Tuesday, 19 November 2013
We are just days away from the launch of the Xbox One, so now seems as good a time as any to give you my top 25 games on the Xbox 360. So, in no particular order, here are my picks:
1. Splinter Cell Conviction
My favourite game for the 360 until its sequel came along. Conviction took the series in a different direction and made Sam Fisher a combination of Jack Bauer and Taken’s Bryan Mills. A great story, brilliantly directed and executed. Superb.
2. Splinter Cell Blacklist
Combining the best of Chaos Theory with the new style of Conviction couldn’t fail in my eyes. My favourite game on the console.
3. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter / Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
GRAW was the first game I bought for the Xbox 360 and blew me away. Despite screen tear and not being the smoothest framerate in the world, it still holds up today. The first game to really show what the console could do. I have included it sequel here as it came hot on the original’s heels and just refined the formula. Both great games.
4. Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Taking all the things I loved about Advanced Warfighter and Splinter Cell Conviction and combining them to create an exceptional stealth shooter that immediately became one of my favourite games.
5. Gears of War trilogy
The Xbox 360s powerhouse franchise that elevated the console to new heights. As manly a series as it gets. Oorah.
6. Mass Effect trilogy
Emotional, gripping and epic. Simply the greatest trilogy on the Xbox 360.
7. NHL 14
NHL 07 revolutionised the control scheme with the Skill Stick and we never looked back. Since then they’ve either made it super fun: 08; super difficult: 09 or just tinkered around with the formula a bit and slapped a full price tag on it: 10, 11 and 12. NHL 13 though blew me away and disappointed only in the continued use of a rubbish fighting system. Guess what they fixed in NHL 14.
8. NBA 2K11
I’ve always been an EA Sports guy, but I can’t deny this is probably the best sports game I’ve ever played. So good that I didn’t even bother to upgrade to 2K12 or 13. EA should take note on 2K’s commentary – it’s on another planet entirely. Amazing broadcast presentation. It’s like watching the real thing.
9. Battlefield 3
Next-gen arrived early with the Frostbite 2 engine. A visually stunning campaign, unbelievable sound effects and the very best multiplayer on the market.
10. Halo 4
Four games in and they can still surprise us with an emotional story, smooth as silk gameplay and the best graphics we’ve seen in the series so far.
11. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare / Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
I struggle to stifle a yawn these days whenever Call of Duty is mentioned, but these games were great fun in single player and social life destroying online.
12. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion / The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I still hold Oblivion up as the best game I’ve ever played and I feel guilty for not putting as much time and effort into Skyrim. I’ve included it here though because it’s still clearly a marvel. Lose yourself in these games.
13. Grand Theft Auto IV / Grand Theft Auto V
Counting these as two and you can bundle the DLC in with those as well. I might never finish them, but technically, graphically and in terms of story and gameplay, they’re amongst the greatest games ever made.
14. Assassin’s Creed
Most prefer the second instalment, but I still consider the first to be the best and it remains one of the best-looking games on the console.
15. Batman: Arkham Asylum
This game is so good that its sequel – in my eyes at least, just couldn’t live up to expectations. The first game to really make you feel like you’re Batman – and who doesn’t want that, seriously?
16. Mirror’s Edge
The combat is rubbish, but when this game lets you free on the rooftops, it’s tremendous.
17. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
A lovely game this. An XBLA game where you control two brothers – one with the left stick, the other with the right. Yes, that is every bit as awkward and confusing as it sounds, and even after a full game of platforming and solving puzzles, you still won’t master it. But it won’t matter. The presentation is beautiful and the story is as moving as it gets.
18. The Walking Dead
Slow and frustrating at times, this 5-part XBLA game will nevertheless keep you enthralled and ultimately, emotionally shattered.
19. Need for Speed: The Run
Say what you will about this game, I had a ball. And with the Frostbite Engine, it looks the business too.
20. F1 2010
Formula One finally nailed down. Amazing Codemasters weren’t put in charge of it sooner.
21. Child of Eden
A rhythm based shooter that works well with a controller, but is something else with Kinect. A wonderful experience.
This game has a good story and tremendous stealth gameplay, but the real winner here is the city of Dunwall, brilliantly realised giving the game a terrific atmosphere.
23. Sleeping Dogs
Grand Theft Auto might be upheld as the greatest games ever made, but I had far more fun in Sleeping Dogs than I’ve ever had in GTA.
From the moment your head bursts through the water at the opening, you know you’re in for a beautiful game. Truly one of the greatest first person shooters ever made, far deeper (no pun intended) than the genre is used to.
25. Bioshock Infinite
The ending might tie your head in knots, but this game is equally full of moments that will take your breath away. Massive production values, great gameplay and an all-round stunning experience.
Posted by JD at 03:03
Sunday, 17 November 2013
We’re less than a month away from the release of the Xbox One and a lot of people will be trading in their Xbox 360s, if only to make a little dent in the One’s price tag. Many though will be keeping the console because we all believe we will continue to play those old favourites. I still have my PS2 and Sega Megadrive, but to be honest, you never play on them as much as you think.
Having said that, there are a fair few reasons left to keep the 360.
There’s the Buried at Sea DLC for Bioshock Infinite, taking us back to Rapture – episode one - out now, giving the game a brilliant noir look and it is great to see Rapture before the fall.
The Walking Dead season 2 is on the way and I haven’t heard any mention of it coming to next-gen consoles.
And of course, for a good while yet, there will be a whole host of games releasing on old and new platforms. Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty Ghosts are already out and there will be current-gen versions of games like Watch Dogs, Destiny and Titanfall.
So even if you’re upgrading to Xbox One and wondering whether to flog the 360, or if you’re sticking with the 7th generation for a little while longer – there’s still life in the old dog yet.
Posted by JD at 02:45
Sunday, 10 November 2013
Whilst I am keeping my Xbox 360 when I get the Xbox One, I didn’t want to have two Kinect sensors sat under my TV and have to fanny about plugging the original in each time. With GAME offering me a poultry amount in trade-in value, I opted to sell it on ebay.
So now I don’t have the sensor nodding at me when I switch on the console, I got to wondering whether the purchase was worth it.
Sales figures-wise, Kinect has been a success and there have been some good games, but it would be blind optimism to state that it lived up to what we all hoped. I imagine, much like the Nintendo Wii, there are a hell of a lot of Kinects gathering dust out there.
Having said that, I used mine every day. Sure, I wasn’t jumping around in my front room on Kinect games all the time, but I did use the voice controls on the dashboard and on games like Mass Effect 3.
And the games I had for Kinect were good ones. The two Kinect Sports games were the crowning achievements of the peripheral and shouldn’t be missed; PowerUp Heroes turned out to be a surprisingly deep fighting experience and Child of Eden is up there with the best Xbox 360 games I’ve played.
The brilliance of Kinect lies not in the execution, but in the innovation and the attempt to push gaming forward. With Kinect 2.0 supplied with every Xbox One, developers will now be able to put more resources into utilising the technology, because they will know that players will have the peripheral.
For many who bought Kinect, they might say it was ultimately a waste of money. For me, it made for some good times with friends. And that’s money well spent.
Bring on Kinect 2.0.
Posted by JD at 05:01