Xbox 360, 8 years and going strong
When the Xbox 360 decided to come out in 2005 no one had an idea of how revolutionary this system was going to be. It had a fantastic library of games and a small community following from the original Xbox. What gamer's were not prepared for was the excellent ride they were going to experience for the following 8 years.
It is no secret that Xbox 360 has revolutionized the gaming space with Xbox live. I have been an Xbox Live gamer since day one. Now many can laugh at me for paying 60 bucks a year (In my case $40 since I always pick up my live subscription whenever there is a sales promotion) for something that has been free on other systems, but it sure as hell has been worth it. From all the friends I have made, to the countless hours of doing clan matches, I would not trade those memories for anything. Xbox 360 was first to bring achievements, have an extensive friends list, accessible matchmaking, cross game chat and relentless exclusive DLC. Fast Forward 8 years later and Xbox live has evolved keeping everything that I loved about the Xbox in the beginning but now offering the all in one package with over 50 apps a redesigned interface, intergration of kinect, motion controls, voice commands and smart glass. Now you can meet with your friends play a game, switch over watch a movie, chat with your friends while watching any sports event, Watch live events like the Spike Video Game Awards and vote online while interacting with the show.. The amount of possibilities are endless Xbox 360 has jumped leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in offering what was once impossible. While still giving gamers what they truly love, games.
Xbox 360 has been the home to some of the best games of this generation and arguable the best system for cooperative experiences. No other system can offer you some of the games I will mention below.
Halo - Building on the concepts that the original Halo brought to giving Master chief a long sleeping period. Xbox has been the home to one of the best shooters of this generation. Blending sci fi with the best modern shooters. The Halo franchise has been so big that Microsoft has giving us 4 titles in the last 8 years (Not including the remake or the RTS game). Master Chief and Cortana have taken us into a journey that only can be brought possible on the Xbox 360. The cooperative experience is unparalleled allowing 4 player coop. The online community is still larger then ever and amount of features that have been brought to Halo is unmatched with Bungie leaving the beloved franchise to 343. Halo is not just a video game any more. It is a movement.
Gears of War- is an outstanding technical achievement, but in addition to looking and sounding amazing, it's a seriously awesome action game. When gears first came out it showcased what the Xbox 360 can really do in terms of graphics. The campaign tells the story of a man named Marcus Fenix and his comrades who are part of the Delta Squad fighting there way through locust horde. If the campaign does not get a grip on you then the fantastic cooperative online should. The game is now reaching its fourth entry on the Xbox in its 8th year and has propelled the Xbox into the number one system for shooters fans.
Left For Dead- Set in the Zombie Apocalypse world. The concept of this game has been straight forward
four “survivors,” endless stream of zombies and a small variety of weapons allowing you to kill. Each Campaign requires you to survive and get to a rescue point. The enjoyment comes from playing with your friends and covering each other there is no way of knowing what kind of enemies lurk or how fast they can approach you. Sound the alarm and it would trigger waves of zombies. The game pushes the envelope on cooperative survival. Cementing even more that Xbox is truly the home for cooperative games.
Project Gotham Racing- Being one of the premiere releases of the next generation, the most obvious and notable features of PGR3 was the realistic handling. The game takes you to Tokyo, Las Vegas, New York, London, and Germany's Nurburgring. Each car handles in a unique fashion, as you would imagine, and yet, the game remains playable from start to finish. PGR proved that racing was going to be a staple in the Xbox 360 life span with online career mode and multi-player races. This game was one of the most immersive racers of its time.
Forza Motorsport - When Forza came into the scene racing games were starting veer into the realm of pimping the rides or more of an arcade racer. The developers of Forza, Turn 10 is clearly looking to appeal to racing fans from both schools of thought, offering players the opportunity to dumb things down and enjoy the on-track action with little cranial activity or to crank up the difficulty, work the figures and really immerse themselves in the world of the race driver. Forza thrives with the sheer amount of options and continues to show case that racing is still alive in this generation. Forza has been a long staple of the Xbox 360 with 4 solid racing titles. There is no wonder this have been the best racer of this generation.
Condemned Criminal Origins-What made this game one of the standout titles for Xbox 360 was the story line which was gripping with a strong horror vibe. At the time of launch, no game offered the type of atmosphere and melee combat for a first person shooter. The game was plain out fun. It takes a unique twist on FPS genre focusing primarily on combat by beating things with 2x4's you pull of wall, the game also offered guns but trust me you were more liable to beat on any enemy with a pipe than ever blast them away. The not only set the way for future FPS to emphasize on melee combat but is also had a sequel that never quite lived up to the original.
Fable- is an Action/RPG game. The game is set in a huge world of Albion. The entire experience ranges from taking the world of albion with your dog and now your horse. Creating a deep relationship with character and fried along your journey. You have melee weapons, guns, crossbow and magic ability. All of your abilities can be increased, this includes your characters skill, strength and his will. There are a number of magical spells that can be used in combat. What truly set this game apart is the deep story and leveling system. Depending on your actions in the game, your character will either become good/evil or pure/corrupt. The game has gone on to be one of the top RPG's in this generation.
Crackdown- At a time when sandbox games were at an all time high with games like GTA, Dead to Rights and Saints Row. Along came another excellent game crackdown, with its free roaming action cooperative experience. The Entire campaign has you go up against ruthless drug lords protecting an entire city from hectic street battles while still on the hunt for agility orbs giving your character the ability to become an enhance cop. The game plays out like an all out action comic book with a unique visual style, destructive weapons, super hero''s and insane but brutal villains. This title definitely provided an excellent way to kick back and blow some steam with friends. All while further enhancing reasons why Xbox 360 is the best place for cooperative experiences.
Splinter Cell Conviction- Sam Fischer was back with a vegence. This time with an overhauled game play style bring up to speed the stealth genre but also providing some of the best action experiences to date. The game uses the environments to set the way for the missions and changes the gameplay by providing immersive ways to interact and achieve the stealth abilities. In other words the world was your weapon. The gameplay was fast using the walls with objection projections to give you assignments. The gun play was at an all time high with the mark and execute system that has now become more standard in shooters. The game single player missions were fantastic. The cooperative experience both with its prequel campaign and multi-player gave you a reason to come back for more.
Alan Wake- Remedy set out to do what very few games can give you a truly great psychological thriller mixed in with an excellent action game. The game story is told through chapters of a book written by Alan Wake. As the game progresses it unfolds into the supernatural realm. The story is immersive with Alan wake being the narrator, The pacing is exactly what brings it into the horror elements along with action that feels similar but unique at the same time. The light/dark mechanics of this game give way to the larger thematic interests. Weapons range from a flashlight, pipes, handguns and automatic rifles. This game beautiful, eerie, exciting, engaging. Truly a standout title for any Xbox 360 owner.
Mass Effect 1- The start of the BEST story-driven trilogy in gaming history. It literally rivals Star Wars in terms of history and content. Bioware created an amazing well thought our and executed experience. The game has great voice acting, memorable characters, full of emotions. While still providing some of the most entertaining fights you'l experience. Mass Effect is just as much for RPG game as a 3rd person shooter game that fans will love, The creative and unique classes bring together an extremely fun combination of powers and gunfire. Enemies are challenging, The game gives you a story by giving you control of it and highlights the best of what RPG offers. Combined all elements and you get what unfolds into one of best trilogy of this generation. Mass Effect game has gone on to the ps3 in the eighth year of the Xbox existence but there is no denying this is and will always be an Xbox exclusive to many.
Lost Odyssey- The game was created to give the Xbox a name in the Japanese market and although the game did very well it never gain the traction of most JRPGS like Final Fantasy. The overall game was grand which expands into 4 disc with sidequests and an engaging story. Truly a game for turn based RPG lovers providing a deep strategy element that is not found in to many modern rpg's. You will visit different towns, mystical forest and dungeons. Use magic and level up your skills. Lost Odyssey is a very solid RPG offering to add to the steadily growing collection of them on the XBOX 360.
Xbox in its eight year has done what most felt would not happen. In a time when gamer's habit's have changed and with an ever growing amount of casual gamer's entering the gaming realm. Xbox 360 has managed to survive this long by innovating in its later years, reading the market very well, adapting to the ever growing social media changes, expand on the user interface experience and continue to provide a catalog of blockbuster experiences that can't be matched. We all know a new system is on the horizon but there is no denying this one of the best generations ever for gamer's. Being an Xbox gamer has truly been an unforgettable experience and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
Notable mentions- Blue Dragon, Saints Row, Perfect Dark Zero, Call of Duty 2, Metro 2033, Witcher 2, Banjo Tooie, Kameo Elements