Today is the tenth anniversary of the Xbox! The original one, not the 360. That won’t be here for another four years. So here’s a list of my favorite Xbox games!
10. Ultimate Spider-Man
The web-slinger has never looked or played as good as he did in this game. The controls were spot on, the swinging mechanic was the easiest it had ever been and the appeal of swinging around a comic book style New York is infinite. Story mode may have been a little short but finding all the pickups and completing all the extra missions kept you busy.
9. Mortal Kombat: Deception
Out of all the Mortal Kombat games that were released during its resurgence in the first half of the 2000s, Deception was the best of them all and it played and looked wonderful on the Xbox. Konquest mode was at its best in this iteration with all of the hidden chests to find and the characters to fight. The narrative took front and center and dove deeper into the mythology of the series. Of course the fighting was the tightest it had ever been and was a high point of the multiple style system.
8. SoulCalibur II
Most people don’t associate SoulCalibur II with the Xbox because everyone wanted to play as Link in the Gamecube version. I however know that Spawn is a freakin’ badass and this game looks amazing in 720p. What’s more is the controls are tight and responsive with the Xbox S controller and in some cases are better than the PS2 and Gamecube. Load times are also greatly reduced. A lot of fun and often looked over in favor of the other versions, for me, this is the best version of this game.
7. Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath
I have never been a fan of the Oddworld series. I suppose its just one of those series I just don’t get. However, I really dug Stranger’s Wrath. Switching from first to third person was an essential part of the series and integrated so well. Also, the different ammo types were very creative and useful. Attempting to capture every enemy alive for more money was a good but fair challenge and it was very satisfying when I completed the game. I won’t give it away but it’s not the kind of ending you would expect from a game like this.
Many people were disappointed with Fable because it didn’t deliver on all of its promises. However, remove the expectations and what you’re left with is a extremely solid game whose lack of content gives the game more focus and approachability. Although not as strategic as in later titles, the swordplay and spell casting is simple and works well. A note: I would suggest picking up the greatest hits version, entitled The Lost Chapters. It contains new content that that equals a third more of the content already in the original game.
5. Indigo Prophecy
Such a strange game and for whatever reason, seems to only work well on the Xbox. This story about a man who commits a murder seemingly while being controlled by some other force permeates into something more and as the plot thickens, your actions dictate what will happen next. From the same studio that later created Heavy Rain, this game becomes addicting very quickly. I remember a night my friends and I rented it. Although I fell asleep around two in the morning, when I woke up a few hours later, there they were, almost done and frustrated they could complete this one section, probably due to sleep deprivation.
4. Burnout 3: Takedown
Remember when racing games were about fun and not about realistic precision? Luckily you should because Burnout 3 reminded people six years ago. Racing games had become almost all simulations and the arcade racer was put out to pasture but then Burnout 3 came and kicked them back onto the track and because of that, we now have games like Blur, Split-Second and the Dirt series. Those who like simulation racers still have Forza Motorsport to look forward to every other year and Gran Turismo every blue moon but the rest of us have Burnout 3 to thank for bring back good ol’ rubber burning fun back to the forefront and not having to go with Mario Kart.
3. Halo: Combat Evolved
The system seller. The reason you owned a Xbox. The mascot of the Xbox family. Master Chief’s inaugural outing was a sublime adventure that proved that first person shooters were the new dominant genre on the consoles. I didn’t even try the game when I got my Xbox. I never was into first person shooters. Finally, I rented it from Gamefly in 2004, before the second game came out. Then I got it. I understood. This wasn’t a realistic military shooter, this was a fun sci-fi adventure with solid controls and a health system that allowed you to still be a bad ass yet not be invincible. To this day, the first Halo is my favorite and every gamer should play this game, if they hadn’t already.
2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The platforming and combat was at its best in my opinion in the first game in the Sands trilogy. The graphics were beautiful and the animations were fluid, something that was lost in the later games. The story was well done and controls were extremely tight, especially for a 3D platformer. However, this game is more of a action adventure game than a platformer as the combat allowed you to fight numerous enemies at once. Also, Farah is a competent companion and she rarely feels like an annoying escort. Of course the rewind feature is one of the key features of the gameplay and it’s implemented so well. The Dagger of Time also allows for cool time based attacks. The HD collection may be the easiest way to get this game now but I would recommend the original Xbox version. The controls are best on the Xbox controller and the graphics look really good on the console.
The most well known game that no one played. Psychonauts does one thing better than any other game on this list: fun. This game is so much fun. Graphics are pretty good but nothing spectacular. Sound is great but nothing outstanding. Gameplay, however, is so much fun. The story follows Raz as he tries to become a Psychonaut in this camp for psychic children. While doing so, Raz comes across a plot that puts the campers in danger. The story and characters are so well written and although cartoon like in their behavior, they are so endearing and well crafted as personas, they’ll appeal to adults as well. Furthermore, not is all that appears in the story and the more serious themes in the game give depth and intrigue to the game as a whole. You’ll find out about these story elements as you travel into various characters’ mind and each level is a journey into these people and creature’s psyche. In one instance, you’ll be your party loving teacher’s mind; in another, you’ll be inside the brain of a tormented actress. And of course there’s the infamous Milk Man stage. You’ve got to love that. “I am the milk man. My milk is delicious.” If you haven’t played this game, then I just virtually slapped you in the face. SLAP! Now go and get this game now. Don’t use Gamefly, go and buy this game. NOW!
Now for a few honorable mentions:
– Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
– Panzer Dragoon Orta
– Halo 2
– Def Jam: Fight for NY
– Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30