten. It revolutionised the cover based shooting mechanics and inspired a generation of gaming that came after it. The story wasn’t always the focal point but it was passable. The action and gunplay was on another level completely and your life is not complete until you play Gears 1-3, and that’s before we even mention the multiplayer. You can be forgiven for skipping Judgement though.
Is there anything more beautiful than the art and level design of the Rayman games? Quite possibly not. Rayman Legends is out on the new gen consoles so just focussing on Origins it can only be said that it was one of the most brilliant games ever designed. It’s a 2D platformer which takes you to some pretty insane levels, has you chasing down a treasure chest and riding a mosquito. It’s just fantastic all round and you have to play it before you play Legends.
One of the most atmospheric games to release on the Xbox 360 is Playdead Studios platformer, Limbo. Yes, it is an indie game but the puzzle mechanics and simplicity of it all makes it one of the best games you’ll ever play. It is by no means long, but the depth of it will amaze you in ways you never expected. It gets the brain working like very few games can manage and it has a deep, impacting story to boot.
Colin McRae: Dirt
The very first game in the Dirt series ended up being the ONE TO OWN. The sequels lost the appeal of the hardcore racing enthusiast by including morons such as Dave Mirra screaming at you while racing, the original focused on rally and everything everyone loves around the tough-as-nails sport. It’s here that Codemasters showcased their brand-spanking new engine and it purred all the way to the finish line. There is simply no other rally game that has ever topped it.
2008 was a very special year for EA. Not only did they introduce us to Dead Space, but they released a cult classic – Mirror’s Edge. Gone are the realistic and dire-looking dark tones. It’s replaced with vibrant colours that has you leaping all over the place as Faith with nothing but her countering moves. Though you can shoot guns in the game, it’s a bigger accomplishment at not shooting one bullet. Still confused? It’s a first-person platformer. Wall Jumping and leaving from rooftop to rooftop is something Faith takes in her stride. You can buy this game for next to nothing… or wait for that remake that should show up at E3 next year.
Red Dead Redemption
This was not Rockstar’s first take on the West, but it’s definitely its best take on the genre. In fact, many gamers believe that this is better than any of their GTA games. You take the role of John Marston, a family man who’s about to own the West. Players adventured through the open wilderness that is the West via horseback. Tamed wild horses using a whip and tamed foes using his various firearms. It’s perhaps the finale in the game that will be etched into your mind for eternity. If this is not in your collection before jumping to the next generation you failed at gaming in the last generation.
Grand Theft Auto IV
GTA IV won’t go down as the best ever entry into the series, but it’s still a GTA game and though it might not have matched the heights of GTA V, you could not help but find Niko Bellic a likeable guy. As soon as this Russian arrives in the United States everything goes pear-shaped and he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. As with all GTA’s you’ll soon be visiting strip joints, watching comedy shows, getting drunk, surfing the internet, bowling and playing darts, shooting anything that moves and just everything that’s socially wrong in this popular open-world franchise.
The first Fable game to release on the 360 was Fable 2, followed by Fable 3 and then a remake of Fable 1. There were also some spin-off Fable games which are probably not worth mentioning. Fable 2 was easily the best of the lot and brought so many new ideas to gaming. Buying houses, finishing epic quests, deciding on good or bad, sleeping with… er… multiple people, it had it all. You could even earn money while the game was off. All three games added plenty to the fantasy genre in an accessible RPG type game with some excellent humour and chickens to be kicked. A top experience.
Rockstar Table Tennis
Many know that there is a Table Tennis game on the 360, but not many know that it was developed by Rockstar (yes, the GTA guys) and even fewer know just how damn good it was. It was part of the local launch release titles and just about everyone that had it loved it. The table tennis was wonderfully authentic, it had great character and was just plain fun whether playing online or offline. If you didn’t ever play it, and you find a copy for dirt cheap, take a chance on it. You won’t be disappointed.
The world of Skyrim is vast cold land full of mystery, magic and fearsome dragons. Whether you are an Elder Scrolls veteran or a new recruit, the world of Tamriel is waiting for a hero to save, or conquer it. With many, many hours of gameplay it’s perhaps now a good time to invest in the collection, that includes previous entries into the series.
Far Cry series
It took quite some time for Far Cry to receive a sequel, but once that happened the First-Person adventure quickly moved to a third outing too. It’s unique in that you always end up being a survivor stuck on some deserted island or in the heat of the African bushveld. While Far Cry 2 had some hilarious Afrikaans quotes and a great take on the continent, Far Cry 3 was the one that cemented the status for the franchise. Vaas was an amazing villain and if you’ve never played it your really, really should. Far Cry 4 is yet to release, at the time of writing, but we expect it to be just as good.
A return to the world of Portal was always on the cards and meeting up with GLaDOS will remind you, without playing the game for one second, why you loved the original so much. The humour in Portal 2 will grab your attention from the very beginning, right through to the end, but it’s the Portal gun and co-op mode that will steal the show. Working out puzzles alongside a friend in co-op is an unequaled experience to this day.
Forza Motorsport 4
It was in this generation that Forza became the leading racing simulation title, and it was exclusive to Xbox 360 owners. Forza Motorsport 4 perfected everything the predecessors did by throwing a plethora of cars, tracks and modes at racing fanatics. You could upload your own designs, auction off your cars, use Kinect to steer without the use of a controller and, they got so big for their shoes, that the team at Top Gear was called in to seal the deal. If you’re a petrol head you need to own this.
Dead Space series
Action took over from the tense atmosphere in survival horrors in the last generation and today we have the abomination that is Resident Evil 6. Thankfully a shining light came from the publishers we’d least expect it from – EA. Dead Space made space exploration (or actually mining in this case) a very scary prospect. Shooting Necromorphs was always a tricky situation as head shots meant nothing. You’d have to shoot off their limbs to the incoming threat. It combined some IN YOUR FACE scares along with a physiological horror build up that spawned two more sequels. A lack of ammunition and awesome weapon upgrades made all encounters tense affairs and made the series a memorable one.
Project Gotham Racing 4
It’s another exclusive racing title on Xbox 360 from Bizarre Creations, the folks who brought us F1 ’97 way back on the PS1. What they brought with Project Gotham Racing was the spiritual successor to Metropolis Street Racer on the SEGA Dreamcast. It somehow mixed simulation and arcade to provide a very unique racing experience. It’s Project Gotham Racing 4 that got it all right whereby they included bikes too. If you’re not a simulation fan, but would like some fun, don’t overlook this. You’ll likely pick this up for next to nothing.
Shinji Mikami, who just recently released The Evil Within (and who’s the grand daddy of survival horror games) took a shot at an action game. It’s probably the most under-played game of the last generation, but if you’re a fan of frantic action you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that tops Vanquish. Based in the future your hero, Sam (named after the South African voice act0r in the game – Sam Gideon), is out to take on the enemy with the use of his Augmented Reaction Suit. You can literally run circles around your enemies by sliding on your knees and shoot them to smithereens while doing so, then follow that up with a slow-mo sequence to terminate the remaining threat. It’s as hardcore and badass as the last generation got.
Super Meat Boy
Indie games are stupid, right? Super Meat Boy would like to challenge that perspective. As the name suggests you’re a piece of meat that smears blood whenever you move. What’s more is that you have to make it from point A to B without being touched by the various death traps. One touch and you’re dead, but it’s an instant restart. When I say ‘instant’ I’m referring to milliseconds. In other words, you simply can not put your controller down. It’s platforming heaving and should only be attempted by those who require a challenge and likes some ‘fun’ in their games.
That’s it for our top 30 games. These are obviously not the only games to play on the console but they are the very best. Perhaps you disagree or think something else should be on instead? Let us know in the comments if you want to.
If you missed out on our Top 30 PS3 games to play before switching to PS4 you can see it here.