Of the previous generation of game consoles, the Xbox earned the least of my attention. I'm not a fan of first-person shooters or of sports games, so its appeal was sorely limited. I enjoyed the few exclusives I tried, such as Shenmue 2 or Panzer Dragoon Orta, but in my book, two games generally do not warrant the purchase of an entire console.
It's been easy for me to exclude the Xbox's successor from my current entertainment setup, as my main criteria was that I would only purchase an Xbox 360 that came with a hard drive, and I would not spend over $300. But now, the current and limited availability of the discontinued 20 GB Xbox Premium 360 meets those minimums, which has me reassessing my purchasing decisions.
Considering that my library still has unopened or unfinished Wii and PS2 games, buying an Xbox 360 does not make a logistical sense, as it will not add hours to my day. But I'm becoming unable to deny that it has enough games to justify wishing my day had more hours — especially since many of them are RPGs, which we previously discussed the 360 is prime for. Here are the retail titles that I'd be first to try:
- Lost Odyssey — an RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy and with old-school gameplay mechanics.
- Blue Dragon — the last RPG to consume 80+ hours of my time was the eighth installment of Dragon Quest, a franchise I've supported for 20 years. Blue Dragon uses the same visual designer as Dragon Quest, and the same composer (Nobou Uematsu) as Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Sounds like a winning combo to me.
- Silent Hill 5 — another entry in a series I've always enjoyed letting me scare me crapless.
- BioShock — as noted earlier, I'm not a fan of FPS, but the environment and mechanics of this game sound intriguing.
- Fable II — I always wanted to play Peter Molyneux's first game in this series, but never got the chance.
- Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2 — the first DOAXBV was just silly, and the sequel sells for only $10.
Even more so than the above big-budget titles, the downloadable content for the Xbox 360 draws me in. My time is limited, and the short, fun games offered by the Xbox Live Arcade are reminiscent of a simpler time in gaming history.
- Bionic Commando Rearmed — I have fond memories of Capcom's NES original, and the Game Boy Color remake. As with Mega Man 9, I'm interested to see what they do when revisiting this classic.
- Lode Runner — I grew up playing the original on my Apple II, which was one of the first games I bought for the Virtual Console.
- Portal: Still Alive — I bought the "Still Alive" single and am eager to try the game to which it originally lent itself.
- Braid — both the ChatterBox and Major Nelson podcasts have spoken highly of this game, saying it's a puzzle in a platformer as much as Portal is a puzzler in a first-person shooter. As much as I enjoy classic games, I'm also all for new experiences, and Braid sounds like it could be one.
Other arcade-style games I'm eager to try include Crystal Quest, Tron, Discs of Tron, Jetpac Refuelled, Marble Blast Ultra, Space Giraffe, and Pac-Man Championship Edition.
I've done my part to convince myself to buy an Xbox 360; now it's your turn. What games best represent this generation of gaming and can't be found anywhere but on the 360?
I'm picking up an Xbox 360 finally. I'm not so sure that I'll be buying a ton of 59.99 games (we'll see), but I'm totally interested in the DLC (old and new titles).
The big problem I have is that I know few people with Xboxes, and I think the online play and the leaderboards etc really interest me.
note: From what I understand, Fable the original plays on the 360, and is also available for download for 15.00. (9.99 from the Best Buy bargain bin).
As of last Wednesday, all model Xbox 360s have seen price cuts (or upgrades). Compare the different models at Xbox.com.
You need exclusive reasons to buy an Xbox 360? You've come to the right place. :)
Earth Defense Force 2017 — It's a budget game (sells for under $20 everywhere these days), that's great mindless fun. The game starts you out fighting giant space ants with an unlimited ammo rocket launcher. That's the first level. It just goes up from there. Over 100 weapons and dozens of levels with multiple difficulty levels give it that RPG-leveling up gotta keep playing vibe.
Aside from the XBLA games that you mentioned, Geometry Wars 2 (fast-paced dual stick shmup with many different mods) and Castle Crashers (think the old TMNT or Simpsons arcade games but with fantastic Invader Zim-esque graphics and some simple RPG LV-Up elements) are both exceptional games, easily some of the best games I've played this year. Galaga Legions is another great classic game updated; it was done by the same team that made Pac-Man: Championship Edition.
If you don't have a PC capable of playing games (I know you tend to go the Apple route), then that opens up even more games that are essentially exclusive like Mass Effect (great sci-fi RPG by the same folks who made the Knights of the Old Republic games).
Want even more reasons? Microsoft is making their system open to indie game developers later this year to sell their games free of pesky licensing fees and the like. If you don't own a 360, you won't be able to play my fantastic (well, when I finish it) text-based RPG, Molly the Were-Zompire. :)
A few more reasons to get an Xbox 360.
Rez — The classic music-based shooter (think Panzer Dragoon) was remade as an XBLA game. High resolution graphics + Surround Sound + a mere $10 price tag.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night — The classic PS1 Action/RPG returns as a $10 XBLA game. Sure, it's available on the PS3 and PSP as well, but do you own either?
Ikaruga — Great shmup that was previously available on the Gamecube. The XBLA version has a few nice additions like higher resolution, online leaderboards, and achievements for a mere $10.
Metal Slug 3 — Best Metal Slug game. $10.
Puzzle Quest — Yeah, it's available on other systems, but only on the 360 or PS3 can you download the expansion pack which adds 4 new playable classes & a few extra quests. $10 for the main game, $7.50 for the expansion pack.
Civilization Revolution — It's available on the PS3 and the DS as well, but the 360 version obviously has drastically better graphics than the DS version and the PS3 is a bit buggy. Civ Revolution is a fantastic game — it's like the classic Civilization games except streamlined so that you can play a full game in under 4 hours as opposed to the 10+ hours that say, Civ 4 would take.
Rob, thanks for all the suggestions! This could've been its own blog post: "MORE Reasons to Buy an Xbox 360". :-)
Thanks for reminding me about Galaga Legions. I'd heard of it, but I think it got overlooked in my enthusiasm for Space Invaders Get Even.
And though my Mac is capable of playing Windows, I still prefer console games to video games. So you're right, it does make Mass Effect available — but I didn't like KOTOR, so I'm likely to pass on that one.
But your second post didn't quite fit the "exclusive reasons" theme you promised. I don't have Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for PS3 or PSP, but I do have the PSX original, and it plays fine on my PS2, as do Rez and Puzzle Quest. I can get Metal Slug 3 and six other games for $20 in the Wii anthology. And I'm not sure if I'd like Ikaruga, as I didn't like Radiant Silvergun on the Saturn. Go fig.
Yeah, my second post wasn't so much about the exclusives as it was about multiplatform games that are better IMO on the 360. Like with Ikaruga, I already owned the GameCube version, but I went ahead and sold it for the 360 XBLA version since I'd rather have the game directly on my system's hard drive than have to search for the game disk on the occasional instances I want to replay the game. Plus the couple improvements in the 360 version were nice and I even ended up making a little money since the GameCube game sold for more than the $10 XBLA price tag.
Are you into sandbox games? The 360 has some nice exclusives in that area. You have Dead Rising which is basically the original Dawn of the Dead movie in gaming form. There's also Crackdown which is like a less offensive GTA with a superhero as the main character. Okay, technically you're a biologically enhanced supercop but you might as well be a superhero since after you've leveled up your statistics a bit, you'll be throwing cars at criminals and jumping from skyscraper rooftops. Both games can be found for under $20 a piece these days which is also a plus.
To be honest though, I think the main incentive with owning a 360 for me isn't the exclusives (although some of the exclusives are fantastic). For me, the Xbox 360 is like the ultimate multiplatform machine. By owning a 360, I've essentially removed my desire to own a serious gaming PC (since most of the PC games I want end up coming on the 360) or a PS3 (likewise). The 360 even has a few good ports from the PSP like Gripshift & EXIT.
Sandbox games — you mean like Sandy Beach? :-) I'm not sure I have enough experience with the genre to say for certain. I heard that Dead Rising's text can't be read without an HDTV. If that's the case, I'd rather just wait for the Wii version.
Yeah, if you don't have a screen capable of high definition, the 360 is less appealing since you have games like Dead Rising that are optimized for high definition and can be hard to read on standard definition sets. I definitely noticed a huge increase in graphic quality when I switched from an SDTV to a 19" widescreen monitor (only $100 since it was a heavily discounted floor model on Black Friday) + the VGA cable.
On the other hand, I would say that for me at least, Xbox Live Arcade alone has made my 360 worthwhile. My 360 is basically an XBLA machine that as a nice bonus has the ability to play big budget retail games as well. :)