Microsoft became a major player in the video game industry with the Xbox when it launched in 2001. Since then, they have continued to make plenty of games, sell consoles and secure a huge fan base. With the Xbox One coming, it’s good to take a look back at some of their best first-party published games throughout the Xbox 360′s life-cycle.
5: Kameo: Elements of Power
People who purchased the Xbox 360 at launch had the option to buy Kameo: Elements of Power. The game was developed by Rare who usually had a great track record with the games they developed. Kameo: Elements of Power was no exception. From the moment the game starts, players are treated to vibrant and absolutely beautiful environments. Players controlled Kameo as she was on a journey to rescue her family after they were imprisoned by a newly resurrected King Thorn. This was all because of her sister’s jealousy towards Kameo. Kameo had to retrieve the Elemental Warriors so she can could use their powers. She also had the ability to shape-shift in order to use new abilities. Kameo could ride around on her trusty horse as well. Kameo: Elements of Power had all of Rare’s typical charm. The music was excellent, the visuals were beautiful and the gameplay was innovative for 2005. Kameo may be a forgotten game, but her journey was an awesome one.
4: Lost Odyssey
When you think of Microsoft, the genre of games that you normally wouldn’t associate them with is the RPG. Microsoft doesn’t seem to have the same love for the genre like Sony and Nintendo has. That didn’t stop them from trying to attract a Japanese audience with Lost Odyssey. Lost Odyssey was the game that the Xbox 360 needed in terms of diversity. While Blue Dragon had just been released the year before, Microsoft continued to show their support for Japanese gamers. Lost Odyssey came on 4 discs making it the Xbox 360 game which shipped with the most discs. It was created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the man behind Final Fantasy. The game sported the same JRPG turn based combat that we all know and love as well as impressive visual effects. The game also required a lot of strategy when it came to making rings. Some enemies took more damage depending on the ring used against them. The main character named Kaim was very intriguing and the fact that he lived for 1000 years with no memory sparked interest in seeing his story play out. It’s a long game, but the fun factor is excellent. Lost Odyssey is a must play game.
3: Gears of War
Gears of War came out a year after the Xbox 360 was released. We had shooters on the console, but none of them were addicting. People played them on Xbox Live, but they weren’t as popular as they are today. At that point in time, a majority of Xbox 360 owners played Perfect Dark Zero as their shooter of choice, but we all needed something different. Gears of War was released and it was a breath of fresh air. Epic Games created one of the best shooters of this generation and it had a massive fan base until Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare took the world by storm. Up to this point, Microsoft’s popular shooter was Halo 2. Gears of War came out featuring an entirely different experience. Gears of War was a third-person shooter that required a lot of communication online. This was one of the few games that provided a more intense multiplayer experience than single player experience. With the variety of weapons and map layouts, multiplayer matches were intense and always fun. The Campaign also had a very memorable storyline with a surprising amount of emotion. Players were introduced to Marcus Phoenix and the rest was history. While the Gears of War franchise only had one unfortunate roadblock with Gears of War: Judgement, the original Gears of War created a special experience for gamers.
This is a game that most people bought just so they could have the Halo 3 beta. Even then, many people who bought the game didn’t really play it that much. That’s a shame because Crackdown is one heck of a game. Crackdown was created by Real Time Worlds as well as David Jones, the man behind the Grand Theft Auto series. In Crackdown, you play as an Agent deployed by The Agency to help the Peacekeepers as they take down the gangs that pollute the city with crime. The story is almost nonexistent. We learn about our targets through dossiers and we then proceed to eliminate them one by one. Along the way, there are supply points to capture, street races, time trails (running and car) and orbs to collect. In addition to all of this, your agent gets more proficient in agility, strength, driving, explosives and shooting as you execute these skills correctly. The game has a difficulty curve in the beginning, but as you become stronger, your agent becomes a total bad-ass. While the missions can be completed fairly quickly, Crackdown is fun because of the open world and because of the hilarious narrator. Playing Crackdown cooperatively and blowing crap up with a friend as well as causing mayhem is one the game’s biggest shining points. If you haven’t played Crackdown, you can get it free right now on Xbox Live!
1: Alan Wake
The gaming industry currently lacks a lot of great horror games. Alan Wake was the exception. This game is a masterpiece from start to finish. Alan Wake was developed by Remedy Entertainment, the people behind the first two Max Payne games. In Alan Wake, we play as writer Alan Wake who has had a case of writer’s block for the past few years. He goes on this trip with his wife who decides he should see a psychologist, but a fight breaks out and she’s eventually taken by something unknown. We then enter a journey full of darkness, terror and uncertainty. Alan embarks on a quest to find his wife and defeat deal with his problems, but whether that’s the force called the “Taken” or himself is the biggest mystery.
Remedy went all out into making Alan Wake as terrifying as possible. At times, the game felt like an open world game. That added to the suspense. There were plenty of times were a taken would walk past me and literally send shivers down my spine. Alan combats these creatures with the use of light sources such as lanterns and flashlights and flares. The game is very intense because your batteries could die out. Interwoven with the game are TVs that play the fictional show called Night Springs. Players could watch the episodes to gain context about the story. There were also chapters of Alan’s book to find. Alan Wake was a very atmospheric game and it proved that horror games don’t need to be extremely graphic to be terrifying. If there’s one game that Microsoft has published that NEEDS to be played, it’s Alan Wake. Remedy is a very talented group of people. They created an experience, that’s intense, terrifying, moving, action packed, funny and unforgettable. There are so many jaw dropping moments that describing them wouldn’t do the game justice. Go out and find this game. It’s a masterpiece.
So there you have it. This is my list of the Top 5 Disc Based games published by Microsoft on the Xbox 360. Tune in later this week as I give you my list of the worst 5 games published by Microsoft on the Xbox 360.