Illusive Man in ME2
Image by BioWare

Top 10 best Xbox 360 games, ranked

Xbox's finest hour.

The Xbox 360 marked Microsoft’s finest hour in the console arena, holding its own against the PlayStation 3 for most of its lifespan.

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The 360 owes its early and midlife success against the PS3 to a glorious video game library that kept it afloat until it died due to complications of a virus named Kinect, I believe. Let’s celebrate these golden days, shall we?

Spooky enemies in Fable 2
Screenshot by Destructoid

10. Fable 2

While it’s not as fabulous amazing as the original, I still like Fable 2 quite a bit. Sadly, its pivoting to wider gameplay areas didn’t actually bring improvements over the neat corridors of the first game, but one has to value a bold attempt. The combat is exciting, the gun is very fun, and adding a dog is, naturally, perfect.

It sadly suffers from the lack of a glorious villain like the original’s Jack Of Blades — and of a great conclusion, due to that — but it still provides a damn fun adventure that you won’t regret getting into.

Hurricane in the original Alan Wake
Image via Remedy Entertainment

9. Alan Wake

The masterful Alan Wake 2 came out so long after the predecessor that it’s completely ok for you to have forgotten that there was even a predecessor in the first place. There was, and even though it went through an extremely lengthy and troubled development cycle, it didn’t fail to impress.

Alan Wake‘s environmental effects were breathtaking, the original concept was neat, and even though it became a bit repetitive at times, it’s still the rare game that kept getting better until the end. If you’ve only played Alan Wake 2, which is totally ok because it’s a great stand-alone tale, I’d recommend you give Alan Wake’s remastered edition a go.

Image by Mistwalker

8. Lost Odyssey

Understandably, many felt the 7th generation of consoles suffers from a lack of Final Fantasy titles. That’s wrong, though. Final Fantasy XIII was far from what anyone wanted, but Lost Odyssey, a miracle of an Xbox 360 exclusive, of all things, unofficially more than filled that void.

Have you never played Lost Odyssey and happen to miss classic Final Fantasy in your life? Well, the good news is that it’s easy to acquire and that it hasn’t aged one day.

Image by Microsoft

7. Halo 4

Halo 4 isn’t the best Halo game. Hell, Halo 4 isn’t even the fourth-best Halo game — it’s the fifth. Its story is wacky even if you don’t read all the side novels that the game awkwardly — and secretly — requires you to read to understand it.

The new enemies aren’t as fun to deal with as the good ol’ Flood or the still-present Covenant. But even with all that, I nearly forgot to put it on this list, not because it’s a subpar game, but because it looks so much better than any other game of that generation that I thought it was an Xbox One title. It looked unbelievably good back when it came out, and, to be entirely honest, it was still very fun to play both online and offline, as it features some of the best missions in the entire series.

6. Dead Rising

The original Dead Rising remains the best zombie-killing theme park sandbox — with the twist that it isn’t a sandbox at all. Dead Rising is a regular game with its own awesome campaign and cast of characters, but it just gives players so many bonkers ways to interact with the zombies — and so many zombies — that it’s hard to remember what game we’re playing.

Dead Rising has “labor of love” written all over it and remains one of Capcom’s most underrated masterpieces.

Mass Effect 2 Cover
Image by BioWare

5. Mass Effect 2

While I maintain that Mass Effect has the best story, overall campaign, and shooting mechanics — unlimited bullets, anyone? I think Mass Effect 2 has the biggest heart — and the smallest amount of bugs.

I’m sorry for awakening these memories, but holy crap, did the original Mass Effect run like crap on the 360. And the huge loading screens masquerading as elevators? That all got fixed in the sequel, which also added one of the most memorable cast of characters in the history of gaming.

The cogs from the original GOW
Image by Microsoft

4. Gears Of War

Watching the first gameplay reveal for the original Gears Of War was one of the last, if not the last, times something felt “next-gen” to me. It just didn’t look like something a console — or even PC of the time — could handle.

The game itself didn’t disappoint either. Despite a very straightforward plot about very big men doing very big bad things to even bigger monsters, the gameplay just shines. GOW took all the right cues from games such as the underrated Killswitch and Resident Evil 4 and remains one of the most fun games involving guns — and certainly the most fun involving chainsaw guns — in history.

Warthog in Halo Reach
Image by Microsoft

3. Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach is the final Halo game by Bungie, and it’s a perfect showcase of the studio’s prowess. The series never failed to keep the series from going stagnant by adding ever-new and ever-fun new mechanics, and that’s on full display here with the armor abilities. The game naturally aces at both its campaign and its online modes. This is one of the best bang-for-your-buck games of all time.

Whether you prefer Reach over my very unpredictable pick for #1 on this list, it’s impossible to deny that Reach is by far the most dramatic out of the two and that you’ll have just as hard a time forgetting about the Noble team as you have forgetting that one friend from Xbox Live that never logged back on.

Red Dead Redemption port adds 60 FPS for PS5 John Marston
Image by Rockstar

2. Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption wasn’t even an Xbox 360 exclusive, but this is likely the best non-FPS game with guns in history, so it just needs to be here.

You enter the movie Western version of a GTA world, but there’s a catch. Much like in GTAIV, you now play as a character filled with depth and pathos, one whose story you’ll want to follow until the end. And what an ending it’ll be.

Master Chief in Halo 3
Image by Microsoft

1. Halo 3

Was there ever any doubt? Halo 3 looked at Halo CE’s superior campaign, Halo 2’s superior multiplayer, and then surpassed both with eas.

Though the competition is fierce, Halo 3 features the best campaign in the series, courtesy of many of the most memorable set pieces ever and a surprisingly tight and emotional plot. The online also shows, at least in my opinion, the series at its peak. All I want for the future of the series is simple: Halo 3: 2.


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Author
Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.