This article was originally published at Another-Castle.com
That aren’t Halo.
The Xbox 360 was released in the United States ten years ago today. While it didn\’t release in Australia until March, 2006, I thought Another Castle should mark the occasion anyway. The Xbox 360 had a lot of exclusive games early on but many including the Mass Effect series were ported to the PC and less often to the PlayStation 3. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of it’s release, I’ve chosen five great games that remain exclusive to the system. I’ve been very strict as even though I wanted to include Tales of Vesperia – I didn’t because it was released on the PlayStation 3 in Japan. I’ve also given myself the added challenge of not using any Halo games.
The one and only Xbox Live title on here. The cynic may say I chose this because I was reaching to find even five exclusive Xbox 360 games but there were more than a few titles I left off in favour of Shadow Complex. Most people are probably familiar with Chair Entertainment for the excellent Infinity Blade series on iOS. Shadow Complex is where the developer first became known to me with this excellent Metroidvania set in a fictional universe written by Orson Scott Card. This is one of the best games last generation and at the time of release, was along with Castle Crashers one of the many titles that sold the Xbox Live Arcade platform. It is no surprise that this is one of the first titles to be made backward compatible with the Xbox One.
EDIT: 6/12/15 – Less than two weeks after this is published and Shadow Complex is now multiplatform. If we were a bigger site, I’d swear Epic Games was trying to troll us. If you no longer count this then ilomilo while also available on Windows Phone, is a good replacement. As are many of the Xbox 360 titles in the Rare Replay collection. I suppose these don’t really count either though. What about Project Sylpheed?
The bundled access to the Halo 3 Beta played a big part in this games high profile launch but critics and gamers alike soon realised it could stand on its own merits. Released before Grand Theft Auto IV, Crackdown had none of the gritty realism of Rockstar’s series but all the fun. The city didn’t feel anywhere as organic as so many open-world cities today but it had a character of its own. The playground nature of open-world titles got a little lost in the last generation but Crackdown was one of the few titles that was fun for fun’s sake. I’m one of the many who are happy to see a new entry coming up on the Xbox One and I only hope the developers keep what made the original so memorable.
This is another game that disappointed many but I absolutely loved it. This was one of the earliest titles I played on the 360 and certainly one of the most memorable. I mentioned in a recent article that there are simply no other games quite like Fable and Fable II cemented this reputation. Much of what made the original enjoyable is expanded upon and improved and there is a lot more fun to be had with Albion\’s inhabitants. These once again, don\’t affect the narrative but they are fun in their own right. The visuals were also beautiful for the time and this was even so on the standard definition television I used. Fable II remains the high point of the series and is still well worth playing today.
I only recently got to this game after buying it off a fellow AC community member and I wasn’t disappointed. Lost Odyssey is what Final Fantasy XIII should have been. It retains many classic JRPG elements including random encounters and turn-based combat but refined with some appealing enhancements. The ring system for example, allows players to inflict additional damage with good timing. The story centering around immortals also adds variety to the combat as immortals resurrect after a number of turns during combat. As well as this, the ability to link immortal and mortal characters to learn their skills adds a nice element of customization. Grinding levels also won’t necessarily get you through with careful planning and preparation needed to overcome powerful enemies. The story itself may not be all that original but the presentation and excellent writing overcomes this. Lost Odyssey is arguably the best JRPG of last generation and is only available on 360.
Gears of War 2
Halo was the series that defined the original Xbox and despite its continued success on the 360, I feel Gears of War is the series that truly defined the system. The original Gears of War set a standard for the entire generation and many aspects of its design had far reaching influences on other games. The intuitive, if not original combat saw cover shooters become almost as numerous as first-person shooters. Also like Fable II, Gears of War 2 remains the strongest entry in the series though that isn’t to sell the other entries short. Gears of War 2‘s campaign was just incredibly well-paced, memorable and at times even emotional. The game also arrived right in the middle of the generation and had both the new and popular ‘Horde Mode’ and a series of DLC releases to extend it. This is another series that will be continuing on the Xbox One and I’m hoping Gears of War 4 can live up to the strong legacy built on the Xbox 360.