The XBOX 360 has long dominated this past generation of video game consoles in the eyes of many gamers. Today, May 21st, XBOX will reveal it's next gen console. Sony announced the PS4 a month ago. The Wii U has been out for months. It's time to start saying goodbye to a generation of consoles that lived much longer than most. I'm ready to move forward, personally. It's been eight years since the 360 was released, and in today's Lex List, I'm going to look at my Top 10 XBOX 360 Games. Now, these aren't necessarily XBOX 360 exclusive titles, just games I enjoyed playing on the system for whatever reason.
Anyone who says they truly know me knows that I'm a football guy. If I had to stop watching every other sport besides football, I'd have no problems with that in the least. No shocker then that I'm a stout Madden player and have been for as long as I can remember. Madden NFL 10 had the luck of following one of the worst iterations of the series in Madden NFL 09. Madden 10 slowed down gameplay, which was much appreciated compared to the 400% speed gameplay of Madden 09. This made all the difference, as throwing the ball didn't automatically result in an INT every time. But the thing I poured most of my time into was the revamped Franchise Mode. The user interface was brightened up and better organized, and EA added a weekly wrap-up show, showing scores and stats from the previous week. I spent so many hours playing this game that when I found out my save had been erased, I had to spend a whole day reflecting on life.
I like action games, but I also like to think outside the box a bit before I shoot someone down in the streets. I also like to wear classy suits while doing so. LA Noire allowed you to play detective in 1950's Lost Angeles, a time and setting filled with Hollywood scandal, fixed boxing matches, and of course, The Black Dahlia. Questioning suspects with life-like facial animations was refreshing and engaging. The settings and re-imagining of 50's LA were masterfully executed, and there was a ton of stuff to do, from side missions of helping with street crimes to finding vintage cars in hidden locations. LA Noire is an experience that should be had by everyone. Not a perfect game, but it invokes emotions that other games just can't bring out of you.
I explained my love for football and football video games above, so we can skip all that and get straight to the meat and potatoes of why Madden 12 may be my favorite Madden game of all time. I'm not a huge graphics whore, but man were these graphics sharp! Player models were actually given some heft and muscle whenever necessary, something that was a problem in the past. Franchise mode was beefed up by adding a 75-man pre-season roster, so you could actually give lower rated players a chance to make the regular season roster, based upon pre-season performance. This is another game I spent hundreds of hours playing. It has it's flaws, but the overall package is great.
Many consumers avoided Borderlands because of it's "cartoony graphics." What a mistake that was. Yes, the art style is different, but don't let that fool you. This is a brutal game filled with bright red blood splatter and physically deranged creatures. The character classes truly felt different and each one had it's perks and setbacks. I preferred the Hunter, who sent his hawk (pictured above) out to swoop down on enemies and claw their eyes out. This is the most fun I've had playing with others online, and although the end of the game was a tad disappointing, the fun had definitely makes up for that.
My love for the Fallout games is well know across the world. Okay, maybe it isn't, but I do love me some Fallout! New Vegas was the second entry on the 360 and boasted the bright lights and secluded deserts of a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. The personalities, mixed with the faction system, made for an interesting story with decisions that truly effected gameplay. The enemies in New Vegas were a notch harder than Fallout 3, and the game even included a Hardcore Mode where you had to keep yourself hydrated to stay alive. There's so much to do in this game that instead of telling you all about it, I recommend you go pick this up if you haven't done so already!
Oblivion is such a beautiful game. A very early release in the 360's life cycle, The Elder Scrolls IV is still impressive to this day. The game is HUGE, and every inch of it is beautiful. From the fields of grass to the ominous caves and tombs, it's something to marvel at. But it's not just the visuals that are expansive. There are hundreds and hundreds of quests to keep you busy and exploring new relationships. You can really shape the way you play. Maybe you're the sneaky type, hunched over in the shadows and ready to strike with a stealth attack that deals extra damage. Maybe you're a big Ogre, wielding a sledgehammer and adorned in heavy armor. You can also choose your dialogue, although it's not as advanced as our next game on the list...
Mass Effect is one of those games I hesitated to try out. It looked like Star Wars or something similar to that and, for the most part, I can't get into that stuff. So what made me eventually pick this title up? Dialogue. The fact that you could actually choose your dialogue... let's take that a step further: The fact that you had to choose a line a dialogue and STICK with that decision, affecting your personality, was mind blowing. It had been done many times before, but never quite the way Bioware executed it in Mass Effect. The dialogue and scenes were very engaging and the story supported it all. The action controls were stiff and weren't all too fun to play, but that improved down the line. Still, Mass Effect is a classic that should be in everyone's 360 library.
Mass Effect 3 marked the end to the Mass Effect Trilogy, and people were pissed. The ending of the game ruffled many feathers, but my feathers stayed cool. I didn't mind the ending. What it the greatest ending of all games, ever? No. But it was still not as bad as people swore it was, at least it wasn't to me. The game perfected the combat mechanics and instilled much of the same great dialogue the series became known for. So why isn't it number one? To me, it lacks a bit of soul. At this point Mass Effect was a huge franchise, and the game seemed like a Hollywood blockbuster. It was a great game, but there are two others better on my list...
Commander Shepard is brought back from the dead by a mysterious, deep-pocketed organization called Cerberus. Now, it's up to you to either obey Cerberus in their every command, or listen to those who tell you that Cerberus is bad company. Along the way, your physical features change depending on who's side you take. Mass Effect 2 introduced a ton of new ideas into the franchise and the game really felt like the next step up from the first. The duck-n-cover combat system was overhauled to be much more accessible. You could customize your armor to look like a straight forward soldier, or a 1980's South Beach Storm Trooper. You also had a large squad of characters to choose from, and your actions throughout the game decided whether they lived or died in the end. It's also a beautiful game, visually.
I was so skeptical of Fallout 3 when I first heard about it in Game Informer magazine. Where the hell were Fallout 1 & 2? Why does this VATS system seem like a cheeser's paradise? Why does everything look so drab? Well, if I had a time machine, I'd go back to that very moment and kick my own ass. Then I'd put a reserve down on the Fallout 3 Collector's Edition, something that has eluded me to this very day. I could go on for days and days about Fallout 3, but I'm trying to keep this short. When it comes down to it, Fallout is my preferred shooter, RPG, adventure, and story for a game all rolled into one. It is literally my favorite game of all time. I was late to the party because of the aforementioned skepticism, but when I finally got my copy used for only $5 less than a new copy (hey, it was buy 2, get one free!), I would never be the same again. If you haven't played this game, go pick up a copy now. And get the Game of the Year edition, because the DLC is all extraordinary as well. Because... in Vault 101: no one ever enters, and no one... ever leaves...