Top 10 Xbox 360 Games [Best Recommendations]

As SEGA suddenly found themselves coming up short in the console race, the Microsoft Xbox took the scene by storm. It shortly overtook Nintendo’s Gamecube, and set its sights on Sony’s Playstation for the next generation. Launching in 2005, the Xbox 360 had a one year head start on both the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii. This maneuver allowed it to amass a 10 million units lead over the other two consoles. In retrospect, it was one of the most calculating power plays of console war history, and one that cemented Xbox for years to come.

However, despite its hardware head start, the most impressive feat throughout the console’s lifespan was its attach rate. The attach rate, of course, indicates how many games and accessories a console owner purchases for their system. This is no doubt in part due to its exciting library of games. Even now, much of the Xbox 360’s library is well regarded. Today, we’re going to look at the top 10 Xbox 360 games that helped make the system such a success.

10. Dead or Alive 4

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Team Ninja
  • Publisher: Tecmo
  • Release Date: Dec. 29th, 2005

Tomonobu Itagaki - the father of jiggle physics. His legendary fighting game series, Dead or Alive, has been much sought after by fans of fighting games and polygonal beauties alike. The previous release, Dead or Alive 3, was an exclusive to the original Xbox. The game saw a large boost in graphics fidelity due to the system’s raw computing power over the PS2 and Gamecube. This was an advantage the 4th entry also had, as the Xbox 360 was the only next-gen console on the market.

In Dead or Alive 4, the added depth to the environments made for more exciting combat. Thrashing your enemy far off the map to do battle in another stage was an element that only the new generation of consoles could provide. New characters, more amazing graphics, and the improvements of the 360’s Xbox Live ecosystem made for a great online fighter. While it was originally intended to be a launch title, it still made it in time for 2005, and was a powerful entry early into the 360’s lifecycle.


9. Crackdown (Riot Act)

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Real Time Worlds
  • Publisher: Microsoft Games Studio
  • Release Date: Feb. 20th, 2007

Crackdown got one of the best lead-ins you can have for a release. Microsoft ran a promotion so that every game disc held an access key to the multiplayer beta of Halo 3. While it was definitely effective in spurring sales, it also gave many a chance to realize that Crackdown was actually an exciting game in its own right. Set in the perilous crime-ridden Pacific City, Crackdown allows the player to become a super powered agent tasked with setting things right.

As an Agent for the mysterious Agency, you complete missions and tasks for the good of the city. As for combat, the game featured an impressive arsenal of heavy weapons to deal with enemies. In addition to vehicles, the player also wielded a number of superhuman abilities to traverse the open world map. Starting off as a relatively normal character and building up your Agent into the ultimate super soldier was a great experience.


8. Dead Rising

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: Aug. 8th, 2006

Zombies may have once been a new novelty, and the same was once true for the games featuring them. Capcom is no stranger to the undead monsters, with their acclaimed Resident Evil series having them as a staple. However, there’s just something about fighting zombies in a mall, a la Dawn of the Dead, that works so well. Dead Rising was the first time such a location was the centerpiece for a video game, and it worked marvelously.

Starring veteran freelance photographer Frank West, Dead Rising sets the players against hordes of the walking dead. Fighting zombies in a game is hardly anything new, but being able to use almost any item you come across in the mall as a weapon or equipable item was a revolutionary mechanic. Frank West could use golf clubs from the sporting goods store, knives from the kitchen, or cause all sorts of mayhem with a shopping cart. The zombie apocalypse had never before been such a good time.


7. Final Fantasy XI

  • System/Platform: PS2, PC, 360
  • Developer: Square
  • Publisher: Square
  • Release Date: April 18th, 2006

A year after the PS2’s first Final Fantasy adventure in Final Fantasy X, Square ventured into a new territory with their first MMORPG. Final Fantasy XI was a title that took the most memorable and stylistic aspects of the Final Fantasy universe and infused it with Western gaming traits. Rather than controlling the main character through an epic linear storyline, players from all over the world formed parties in an attempt to save the world of Vana’diel.

It was immensely popular on PS2 and PC, and in 2006 was brought to the newly released Xbox 360. At one point, the series had over 500,000 active players, all partaking in the same Final Fantasy quests. While it may have been absent of series heroes such as Cloud Strife, Squall Leonhart and Tidus, it proved making your own hero and forging a story yourself could thrive. It also provided lasting memories over Xbox Live as proof that MMORPGs could thrive outside of the PC. In case you're wondering, the service on consoles was only recently suspended in March of 2016, proving its staying power.


6. Fable II

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Lionhead Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Release Date: Oct. 21st, 2008

From the controversial visionary Peter Molyneux, the sequel to the original Xbox’s action RPG was a bold step forward. The creator had a penchant for getting everyone too hyped up over his releases and further feeding our imaginations. While the original Fable never quite measured up to his lofty goals, it was an incredibly fun game. Peter Molyneux once again promised the world, but he definitely delivered a product far closer than its predecessor.

Fable II thrusted players once again into the fantasy world of Albion. However, this time, it starred the descendant of the hero who saved the world 500 years prior. The world had changed much from the first Fable. Instead of medieval knights, it was a more modern Colonial type of setting. Basic guns were added along bows and melee weapons, as well as more magic abilities. Online co-op as well as marriage between two players were also added, making for some interesting changes to the usual dynamic. Fable II was definitely one of the more unique releases on the Xbox 360.


5. Forza Motorsport 2

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Turn 10 Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Release Date: May 29th, 2007

The Forza Motorsport series came out of nowhere and instantly took the lead in the simulation racing genre. As the first next-gen entry on the Xbox 360, FM2 was a massive improvement in every way. Sporting a roster of 349 vehicles and 47 tracks, it was a huge amount of content for fans with a dire need for speed. In addition to the races held between 8 players online, it also added a new economy system. Liveries allowed players to use robust, multi-layered shapes to customize their vehicles to their liking. This was an amazing addition that allowed players to earn large amounts of in-game currency selling their designs at auction. With all the new additions, Forza Motorsport 2 was one of the best racers of the generation, and a solid sequel on the Xbox 360.


4. Mass Effect

  • System/Platform: 360, PC, PS3
  • Developer: BioWare
  • Publisher: Microsoft Games Studio
  • Release Date: Nov. 20th, 2007

BioWare has made many memorable RPGs over their long history. They first wowed us with their space saga narrative in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and fans were dying to see them return to...well, space. Starring the decorated Commander Shepard, the player was tasked with uncovering the secret behind a cataclysm throughout the galaxy. Coming in contact with an ancient alien obelisk gave Shepard prophetic dreams. These dreams would warn Shepard about the return of a mysterious race of beings called the Reapers, who would destroy the galaxy as they’d done previously.

For the first time, BioWare created an RPG with mainly shooter mechanics to perfectly cater to the Xbox 360’s strong shooter fan base. Having a well written story, a number of explorable worlds, and numerous guns to use was a fantastic combination. As per BioWare, the game had multiple endings, and events turned out differently depending on your choices and alignment to Paragon (good) or Renegade (evil). It was a landmark release and a great first entry for the new franchise.


3. Gears of War 2

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Epic Games
  • Publisher: Microsoft Games Studio
  • Release Date: Nov. 7th, 2008

Gears of War revived the third person shooter genre, as well as popularized cover-based gameplay in modern shooters. Two years later, its sequel had gamers re-equipping their chainsaw Lancers for battle with the Locust horde once again. Unsurprisingly, the light mass bomb in the original game failed to do anything more than rile the Locust up for a massive retaliation. This time, entire cities were being sunken into the hollow core of the planet Sera. Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago are this time headed into enemy territory, as humanity makes a desperate final push into the Locust capital city deep underground.

Epic Games and Gears’ fragging father Cliff Bleszinski were no strangers to high octane first-person shooters with their work on the Unreal series. The exciting and tense 5v5 matches of the first game return with new modes, but the most memorable addition to the franchise would pit players against AI opponents. In the new Horde mode, five players would battle waves of enemies from the main story missions put into multiplayer arenas. A diversely nightmarish assortment of enemies awaited your fireteam as you used every tool at your disposal to survive the ramping difficulty of each wave. With a campaign that only got faster, a number of multiplayer additions and the amazingly addictive Horde mode, Gears of War 2 was one of the Xbox 360’s most memorable releases.


2. Halo 3

  • System/Platform: 360
  • Developer: Bungie
  • Publisher: Microsoft Games Studio
  • Release Date: Sept. 27th, 2007

It’s fair to say that the Xbox platform would not been what it is today without the Halo franchise. At the original Xbox’s launch, it was the game that introduced first-person shooters to gamers that had never touched a mouse and keyboard. Halo 3 marked Bungie’s last mainline entry for the series, as well as their first release for the newly launched Xbox 360. The war with the Covenant was changing, and players had to guide the Master Chief towards reclaiming Cortana from the clutches of the Flood Gravemind.

Halo 2 introduced multiplayer over Xbox Live for the first time, and Halo 3 built upon that. For the first time in the series, Halo 3 allowed for 4 player co-op, and not just splitscreen, but over Xbox Live. In the exciting final conclusion to Bungie’s trilogy, Halo 3 was a spectacular campaign mode, a full-featured, robust multiplayer shooter, and a magnificent game for the Xbox 360. Everything came together for the perfect ending to Bungie and the Master Chief, and it stands as one of the most impressive games on the platform.


1. Grand Theft Auto V

  • System/Platform: 360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC
  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Release Date: Sept. 17th, 2013

Grand Theft Auto has been a series that has reinvented itself at every opportunity, and always becomes more incredible for its effort. It consists of three main locations, Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas. GTA V takes place in the latter, a Los Angeles inspired area with multiple suburbs, deserts and forests to explore. At the tail end of the last console generation, Grand Theft Auto V was easily its high point.

Open world games are typically under some heavy constraints. The player can go anywhere and do anything, so the amount of interaction has to be high. The GTA series had always maintained a surplus of activities, and GTA V combined multiple aspects from previous releases in the largest map yet. As a crack team of retired thieves, you planned heists with your crew to score big paydays. Everything from hiring crew members, planning escape routes, and doing reconnaissance work for the jobs was left up to the player. Missions would have you flying in planes, driving exotic cars, and even exploring the depths of the ocean. It all looked spectacular on older hardware, an even more impressive fact when you explored San Andreas with 15 other players over Xbox Live. GTA V did absolutely everything, and more, making it easily the best game on the Xbox 360.


Final Thoughts

The Xbox 360 had an absolutely stunning assortment of games over its 8 year reign. Many games on this list had a sequel that added a lot to their series. Did we miss any that you felt were especially good? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear them!

Hercule SSJ

Writer

Author: Hercule SSJ

What happens when you give a Crunchyroll trial to a former Toonami kid who hasn't watched anime since Cowboy Bebop got dubbed? You get Hercule SSJ. Thanks to that, he's spent the last two years catching up on dozens of shows and manga he's neglected over the years. Has probably watched 60% of all harem ecchi in existence. Currently seeking series to fill the void left by Konosuba and One-Punch Man. Accepts NisiOisiN quotes as payment.

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