People love Xbox 360 even more now than when it came out more than a decade ago. It’s the system that made Microsoft seem like a big player in the console market next to Sony and Nintendo, thanks in part to its huge, genre-spanning library of games that people will remember for a long time.
In 2015, this list was put together by both current and former IGN editors. Ryan McCaffrey and Miranda Sanchez, two current hosts of IGN’s Xbox podcast, Podcast Unlocked, made the list. The committee looked at how long each game had been around, how innovative it was, and how much fun it was to play.
The Xbox 360 was home to some of the best shooters, RPGs, indies, platformers, and adventures of all time, as well as a lot of other great games. Before this, it was almost impossible to narrow down this list.
1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
In South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s role-playing game, Season 18 of the long-running TV show is all on its own. How does South Park: The Stick of Truth compare to other video games? It takes both inspiration from its creators’ favorite types of games, as well as pure joy in poking fun at all of them. The 12-14-hour game, which has a decidedly South Park bent, will make you laugh even more than you already are. By the end of the game, it’s clear that no South Park video game should ever be made without Stone and Parker’s heavy, direct involvement. Between TV, movies, theater, and now video games, is there a form of entertainment that people don’t like?
In the beginning, Fez looked like a simple game, but it had a powerful gameplay hook. It’s possible to rotate the world 90 degrees with each pull of the triggers. The world is in 3D, but it looks like 2D because it’s in front of us. It changes how you think about perspective by giving you a chance to see how the world has changed. How a space looks makes it easy to figure out where you can go and how you can get there, even if the space itself doesn’t make sense. Its love of video games, the beautiful soundtrack, funny inside jokes, and mysterious wonder are the claws that dig Fez’s hooks into the ground. Fez’s world is filled with mind-bending puzzles, crazy alien languages, and risk-free exploration.
Mojang’s PC game came out of nowhere and became a huge hit on the Xbox 360. It was limited in space and had a new developer in 4J Studios, which meant it wasn’t even the same game made by Mojang at all. Yet, Minecraft works on consoles because of those things, so it does. 4J has been very careful to make Minecraft on Xbox 360 unique content that console gamers can really relate to. 4J has been very careful to make Minecraft on Xbox 360 unique content that console gamers can really relate to. There aren’t any more mods, so character skins and free updates fill in the gaps left by them. Not in a “good enough” way either. Local co-ops allow you to be creative right away. You and your family can build your own world from scratch with harvested materials and collaborative teamwork. In Minecraft, the most important thing is that it works.
4. Gears of War 3
It’s hard enough to start a new game series that people like, but making one that is a big part of the whole console system is even more difficult. It takes a lot of things to go right: releasing at the right time in a system’s lifecycle, marketing it well, making characters that people will like, and – oh yeah, making a great game helps. Gears of War did the impossible. Gears of War 3 is the best game in the series so far. Epic story with real, heartfelt moments? Check. Huge fights and set-pieces? Yep. Played well with dedicated servers? Mmm-hmm. The best Horde mode in the world? Right on. The new Beast mode? Absolutely. Oh, and four-player campaign play, too. Outside of The Orange Box and Mass Effect, there are a lot of other games.
5. Forza Motorsport 4
This is a picture of a car. That’s what the game’s developer, Turn 10 Studios, shamelessly tried to make Forza Motorsport 4 look like. It is, in fact, what it is. Even though Gran Turismo looks great, the Xbox version is more playable and has a lot more useful features.
First, the cars: a few can be seen inside and out in Autovista mode, and the rest are fully modeled so that you can drive from the cockpit or the outside. And the cars themselves range from electric cars (like the Tesla Roadster) to cars that are famous in the movies (like the DeLorean DMC-12). When you’re not competing in races, there are things you can do and things you can get from people.
6. Rayman Legends
If you could turn emotions into physical things, Rayman Legends would be a can of happiness. Its imaginative level designs, which make you think about 2D spaces in a more serious way than ever before, work with new gameplay systems that make Rayman Origins even better than it already is. Plus, a lot of the great levels from Origins are in Legends. A co-op player can control Murfy, a second character, with a simple tap of a button. This makes precision platforming more difficult, because it requires more skill, timing, and precision than it did before.
7. Shadow Complex
The Metroid School of Design teaches ideas that many games have dropped in recent years, but Shadow Complex’s politically-driven thriller story makes the best use of them. Players can learn more about a shady organization’s true intentions by going back and using new skills to open up new areas. Twin-stick shooting and a wide range of player abilities make it a very exciting and fun game. Speed, platforming, and twitch reaction are all important to surviving small encounters or huge boss fights. When it comes to Metroid games, Shadow Complex is the closest thing we have to a traditional one. It also has a lot of unique style that it can call its own. This was a big game for Xbox Live Arcade at the time, and it’s still a must-have and memorable game for the Xbox 360.
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
A game called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now available on almost every platform under the sun, but its roots go back to the Xbox 360 era. People didn’t know how big the game would become when it came out in November 2011. A lot of Game of the Year awards went to Skyrim, which was directed by Todd Howard and won many of them. It was also praised for having an open-ended structure that let players explore a world full of monsters and magic. As for why Bethesda keeps putting Skyrim on more and more platforms, we can only blame ourselves.
9. Grand Theft Auto V
As of now, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V is still going strong. It sells millions of copies every few months, and it’s even coming to the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2022. Back in 2013, the game was released on the Xbox 360. The game’s story began then. GTA V is one of the best games ever made, and it’s also one of the most profitable. It’s a great example of both creative and technical skill. Grand Theft Auto V has stayed popular thanks to its wonderful open-world campaign, but it’s also thanks to Grand Theft Auto Online, a huge multiplayer game that is now its own game.
10. Halo 3
The multiplayer mode in Halo 3 is one of the best parts of the game, and many people still think it is the best one yet. This is one of the best games of 2007. The single-player campaign was also one of the best in the history of the game. As Master Chief, Cortana, and The Arbiter fought the Covenant across the galaxy, it was a very exciting story. In addition to this, the game also introduced the map- and mode-making toolset, Forge, which would go on to be a big part of the series’ history. It would be one of the last Halo games made by Bungie before it left the series and Microsoft’s 343 Industries took over. It’s the best way to play Halo 3 today is to get the Master Chief Collection, which is also part of Xbox Game Pass.