Saturday, February 14, 2015

My 12 Best Xbox 360 Experiences

Hello loyal readers, it's been a while between reviews. Just a heads up on whats going to be happening. As I now have a Xbox One I will be transitioning from reviewing 360 titles to One titles. These will be more relevant to the gaming scene in 2015 as developers slowly fade out support for the older platforms. We will be remaining at the same link, so no need to visit a different directory.
Before we kick off some brand new reviews, I thought I'd share my top 12 games that I played on the Xbox 360. These aren't necessarily the 12 best games of the generation, but ones that had the biggest impact on myself as a gamer.

12. Your Shape Fitness Evolved

Your Shape Fitness Evolved is definitely a game not many gamers would own. This Kinect fitness title by Ubisoft was a god send for me however. I have had Kinect since it was launched and it was getting used for the occasional multiplayer Kinect Sports session. Not until I purchased this game did I have a true use for it. Exercising to me, sucks. Such a long time to see results and being naturally skinny I'm just not motivated enough to use it. Throw in achievement points and the ability to do it in my own home, had me committed. Instead of just going for the occasional run, I could focus on an area of the body and do a short workout designed for what I want. It was simple, easy and most of all, effective. To this day I still use the sequel to get a quick fitness fix in.

11. Fable II

The Fable series is probably the laughing stock among RPG crowds. But for someone like myself who doesn't have the focus to grind through a huge RPG, Fable is perfect for me. After loving the original Fable on the Xbox I made sure this was one of the first games I bought on the 360 when I got one. I wasn't left disappointed, instantly becoming addicted to the humour and fun combat that had myself hooked in the original. Not many games have me playing still after I finish the main story, but I spent additional time looking for collectibles. The fact I wanted to make sure I experienced everything Fable II had to offer is a compliment to Lionhead Studios.

10. DJ Hero

While the start of this generation was all about the huge craze surrounding Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I personally found my calling in the lesser known DJ Hero. Clicking buttons on the guitar was good fun to your favourite rock songs, but being an electronic fan I found myself loving the beats and more intense gameplay of DJ Hero. Fading, scratching and changing songs required rhythm and technique that only game from constant practice. The mashups created in the two DJ Hero games should be on an album of their own, because they were absolutely banging!

9. Forza Motorsport 4

Simulation racing games for me just aren't as fun as their arcade counterparts. I own many racing games, but a vast majority are arcade bar a few. Forza and F1 are the only franchises I own multiple copies of simulation racers. Forza Motorsport 4 for me was amazing. It made me want to play. The graphics were simply breath taking, the handling was superb and the mode was serious with a touch of fun from Top Gear thrown in for good measure. The developers always talked about their love for cars, and it has shone through in this title. Simply a masterpiece.

8. Halo Reach

Despite owning every single Halo game, I am not a big Halo fan. Instead of being in awe of the original I hated it for its simple, repetitive level design. Halo 3 for me was overhyped and better than people made it out to be. It wasn't until Halo Reach that I truly got engaged into a Halo storyline. The story of peril, where you knew it was a lost cause, was gripping and something completely different in gaming. We are expected to have a happy ending in so many games, it was refreshing to have a darker story in a genre where the good side always wins. While Halo 4 is my favourite title in the franchise due to it's more modern take on the FPS and a ripping multiplayer, its Reach that had the greatest impact on myself.

7. Saint's Row: The Third

Most games put out trailers to show you how beautiful the game is and how good the gameplay is. Saint's Row: The Third was revealed by an absolutely hilarious trailer accompanied by Kanye West's Power. The previous Saint's Row titles had received comparisons to GTA but Volition decided to kick those talks in the balls with this gutsy title. I have never been more excited to jump into a game just for the pure fun of it. I zoomed through the story and it wasn't a drag like most games become at some point. The action is non-stop crazy and it never gets old. Perfectly crafted games of this generation are all well and good, but nothing beats some extreme fun even if it is a little rough around the edges.

6. NBA 2K11

While the following NBA 2K titles have taken huge leaps to improve the series (2K15 on the Xbox One is just... wow), 2K11 was the first true shining light. This game was so good at the time that it actually made EA cancel one of its premier franchises and it hasn't even looked like recovering since. What better way to mark the golden era of NBA gaming than to include the greatness himself, Michael Jordan, on the cover. After years of playing NBA Live by EA almost exclusively, 2K swooped in and secured my lasting dedication to the franchise from the second I touched this game. I've bought the newest update every year since.

5. Forza Horizon

If the simulation racer king has been decided for a long time, the arcade picture has been less clear. With the Burnout franchise seemingly disappeared off the map, it looked like Need for Speed's revival (led by the Burnout developers) was gunning for the crown. Then bam, along came a side project led by a different develop company for Forza. Forza Horizon took the insanely good physics and graphics engine from Motorsport and created a fun playground to drift around in. Setting the whole game in a music/racing festival was a winning idea with pumping beats making the game just that much cooler. I find it hard to stick to arcade races long after the story is finished, but the fact I went through and won every single event the game had to offer speaks volume for how much fun this game is.

4. Red Dead Redemption

Just, wow. When I saw the trailer for this game I thought yeah it looked pretty, but how can the wild west be fun? Trust Rockstar to take the most obscure genre and make it into an enthralling game with one of the deepest stories I have ever encountered in gaming. There is a reason why they are the number 1 developer in gaming, this game has it all. A huge area to explore, breathtaking visuals and absolutely spot on gameplay to deliver the perfect western experience. This came so early in the life cycle of the Xbox 360 that it's graphics were next level long before anyone else was getting even close to reaching this level. If there isn't a single I will cry, because this game was one of my favourites of all time.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

When I purchased my Xbox 360 a few years into the console cycle I knew nothing of the Call of Duty series. I had never played it but all my friends talked about going and playing 'cod'. While people herald the first Modern Warfare as the better game, MW2 was my first COD experience. And my god I was hooked. As the original Xbox was never a console for online multiplayer I didn't purchase Xbox Live Gold. After the month trial I was that addicted to playing Call of Duty online I instantly purchased it. While the single player is short lived fun, its the true longevity of the online play that kept me coming back right up until Black Ops was released. While my participation in online waned after MW3 was released, I will always remember the impression the hundreds of hours spent in MW2 left on me. It really influenced what kind of games I'd look at playing.

2. Assassin's Creed II

When I purchased my Xbox 360 it was in a bundle that came with 5 games. These weren't bad titles either, Bioshock, Forza 3, Halo ODST to name a few. But I went out and purchased a couple of games I thought would be good based off watching reviews for a few weeks. I ended up deciding with GTA IV and Assassin's Creed II. Lets just say GTA IV didn't get a look in for well over a month as I made sure I got 1000 gamerscore with Ezio. This game was the epitome of fun. A huge world to explore, ways to explore never before possible in gaming and a super engaging story that kept me hooked for the entire time. Assassin's are such a cool genre for gaming and this has remained one of my all time favourite franchises, despite the games getting a bit stale and too busy in recent additions. I can't really say I own seven games of the same franchise for anything else, this is a real credit to Ubisoft for their premier title.

1. Grand Theft Auto V

Do I even have to explain this? There is a very good reason why GTA V absolutely creamed every entertainment release record in the history of mankind. This game is beyond crazy good. The trailer was so amazing yet delivered on absolutely everything it promised. The overly realistic physics which to me crippled GTA IV slightly were replaced with gaming friendly physics. The graphics are drop dead gorgeous and the amount of detail is unrivalled. The story is crazy, bold and a heap of fun! I found the gang wars of past sometimes tedious with boring missions but that doesn't hold true for GTA V. What's more is this game has been updated to modern standards with mission checkpoints, good shooting mechanics are just a couple to name. This is the game of all games that was made even better (amazingly) on the Xbox One. GTA VI has ridiculous expectations, I can't wait to see what they can do to somehow improve on this title!

So those were my experiences, comment below and let me know yours!