130 Xbox 360 games are due to receive backwards compatibility support on Xbox One when the feature launches in November. But are any of them actually worth playing? Here are 10 you simply shouldn’t miss!
In November, the library of available games to play on the Xbox One is going to leap massively as over 100 Xbox 360 games received backwards compatibility support. It’s a big deal. While these past generation titles will never match the visual fidelity of the very latest blockbusters on the Xbox One which have developed specifically to make use of the newer console's advanced technology, it’s gameplay that matters. There are plenty of truly amazing game experiences from the Xbox 360 era that any self-respecting gamer should definitely check out. Below are the top 10 games we want to be backwards compatible.
Update: Now that the official list of backwards compatible games has been released, we've discovered that some of our most wanted games, like Bioshock and Fallout 3, made the list while others like The Witcher 2 did not.
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Perhaps you already own these games and they are sitting in your pile of shame waiting for a chance to be dusted off. Or perhaps you’re just looking for a great game to pick up cheaply. Either way, here are 10 titles from the disclosed list of games that we think are must-plays:
Originally released in 2007, Irrational Games genre-bending masterpiece reinvented the first-person shooter (FPS) wheel and still holds up today as a masterclass in immersion. Transported into the underwater world of Rapture, an experimental dystopia left to evolve in its own unique direction following World War II, players found themselves simply a visitor in an often-indifferent ecosystem. Rich with detail, deep levelling and combat strategy, and blessed with a striking array of characters that will forever be etched into your memory, BioShock is essential gaming.
2. Dead Space
Despite being in business since 2001, it was the 2008 sci-fi horror Dead Space that put developer Visceral Games on the map. A measured, third-person shock fest, it found players roaming the dilapidated innards of a mining vessel lost at the fringes of the galaxy where a demonic, zombie-like presence has engulfed the crew. Visually spectacular, the tense, tight gameplay in such a well-realised future world submerged gamers in its bleak corridors, and the scares sent many running for the light switch. Excellent set-pieces, addictive levelling and memorable anti-gravity sections helped complete the developer’s spectacular vision.
3. Fallout 3
Few gamers will forget 2008 and their first moments leaving the vault in Fallout 3. Stepping into the wasteland for the first time was truly jaw-dropping. With near unlimited choice and so many nooks and crannies to explore, tens of hours were invested in meeting, killing and looting your way through the post-apocalyptic ruins of Washington D.C. As the story builds to its climax and your choices come home to roost, you’ll begin to realise how much this world has become real to you. That’s possibly the best accolade we can give this brilliant role-playing game (RPG), a must play from genre maestros Bethesda.
4. Alan Wake
Few first-party exclusives are as daring and remarkable as Alan Wake, Remedy’s 2010 cult favourite. The mind-melting story follows the titular “hero”, a writer whose grasp on reality is tested when it appears the pages from his latest horror title are coming true. With parallels to Twilight Zone, the ever eerie and often terrifying journey he undertakes – often armed with little more than flashlight – will never be forgotten. Immersive, imaginative, frequently thrilling and never derivative, both the game and its equally odd downloadable content (DLC) are triumphs.
4. The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings
Although it has been superseded recently by the equally grand The Witcher III, there are over 100 hours of RPG goodness to enjoy in indie studio CD Projekt RED’s first blockbuster sequel, released in 2011. The series, and this game in particular, stands out for its ruthlessly grey representation of morals in its medieval world, where there is no push towards right or wrong, and every decision you make is one for you and you alone to live with. Superbly detailed and stunningly deep, this is one of the biggest games to ever be released and great value for money.
6. Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway
Soon after the arrival of the Xbox 360, World War II was deemed too clichéd as a setting and the industry moved onto wastelands and zombies (and more often than not, both). This is a shame, as Gearbox Software’s Band of Brothers inspired 2008 tactical first-person shooter not only featured an endearing story driven by some great level design, but included a unique approach to FPS combat that pulled you down into the trenches. Here you expended equal amounts of effort positioning your squad and peering out over cover as you did pulling the trigger, and after the first few slow levels, the game really opened up into a fine exploration of war.
7. Mass Effect
Go back to where it all began in 2007 with this incredibly influential, genre-defining juggernaut. Mass Effect became the Star Wars of the Xbox 360 generation; a grand sci-fi opus that would send millions to another galaxy made so real you’d swear it must exist. Developer BioWare would continue the journey of Commander Shepard for two more games, but key decisions made in the original would carry on, deciding the fates of beloved characters, planets and ultimately life in the known universe. Such is the scope of Mass Effect, and so well-conceived its grand story, that the idea of player-driven narratives would become a major gameplay goal for thousands of developers following its release.
This truly bizarre action-fest from 2010 puts its high heels on the throat of good taste and lets its titular witch pull off some of the most over-the-top attacks ever conceived. A combo-driven button-basher, Bayonetta doesn’t just separate itself through galactic-sized battles. The engaging (if weird) story, imaginative level design and decidedly odd upgrade system kept you hooked way despite the wayward camera and occasionally misfiring controls. There's something in the challenge and zaniness of this game that you simply cannot forget, and Bayonetta will be remembered as one of gaming’s most unique heroes.
9. Trials Evolution
One of the first blockbuster downloadable indie games was Trials and its 2012 sequel, Trials Evolution. The concept sees you platforming through obstacle-laden tracks looking to get the best time possible. The thing is, you’re not running on a little plumber’s legs, but are instead straddling one of number of different motorbikes. The obstacles include huge jumps, logs, rooftops, loop-the-loops and more. The precision in the controls – where you must balance acceleration, braking and the rider’s weight, and then match the three to each obstacle – is what makes the gameplay so glorious. That and watching the ghost of a close friend beat you by a hundredth of second, demanding you take another turn.
10. I Am Alive
The epically drawn-out development cycle for I Am Alive saw it lose all its momentum ahead of its eventual release in 2012, so many missed this survival gem. Inspired by the likes of The Road and The Book of Eli, your simple goal of trying to survive its post-apocalyptic wasteland is one that captures a sense of true isolation like few other games have even managed. However, it then punctuates that loneliness with such brutal and abrupt violence as to leave you constantly on edge. It’s a game that will teach you something about desperation, and leave you clutching to your last bullet like a child might a piece of candy. Not of the weak of stomach.