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)
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.
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!
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)
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)
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!