Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]
It’s getting to be that time of year again, the holidays are right around the corner and that means a lot of people are going to be getting game consoles. Currently it’s a great time to purchase a new console, they are cheap enough to own all of the current consoles out right now. Someone I know is actually new to the Xbox 360 and doesn’t know all of the quality titles that it has to offer, so I figured I’d come up with a list that would be a good reference for everyone. Keep in mind that these are strictly my opinion and you might not like these games as much as I did, but I believe them all to be worth owning an Xbox 360 for. This is a top ten list, so I will start at ten and work my way up. I will try to change my list up a bit, I realize the Xbox 360 is rumored to be the “first person shooter” console, but I can safely say it has a wide variety of game genres.
10.Dead Or Alive 4:
Dead Or Alive 4 was supposed to be a launch date release for the Xbox 360, but it ended up getting postponed slightly. It still managed to be released in time for the holiday season in 2005. Team Ninja is well known for their attention to detail and DOA4 is definitely some of their best work. The game features new characters, new modes and new challenges. There are twenty-two playable characters in and each one of them has a different and distinct story to be played through. There is also a deep online function with this game that is available through Xbox Live. Dead Or Alive 4 is one of the best fighters this generation and the game still holds up very well even by today’s lofty standards.
Lost Odyssey is one of the best JRPG’s on the market today, it was produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi who as many of you know created a little series called Final Fantasy. Lost Odyssey actually plays more like a traditional Final Fantasy game then the newer Final Fantasy games actually play. It’s purely turn based action. You can use the world map to move your party and later in the game you get to traverse the world in ships. From town to town you can stay at inns to regain HP, buy goods and save your current game. There are four different types of magic in the game, Black, White, Composite and Spirit. Each magic is used for a different purpose and all play an important role in the game. If you own an Xbox 360 and enjoyed the earlier Final Fantasy games and also enjoy traditional JRPG’s then Lost Odyssey is a must own game. Lost Odyssey is one of those games that people really want to see a sequel to.
8.Left 4 Dead:
Left 4 Dead is one of the most interesting titles on the market today, you could make a case for Left 4 Dead 2, but I actually prefer the original title. I’m not one of those people who gushes over Valve, I personally don’t see why there is so much love for things like Portal, Half Life or Counter Strike. Those games were never really my thing, so it kind of took me by surprise a few years ago when some friends suggested I pick up Left 4 Dead, it looked like a typical zombie game, but boy was I wrong. I will say that this isn’t really a great game if you don’t play over Xbox Live, the single player aspect of Left 4 Dead is definitely the weakest part. The real genius when it comes to Left 4 Dead is the 4 player co-op campaign as well as the Versus modes and survival modes. What makes Left 4 Dead different then other zombie games is that you actually get to play as zombies. Each online round in the Versus mode has to play as a human trying to make it into the various safe rooms, while other players play as the zombies trying to stop you, then it switches so you actually get to play as a zombie. There are different special zombie characters that you get to play as, my favorite is the Hunter, which jumps and leaps at the humans and then tears them to shreds while it pins them to the ground. You can’t really go wrong with either Left 4 Dead title and there is still a great following on Xbox Live for both games.
7.Splinter Cell Conviction:
I admit I was never really a fan of the Splinter Cell games in the past, I realize they had quite a following back in the day but I just never really got into them. When I saw Splinter Cell Conviction was going in a different direction I decided to give the game a try. I will say that Splinter Cell Conviction has some of the best voice acting in any game out right now, Michael Ironside does a fantastic job as Sam Fisher. The graphics are really what stuck out in my mind as far as Conviction goes, they are simply stunning. The new enemy A.I. is also something that I quickly noticed, the enemies aren’t mindless drones like in other stealth/action games, they are actually intelligent and you will have to use your head to get out of a lot of situations. There is a deep story to be had with some pretty complex and surprising plot elements as well. Like most games on the Xbox 360 Splinter Cell Conviction takes full advantage of Xbox Live and offers a variety of different online modes to choose from. It’s rumored that the next Splinter Cell game is already in development and I for one hope that it takes more after Conviction than previous titles.
While I enjoyed Mass Effect 2, I have to admit I like the first Mass Effect even more so. Mass Effect stands out in my mind as more of an actual RPG that focuses on story elements and gaining levels, where as Mass Effect 2 felt more like a third person shooter with some basic RPG elements thrown in. In Mass Effect you take control of Commander Shepard as he goes exploring the galaxy in his ship the Normandy. The characters as a whole are much more likable in the original Mass Effect and you actually have a chance to bond with them. In a title called Mass Effect it’s important to note that pretty much all of your decisions affect others as they come along. You have a morality meter much like in other Bioware titles, You either get Paragon points for taking a polite approach to people or you can receive Renegade points for being the bad cop as it were. The controls are sleek and easy to master, and unlike JRPG’s the combat in Mass Effect all takes place in real-time, which can take a while to get used to but once you have them mastered it’ll become second nature to you. Mass Effect is one of the cases where the original is better than the sequel and I suggest all Xbox 360 owners pick this title up if they have a chance to.
Although Fable 3 is the newest iteration in the Fable series, I’m going to focus on the more acclaimed Fable 2. Many people tend to harp on Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studio’s for not delivering on everything he hypes up, I guess a case could be made for that argument. I would hope people wouldn’t avoid the Fable series for that reason though, as Fable still delivers a satisfying RPG experience and has a lot to offer. To those familiar with the original Fable, the setting will seem somewhat similar and your still in Albion but it’s set five hundred years after the events of the first Fable. One of the things that sets Fable 2 apart from other RPG’s in the ability to get married, even same-sex marriages are permitted. You also get a A.I. controlled dog as a companion. This dog helps you in various ways, from helping in battles to finding treasure and other items. This game also features a choice for players morality as well. You can do good deeds and follow the moral side of things and when you reach a certain level of morality you receive a halo that is seen above your characters head, conversely if you’re an evil doer and go around tormenting townspeople and your wife then you’ll end up with devil horns on your head. It’s little touches like this that make Fable 2 a wonderful RPG and a must own if you’re an Xbox 360 owner.
Alan Wake is without a doubt one of my favorite new I.P’s this generation. Remedy Games really poured their heart and soul into this game and it shows. You play as Alan Wake who is a writer that is suffering from writers block, so he and his wife go on vacation to a sleepy little town. The events play out in episodic format, so each part of the game is like an episode of The Twilight Zone. In a day and age where companies pump out the M rated titles in order to shock people with gore and scare people with horrible monsters, Alan Wake manages to actually come across as scary, yet it doesn’t resort to unnecessary gore, blood or violence, and it does so with a T rating. The combat and dodge system are inventive and the story is one of the most interesting and complex in any game I’ve ever played. The voice acting is spot on and the little extras like the “Night Springs” television episodes that can be found throughout the game really help with the games eerie mode. I know the game released up against Red Dead Redemption which really stole a lot of thunder from Alan Wake, but it did go on to sell over a million copies which is impressive and it’s even more impressive when you take into consideration that the game is the second most pirated Xbox 360 game with almost two million forged copies. Alan Wake also was Time Magazines Game Of The Year, which is quite an honor. Hopefully Microsoft fulfills their deal they made with Remedy games, which was for three Alan Wake games exclusively for the Xbox platform.
3.Forza Motorsport 3:
Forza Motorsport 3 kind of took me by surprise, I was always a fan of games like Gran Turismo and Project Gotham Racing, but I really wanted a racing game that offered better physics and more realistic damage, but I also wanted a racing game that was easily accessible, then I bought Forza 3 and literally spent weeks on the game unlocking new cars, customizing cars, racing online and tweaking engines and other parts for my cars. The tracks are beautiful and the competition online is fierce. Forza Motorsport 3 is hands down the best racing sim and it offers the best customization of any racer on the market. You can design or buy different designs, everything from a Halo themed car to a Gears Of War themed car. The possibilities are truly endless, the team up with Top Gear is also a match made in heaven. I’m sure Forza Motorsport 4 will be just as epic and I already have my copy pre-ordered, but for the money, nothing is comparable to Forza 3. If you own an Xbox 360 then I suggest you make buy/playing this game a priority.
I was tempted to put Halo 3 here instead, but I think I enjoyed Halo Reach a bit more. It’s definitely the Halo game with the best graphics and fullest, richest color palate. The story is actually pretty good, even though most people familiar with the Halo lure knew what was going to happen by the end of the game. Four player co-op for the campaign topped off what was already a great game, the Firefight mode was also a nice touch. Halo games are always known for their die-hard fan-base and communities and this game is no exception. It was a bit weird not being Master Chief but I applaud Bungie and Microsoft for taking the series in a different direction, even if it was only for a single game. They recently announced a new title update and will be introducing the new Halo CE Anniversary maps which will no doubt bring in a plethora of new Halo players to an already stellar online community. Halo Reach has over a million people online daily, so there is always a game to be had. One of the things I always liked about the Halo series is the nontraditional game modes Halo usually offers, from Rocket Races, to Zombies to Rocket Hog Races, Halo Reach is jam packed with so much content you’ll find something to do for months to come. Halo Reach is a definite must own if your new to the Xbox 360.
1.Gears Of War 3:
The original Gears Of War was the reason I bought an Xbox 360, that was the first game that I saw that shouted next generation of gaming to me. Gears Of War 3 is slightly over a week old and I think it’s the definitive Xbox 360 title, it’s probably the best Xbox 360 title to date. What Epic Games was able to churn out of the Xbox 360 was nothing short of amazing, for a game that is heavily dependent on the online multiplayer aspects, Gears Of War 3 had an amazingly epic campaign, which for the first time had four person co-op which was the icing on the cake. Hoard Mode 2.0, Beast Mode and the new Team Death Match that is offered are all simply perfect. Gears Of War 3 has been showered with praise and deservedly so, it’s one of the best looking games of this generation and in an industry where companies like to short change it’s customers, Epic Games gives us the most content for the price. If you’re a campaign type of gamer, Gears 3 has you covered, if you are an online player Gears 3 definitely has you covered. So often now days we see games with pretty solid single player campaigns try to slap some online on their games in order to con people into getting the game, the Gears franchise has always had a stellar story and online multiplayer. Gears Of War 3 is the deepest Xbox 360 game in my opinion and it’s the first game any new Xbox 360 owner should buy, of course you might want to pick up Gears 1 and Gears 2 just so you can enjoy the full Gears Of War experience.
Well there you go, my top ten list of games new Xbox 360 owners should definitely buy/play through. I tried to list as many different genres as I could, I hope I also disproved the myth that the Xbox 360 is strictly for shooters. If you are new to the Xbox 360 then this is a solid list to start with, enjoy your gaming!
*Project Gotham Racing 4*