The other night I was wasting time at our local GameStop looking over what new PC and Playstation 3 titles recently hit the shelves and I began talking to the sales associate about the state of the current console wars. He asked me to name my top 10 currently released Xbox 360 titles and see how many of them are exclusive to Microsoft’s system and how they compared to last-gen gaming; the following list is a result of that conversation. Remember that there are many other high-quality games available to play on the Xbox 360 as of today but if someone came to me weeks before they left this earth, and asked for my top 10 Xbox 360 games to play - I would choose these. After each title is a brief excerpt from our official review as well as the final score we gave the game back when it was originally released. Although some of the games I chose are sequels, it doesn't mean the original is not worth playing (or vice versa), I just liked one a bit more than the other; if one of the series is on the list, both are worth playing.
10. Halo 3 – 9.2: Bungie has spent three years and countless loads of money making Halo 3 and fortunately for them (and publisher Microsoft) it has paid off. Having more preorders than Halo 2 was something few people in the industry thought could ever be done but it has been, by this epic game for the Xbox 360. Every aspect of this game feels perfect and other than some tiny complaints, the game is just that, perfect. This review could have taken up another five pages but a point needs to be made, that point is this game needs to be purchased, like now. The single-player campaign is long enough and the storyline is exactly what it needs to be, featuring one of the best series endings ever written. Throw in online multiplayer, online co-op, the level editor, the video features, and all the other stuff packed onto the disc and Halo 3 is worth every penny of the sixty dollar price tag
9. Fable 2 – 9.5: Players should expect a very rousing time through their questing in Fable 2. It’s a much more satisfying experience than Fable 1 and has a little of everything for all types of gamers. If you’re into mini-games and buying every item in the game, Fable 2 has that for you through jobs, pub games and the ability to buy almost every house and store in the game. If you’re into quests and combat, Fable 2 employs some of the finest and freshest missions (main and side stories) I’ve played through in a long time. Fable 2 also introduces unique, original cooperative play, which will hold your attention until at least the end of the year. Regarding games released up until this point in 2008, it’s easy to label Fable 2 as the best title of the year for the Xbox 360 – no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
8. Batman: Arkham Asylum – 9.2: All in all, Batman: AA has the total package that every gamer wants in a big-budget, superhero - action/adventure title. Xbox 360 owners would be missing out if they decided to skip out on Batman: Arkham Asylum (in stores now). When the yearly awards start showing their faces on the internet, Batman: AA is a shoe-in for at least a couple Game of the Year nominations. It's with ease that we tell you Arkham Asylum is one of our favorite games of 2009, and will be tough to beat as the year progresses. So with all of those glowing positives said, gamers would be best-served to purchase the title to see what all the hype is about – they’ll soon be joining the fan club and eagerly awaiting the sequel to Rocksteady Studio’s wonderful incarnation of the Batman lore.
7. Dead Space - 9.3: The creature design is solid. Even if they are all really just blood-stained cousins, they each have unique attacks and quirks to watch for. Some of the more robust enemies even spew smaller creatures, which either scurry towards you or fire projectiles. The simple neon-blue line that pops up, by clicking the right-stick, to point you toward your current objective is a nice touch that keeps you from getting lost in the twisty corridors. Dead Space is essentially your opportunity to play through a sci-fi horror flick; which is just about every gamer’s fantasy. It is a near-perfect package for those looking for to get their survival horror fix.
6. Fallout 3 – 9.8: The presentation of the game, as a whole, is what really takes Fallout 3 and boosts it into a level high above most of the other games being released this year on the Xbox 360. The fact that, even after all the side-missions are completed, there is still some exclusive downloadable content (details unknown) coming at some point even excites us more. From the moment we booted up the title to the minute we started writing this review our life was engrossed by Fallout 3. Bethesda had us hooked and obsessed for the entirety of this gaming experience. We can only hope that the mass number of action titles coming out this Fall don’t allow this masterpiece to fall through the cracks. Fallout 3 is everything we could have ever imagined and there is no reason that if you own an Xbox 360 you should not be playing this game; go buy it.
5. Gears of War – 9.7: At the end of the day there are not many videogames that really reach that status of great or amazing. The term memorable comes to mind instantly when thinking about Gears of War. Epic and Microsoft have really done something awesome here and we, as gamers, should be grateful. This game is one of those unique titles that will stand the test of time and go down in history as the “system seller” of the Xbox 360 in the year 2006. There are a few things that I hope will be fixed the next time around such as the longevity of the game and some very small multiplayer weaknesses, but the good outweighs the bad so much I don’t even remember what I don’t like about the game. There is a very important reason gamers played Gears of War for so long it; it’s the best thing out there on our beloved white box, go buy it soldier.
4. Assassin’s Creed II – 9.4: Assassin’s Creed II is everything I wanted the first one to be, with one of the single best written stories of this generation. There are a few moments of frustration but for every one there is ten times the amount of memorable great moments. Each year I recommend a couple Xbox 360 games to my friends and family, Assassin’s Creed II will be one of those epic games that make the list. Only time will tell if Ubisoft will follow-up with an even better game the third time around. I need everyone to go out and purchase a copy of AC2 just to be sure; time for me to rewrite Italian history – a second play-through.
3. Bioshock – 9.2: This review could go on for pages but it really only needed to be five words long: go buy this game, now! The storyline, graphics, gameplay, audio; everything about this game is as perfect and next-generation as they get. This game could easily come out of no where to steal the trophy that is game-of-the-year for 2007; even with heavy hitter competition such as Halo 3, Mass Effect, and Call of Duty 4. Besides Condemned this is the only quality survival horror game out there on the Xbox 360 and there is no reason why you should not already own this game. I cannot say enough good about Bioshock so I will sum it all up in the same way I described the experience to my wife, “This is why I play video games”.
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – 9.7: There is no doubt in my mind that the guys over at Infiniti Ward have wanted to make this game for some time and it shows with the amount of detail and perfection put into the title. I have been looking forward to this game ever since the first information was announced and now that it is here the wait was worth every minute. I have never given a game a perfect 10 but anything can happen and the entire time I was playing COD4 I knew that time had come. There is no amount of hype that could get gamers ready for what Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare actually is, the perfect game. Everything about the game is not exactly perfect but overall it deserves the score below, a near-perfect 9.7.
1. Mass Effect 2 – 10.0: I will undoubtedly be going back to Mass Effect 2 at least one or two more times because I will get to experience something different than I did the first time. This game has me so excited for what the final game in the sci-fi trilogy will bring that I found myself dreaming about Reapers and Cerberus last night. PlanetXbox360.com has never given a perfect score, until now; Mass Effect 2 earned every bit of a perfect 10 and for the first time ever I don’t have to think twice about awarding a game such a score. There is no reason you should not pick up this game when it’s released tomorrow; Mass Effect 2 is the end-all of role-playing games, the best in its class – a perfect 10.