10 essential backwards compatible Xbox 360 games
The Xbox 360 had some incredible games and, thanks to wonders of backwards compatibility, you can now play a lot of them on the Xbox One too.
However, sorting the incredible from the not-so-incredible in the current backwards compatibility list is difficult… which is why we’ve picked out 10 games (technically 12, but more on that later) we think are absolutely essential. You’re welcome.
Red Dead Redemption
Come on. We don’t have to tell you why this is good. And you know you want to play it again before the sequel next year…
If you are one of the few people who hasn’t played Red Dead Redemption yet, imagine Grand Theft Auto but set in the Wild West and starring outlaws and corrupt lawmen instead of gangsters. That description still doesn’t do justice to the sheer scope of RDR, though. Do yourself a favour and play it.
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Platformers are usually about cutesy characters running around, squishing baddies and collecting some form of currency (coins, rings, etc), rather than conspiracies and the philosophy of Nietzsche.
Beyond Good & Evil follows photojournalist Jade and her pig uncle (he is literally a pig) as they uncover a vast conspiracy on a distant mining planet through the medium of solving puzzles, doing karate and driving a hovercraft. It’s a bit like a grown up Mario 64, and every bit as brilliant as that sounds.
Unfortunately, almost nobody bothered with Beyond Good & Evil when it came out. Its reputation has grown a lot since then though, to the extent that Ubisoft are now working on a sequel.
Anyone who complains that games are too easy these days clearly hasn’t played Dark Souls.
This game is tougher than Conor McGregor eating a brutally well-done steak, throwing you into a world where literally anything can kill you in a couple of hits and giving you no clues where to go or what to do.
Instead, you wander around getting your behind kicked by a series of ridiculously tough enemies until the words You Died are burned into your retinas.
But then, slowly but surely, you get better. You kill a few enemies and, eventually, after like a million tries, kill a boss too. You feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Then you get killed again.
If getting murdered endlessly isn’t your thing, Fable II may be more up your alley. This hilarious RPG is much more light-hearted than Dark Souls but just as fun, with a huge world to explore and the freedom to make your character a paragon of virtue or the very embodiment of evil (complete with horns and stink lines).
Fable II is wonderfully easy to play too, with rewarding combat and a character upgrade system that doesn’t require a degree in Dungeons and Dragons studies to understand.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout 4 wasn’t everyone’s cup of radiation-coloured tea, with some criticising its lack of hardcore RPG elements.
If you’re one of them, you’ll be pleased to know that you can still play the hugely in-depth and (whisper it) slightly better New Vegas on the Xbox One.
Set in a post-apocalyptic Nevada, New Vegas tasks you with finding out who tried to kill you while taking part in a multi-faction war and blasting the living daylights out of radscorpions and Super Mutants.
Post-apocalyptic RPGs don’t get much better than this.
Like the Bourne movie that Matt Damon isn’t in, Reach is the black sheep of the Halo family mainly because it’s missing the series’ main star.
It’s a shame, because Reach has arguably the best campaign of the series. It follows a group of Spartans protecting the planet Reach from a Covenant attack, with thrilling, sad and touching consequences.
Gameplay-wise, it’s easily on par with the best games in the series too. If you haven’t played it yet, you’re missing out.
Left 4 Dead
The premise of Left 4 Dead is simple but effective: you’re a survivor in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, and you need to get somewhere that happens to be blocked off by a raging horde of brain eaters.
And that’s about it. But this is more than just a mindless zombie killing fest. The stages in Left 4 Dead are so well-designed that a simple ‘run here and shoot stuff along the way’ mission becomes a tense, epic struggle, while Horde mode is capable of creating the kind of tales you’ll talk about with your friends for years.
The Mass Effect Trilogy
With most games set in space, you’re either a) too busy shooting aliens to really care about the universe around you or b) confined to a couple of planets.
Mass Effect, by comparison, takes place in a universe with a history as rich as Star Wars and a story as compelling as anything Star Trek has offered over the years.
You also get the freedom to play the game as you see fit, with different decisions affecting the overall plot, with a healthy dollop of Gears of War style gunplay added for good measure.
Ever dreamed of busting out sick tricks on a skateboard without the risk of falling over and giving yourself an owie?
Skate 3’s got you covered. With its innovative analog stick control system, it’s the closest you’ll get to becoming a pro skateboarder without spending hours practising and breaking a few bones.
Alternatively, you can use Skate 3’s insane ragdoll physics to create your own episode of Jackass. Up to you.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The Stick of Truth is basically an interactive episode of South Park, with all the crude humour and satire you’d expect.
It’s also surprisingly deep, with a combat system that’s easy to learn but difficult to master and RPG-style equipment upgrades.
Think Final Fantasy but with farts instead of magic and you aren’t far off…
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