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.
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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. Here are the 25 best Xbox 360 games of all time.
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’ favourite 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. Because they’re so funny on TV, in movies and theatre, and now in video games, is there a medium of entertainment they aren’t funny in?
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. Many things are borrowed from, but Fez is still very different from other games on the Xbox 360.
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. When Minecraft doesn’t live like a half-baked imposter, it’s a big success. This is the real deal, and it keeps getting better and better for the Xbox 360. It’s getting more and more popular.
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 the Mass Effect Trilogy, Gears of War 3 is arguably the best Xbox 360 game package ever put together.
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 modelled 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). There are a lot of things to do outside of the races. There are challenges you can set for and get from other players, a wide range of multiplayer options, car customizations, and more. It is the best racing game for people who like to drive on the 360.
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. Batman: Arkham Asylum
It was a big moment for Batman games in 2009 when Batman: Arkham Asylum came out. Today, it’s known as one of the best comic book games of all time. As one of Rocksteady’s first games, the story of Arkham Asylum was written by Batman veteran Paul Din. Kevin Conry (Batman), Mark Hamill (Joker), and Arleen Sorkin (Arleen Sorkin) all starred in the game (Harley Quinn). The game’s combat was also one of the most talked about parts of it. Players were able to chain attacks together in a way that felt satisfying, rewarding, powerful, and fair. A lot of games have been made after this one. It’s called Batman Arkham Collection and it has all three of Rocksteady’s Batman games. You can play it on Xbox One and the PlayStation X.
There are many lists of the best video games ever made. BioShock is often on them. When Ken Levine made BioShock, he made it set in the underwater world of Rapture at a certain time. The story had a lot in common with Ayn Rand and George Orwell, but it also had a lot of interesting twists and a gripping story. It also made Big Daddies and Little Sisters. The game did a great job with its style and tone, which made it a truly unique experience. You can play the whole BioShock series if you buy BioShock: The Collection for Xbox One (playable on Series X).