The 10 best Xbox 360 exclusive games

xbox-360-exclusives-header-nologo

November 22, 2015 marks Xbox 360’s tenth anniversary. In that time we’ve saved countless worlds from destruction, solved numerous mysteries and mashed RT to push many an alien through space station windows. And while most of these moments were platform agnostic, there were several experiences unique to the Xbox 360.

So today, in acknowledgment of those 10 mostly great years of gaming, we’re gonna list & rank the best Xbox 360 exclusives titles. Because we’re celebrating the 360 specifically, we’re focusing on games that either debuted or made their biggest impact on the Xbox 360. So while most multiplatform games (Metal Gear, Assassin’s Creed etc) and some Microsoft heavies like Halo and Fable will be absent from the list (since they were already big brands when their 360 counterparts arrived), we can still consider games that made a big difference for the platform.

Arrite – less yappin’ and more rankin’!

10 – LOST PLANET: EXTREME CONDITION (2007)

360_LP1

While the Lost Planet series itself may have cooled down (ohohoho), back in 2007 it was home to some of the craziest multiplayer matches around. There were only a handful of competent online console shooters at the time, and LP stood apart from even the likes of Gears and CoD2 thanks to its huge maps, bizarre weapons and (my favorite) grappling hooks that added verticality and unpredictability to what would otherwise be basic on-foot shooting.

level7-2wall

The result was a battlefield littered with transforming mech suits, disorienting explosions and people hook-shotting everywhere. There was so much going on in any one moment that it was easy to get… ugh, lost… in all the commotion. There were also a lot of fun Japan-style animation exploits that could give savvy players an upper hand.

And we haven’t even mentioned the single player stuff! Arcade-style shooting with towering bug bosses and tons of rideable robot suits? I can barely imagine a better tech showcase!

360_LP2

The sheer sensory overload screamed “next-gen” and helped justify many an Xbox 360 purchase. While it did come to PC shortly after – and to PS3 over a year later – it was an important showcase for the Xbox 360’s online infrastructure and hell, HD gaming in general. Between the huge bosses and swarming Akrid enemies, it really felt like something not possible on prior hardware. – Brett

 

9 – Dance Central (2010)

360_DC1

In a perfect world, Dance Central would still be the preeminent dance-based franchise. It had the superior presentation, song list and gameplay to put it head and shoulders above the likes of Dance Evolution and Let’s Dance With Mel B. While it remains the all-time greatest Kinect game and the series has had enough staying power to earn a Xbox One entry, one of the sadder stories of the Xbox 360 is that Just Dance emerged as the biggest dancing series this decade.

Dance Central’s three annual releases were the hands-down (and hands-in-the-air-like-you-just-don’t-care) best reasons to own a Kinect. They looked cool, were great dancing teachers, and did a damn good job of getting gamers off the couch and busting a move. There were plenty of innovative Kinect games that couldn’t nail the controls, and good Kinect games that were a bit by the books, but Dance Central boogied right on the line of mixing good fun and great new ideas. – Dave

 

8 – Viva Piñata (2006)

360_VP1

For fans of GoldenEye and Banjo-Kazooie, Rare’s output on the 360 seems like a dark era where the UK devs became stewards of underwhelming launch titles and ill-fated Kinect games. What most forget is that Rare made Microsoft’s equivalent of Pokemon… even if kids didn’t flock to Horstachio the way they did Pikachu. Viva Pinata was the best all-ages game the 360 ever saw, though Rare still found space for its cheeky sense of humor.

Building your garden and raising a gaggle of wittily named creatures was a huge blast, bringing you back over and over to check on your Badgesicles and Fudgehogs. Getting your pinatas to mate via the romance dance has the saucy fun of sneaking something dirty past the ESRB, as does bashing your pinatas to feast on their insides. As the game goes on, you get more and more attached to your growing collection of paper mache beasts to the point where you’ll discover that VP’s dug its hooks in deeper than you ever could’ve imagined. Not enough people got caught up in Rare’s best game of the last decade, but those that did never forgot it. – Henry

Next up: Superhuman cops, murderous math and more!

20 thoughts on “The 10 best Xbox 360 exclusive games

  1. I still stand by my opinion that the first Mass Effect is a pretty mediocre game. The combat is positively ass, the quests stink, and it very much still is a broken mess. 2 is perfect, and 3 is a thing that happened, but 1 is meh at best. It’s also one of the several not-so-exclusives on the list, so blah. It’s squatting on Ace Combat 6’s spot is all I’m saying.

    1. In my opinion the original Mass Effect is the best of the three. All of your criticisms are valid but it’s the only one where I felt like I was actually part of the universe and nothing beats landing on a new planet in the Mako and simply looking up at what’s in the sky. When I go back and play through the trilogy on occasion it’s because I want to replay 1 and simply play the others because I’m already started.

      1. You weren’t lobbying for the one with the Razgriz and Puddle ‘O’ Mud were you? One of my favorite moments with you boys.

  2. I played a hell of a lot of Crackdown for a long time after it came out. I had such high hopes for that as a franchise, and here’s to the idea that Crackdown 3 could live up to my post-Crackdown 1 desires.

    I think my personal favourite on this list would have to be Mass Effect though. While I definitely got into Gears of War, being a big fan of Star Wars/ Trek made me predisposed to enjoying ME, and it was really the first RPG I dug my teeth into (despite playing stuff like KOTOR). It really felt like a “next gen” game back then. I’m glad I got in pretty close to the ground floor (I picked it up in early 2008) and was able to experience that whole trilogy as it unfolded. Hopefully Andromeda can bring me back to the awe I felt in those days (even though ME2 is still my favourite).

    1. Yeah I too played many hours of Crackdown. I think Crackdown 3 is gonna be amazing. With chaotic destruction, with that mighty cloud mmmmm, Red Faction would be jealous about! Shit, now that I think about it, I have Crackdown 2 still in shrinkwrap sonewheres.

  3. How did you miss BioShock and Shadow Complex? Either could replace dance central (haha), but I won’t lie, I own that as well. 😉

    1. We did have Shadow Complex in there, but felt both Crashers and Geometry Wars were ultimately bigger “deals.” That said, I really liked SC. Bioshock was also in the running but it debuted on PC simultaneously so that kinda brought it down.

  4. Nice list! I kinda forgot what was so good about the 360 since it’s been a looong time since I’ve booted mine up. I did enjoy most of what I played of Lost Odyssey, it would be a good number 11…or 15. I still remember it only due to how weird it is that a JRPG with a soundtrack by Nobuo Uematsu is a 360 exclusive.

  5. If we’re talking exclusives, it blows my mind how many Square Enix jrpg’s there were at the very beginning that were exclusive. (Okay… so like, three, but still!)

    None of them made any waves in the mass market, but Lost Odyssey is one of my favorite 360 games.

    There are also a weirdly large number of Cave shooters exclusive as well. But I can’t really argue for them in place of Geometry Wars especially – once again – in the eyes of the general consumer.

  6. You’re gonna laugh but Hexic HD should be on here. I still play it to this day and I’m pretty damn good. Love making black pearles or manipulating the board to get to that nerve racking ticking bomb! Since it came pre-installed on my Xbox 360 Pro’s HDD, hmm I guess you could call it the 360’s best F2P game.

    Oh OK list talk, I knew Mass Effect was gonna be on here (I swear to god it changed who I am today, an amazing series – killing off everyone in ME2; shudders), along with Gears (I picked up the system right before Gears came out as I was following its development for some time) but I never thought I’d be playing more Viva Pinata, now more than ever with Rare Replay on Xbox One. God that game is like chicken soup, always makes you happy and warms the soul. Yyyaaaaaaahhh!

  7. Yup, pretty much agree with all of this except the (series) on Gears. I love the first Gears, it has a “Saving Private Ryan” foot-soldier in a larger war feel that really works, Gears 2 got stupid as hell pretty much immediately and crescendoed with Marcus Fenix riding a Brumac (is that the right name for the giant tank-gun hairless gorilla?) cause I guess he’s the Master Chief now…? Yeah that blew. The first Gears literally sold me on the console and I regretted the second game the day I bought it and have never returned to the series.

    ME 1 is grand and maybe my favorite of the series. Yes to Geometry Wars, Castle Crashing and OHMYGODDAMNIT did I spend a few years of college earning a degree in smoking weed and playing FORZA. Rented the running around in the snow anime game and had a good time, never touched the multiplayer though. I really didn’t like Dead Rising, I’m in the Brett completion-ist camp. Viva P is magical.

  8. “And while the game did have its fair share of bugs” Goddamn tell me about it. I had so many random glitches during playing and ultimately never finished ME1 because of a game-breaking bug that overwrote my save and had me trapped in a lift (elevator for the Americans) forever!
    Gears definitely deserves the top spot though. It literally changed the landscape of 3rd person shooters, and was the first ‘meathead’ story about war I actually cared about. RIP resonator

  9. Lost Odyssey is the only game I think need a to be on this list. Easily one of my favorite games, and it had a lot to offer both in terms of combat and story. Seriously underrated.

  10. Halo Reach should have been on this list. The scale of the combat easily trumps Mass Effect and having a prequel story in game form was great. Also I didn’t like Dead Rising at all. Technical achievement aside, that game was a chore to play.

  11. I picked up my 360 to play gears and mass effect, and even when me 2 and 3 came to PS3, I stuck to my 360 for the series. Bioshock was also almost a system seller for me, but they announced it for PS3 before I had saved up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *