Console Challenge Day 18: Top 7 best Xbox games!

Xbox has been created by gamers for gamers.
-Don Mattrick

 

 

Happy Monday, NPCs! Welcome back to our 30-Day Console Challenge! Today ushers in a big name in gaming… and also Microsoft’s Xbox.

The Green Screen Mage is one of our very earliest members and a personal friend, former student, and expert debater of pretty much anything pop culture related. Well, I assume she doesn’t argue with just anyone but she and I have hashed it out over superheroes and video games for a lifetime… She’s one of the people that’s helped me see that I need to really be less mean but yeah she’ll still help out with an article like this, regardless! Friendship, eh?

It’s no coincidence that the Green Screen Mage flies those colors, as she is an adamant fan of the Xbox line of consoles. Let me come out and admit that TWRM hasn’t done a good job of representing the greenish part of the Big Three, Xbox’s games on this site, mostly because I haven’t done a good job of playing too many Xbox games, myself! Yet Xbox’s foothold in the current market is undeniable and they satisfy and cater to a group of gamers in their own way just as Sony and Nintendo do in theirs. Xbox was the biggest and latest to come to the hardware scene since Sega bowed out but they are apparently here to stay.

To extrapolate, I’ve enlisted Greenie the podcaster, the teacher, the pop culture scientist and special effects aficionado to give us her top 7 best Xbox games!

-The Well-Red Mage

 

 

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The O.G.

In 2001, Microsoft decided to try their hand at gaming consoles and the Xbox was born. With the introduction of Xbox Live and blockbuster titles, it has become one of the biggest console series in the world. While the Xbox One has launched into popularity, there are many who still hold nostalgia and love the original Xbox and its consoles.

Growing up on video games, I found that the original Xbox was the first console I was really comfortable playing by myself. While I had a blast playing with my family, who would spend hours playing on multiplayer games or running through co-op missions, I tended to be a little lacking in ‘skills’ to play games solo, AKA someone hogged the games and got more practice than me. The Xbox was my time to shine. From Halo to MechAssault to Knights of the Old Republic, I chewed through games. So, when our own Well-Red Mage asked me if I wanted to write about a console’s Top 7 Games, I had to pick this one.

I tried to stick with games that were mostly Xbox exclusive games and not on multiple consoles.

 

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#7. Jet Set Radio Future

This game continues to be one that I find myself going back to when I’m itching for a bright, pop-punk style game with an amazing (sometimes weird) soundtrack. The sequel to Jet Set Radio for the Dreamcast brings back the old cast of characters along with many other eccentric characters to choose from. If skating around Tokyo and spray painting to fight against the government that has outlawed freedom of expression doesn’t sound interesting to you, then maybe the racing, fight sequences, or just the puzzling moments of trying to figure out how to get to that one spray paint spot that just doesn’t look possible to reach will catch your interest. Hailed for its unique animation style, music, and gameplay, Jet Set Radio Future is easily one of the best Xbox games.

 

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#6. Forza Motorsport

I will be honest, car racing games were never my cup of tea, but I can’t ignore that Forza Motorsport is one of the best rated games for the Xbox. The game allowed for single player and multiplayer races with over 200 cars and multiple customizing options. The creators also developed technology that allowed for the game to learn from the players driving techniques and create an AI based on what it learned for you to race against. Forza Motorsport spawned a franchise currently composed of two series and eleven games.

 

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#5 – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

When Morrowind was released, large open world RPGs were not as common as they are today. The opportunity to forgo the main plot for side quests, spelunking, or just running around and killing things was so much fun! While Oblivion is my personal favorite of the series, I can’t deny how exciting this game was when it first came out. It had some issues with bugs, but it made up for it with its expansive world and options for players. This game truly made it’s mark on RPG history.

 

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#4. Ninja Gaiden/Ninja Gaiden Black

So, I mentioned my lack of ‘skills’ when it came to some games, well this was one of those. Bringing the classic NES title to the 3D world on the Xbox, Team Ninja created one of the best combat systems for almost any gamer. It allowed for many hack n’ slash style fights or the player to learn all sorts of combos, wall running, and Ninpo to help in battle. The level designs, puzzles, and the variety in combat options puts this game on most people’s lists of favorite Xbox games.

Perhaps next time I make an attempt at this game I’ll play Ninja Dog mode on Ninja Gaiden Black.

 

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#3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Finally! A good Star Wars game. Okay, so I didn’t play all the previous ones, but there were not many good ones until KOTOR came out. How could the first big Star Wars RPG not be on this list? Everyone dreamed of being a Jedi or using force powers when they were a kid, so finally getting to run around and do that in a world with fantastic characters and a crazy good story was all our little nerd dreams come true. And crazy good story is right. That twist?? COME ON!

 

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#2. Halo 2

The Halo series essentially put the Xbox on the map, so it is no shocker that these games grabbed space on this list. Halo 2 had fans waiting in line for hours to pick up this title. While some people (wrongfully) have issues with the main story mode, the multiplayer experience is a huge reason why Xbox Live and the Xbox 360 were so successful. Gathering with your friends and multiple Xboxes to play with 8-16 people or putting on a headset and playing with them online was one of the best experiences that the Xbox created.

This game was one that I would revisit multiple times over the years, so much so I can navigate most levels of the campaign in minutes. Multiplayer is easily one of the most popular parts of the Halo games, but the story mode was what I kept coming back for. Halo 2 expanded on the universe and allowed for a look into the Master Chief’s enemies in the form of the Arbiter. Playing as the enemy threw some players, but that was honestly my favorite part of the whole series.

 

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#1 – Halo: Combat Evolved

Many debate whether Halo or Halo 2 is the best Xbox game, and, while there are some strong arguments for Halo 2, it wouldn’t be here without its predecessor and Xbox might not be either. Halo essentially carried the system for the first couple of years. Everyone was getting absorbed in its co-op mode or setting up multiplayer LAN parties. Its combat system influenced many games to come and it showed others how to do a good console shooter, vehicle mechanics, and cooperative mode. Halo is easily one of the most influential games on the Xbox system and in gaming.

If I played Halo 2 a lot, it was nothing compared to how many hours I put into Halo: CE. Between running through co-op mode endlessly with my brother and battling friends on multiplayer mode, I couldn’t get enough of this game. It was one of the first times I really enjoyed an FPS game and one of the first times I really found myself getting good at gaming.

If that isn’t enough to convince you how great this game is, just listen to that soundtrack though!

 

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I understand 7 games is not enough to do an entire console justice and I am certain I missed some favorites, but this list represents some of the best of the system and best for certain genres. As much as I wanted to include MechAssault, Fable, and Star Wars Battlefront, I only had 7 slots.

… Okay, so I bullied the Well-Red Mage into letting me add a quick list of my all-time favorite Xbox games that I think should be on this list or that I definitely know don’t belong. So real fast!

 

Green Screen Mage’s Other Favorite Xbox Games

1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, 2. Brute Force, 3. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, 4. Mad Dash Racing, 5. Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey.

 

10 thoughts on “Console Challenge Day 18: Top 7 best Xbox games!

  1. Well here I thought KOTOR was only on PC! That’s the version we have, but I’m not even sure if it still works. I had no clue it was on the Xbox, but since I’ve been a PS girl most of my life, I hope I can be forgiven. I have an Xbox 360, which one of my coworkers just gave to me when he found out I was looking for one, so I’m always on the lookout for more games to put on my backlog for it. I honestly rather play KOTOR on a console rather than the PC, not that I have anything against the computer. I’m just much more used to console gaming 🙂

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  2. The Xbox was an interesting system. It was built off of midrange PC tech at the time. The CPU is based off of Intel. The GPU is based off of the GeForce III by nVidia. It was sold at a tremendous loss in the hopes that Microsoft would have a hit on its hands. Fortunately for them it was a big hit. At least in North America. The Xbox really took a lot of PC game trends, and put them in the console, a trend that all consoles began to follow. Online multiplayer. Expansion packs. One could argue that some publishers have gone about it unethically. But the point is it started on the original Xbox.

    Even many of the Xbox games, are ports of PC games. Not that this didn’t happen on the Gamecube or PlayStation 2, they did. But there are more of them on Xbox. The Xbox was also the first to charge additional money to play online, something many on PC were surprised by. The one time this was attempted on PC (Games For Windows Live) it was quickly rescinded as it was an abject failure. On Xbox though, Microsoft somehow managed to deliver a solid experience, with stable connection most of the time, and some nice community aspects. A trend they continued on subsequent Xbox consoles.

    The original Xbox games featured in the list, are some of the more memorable ones. But as I outlined above, two of them were PC games first, and foremost. And in some small way, the Xbox can even be considered a distant cousin to the Dreamcast, as Microsoft Windows CE was used as part of that console’s front end.

    Still, it’s a terrific list. While I never had one, friends, and relatives did. So I have plenty of fond memories playing Halo Deathmatch, Project Gotham Racing, Dead Or Alive 3, and even some of the mediocre stuff like Tao Feng. I really liked the Xbox a lot. It gave many people games you could only play otherwise on a mid tier desktop. Back then, building your own rig was less common, and Compaq’s consumer PC price war was only just beginning. So Microsoft really launched the machine at exactly the right time. They also really shattered expectations. Many people felt that they had no chance, since they were rarely known for their game publishing on PC, and were thought of more as an OS, and productivity software company by average people. Most people didn’t know or care about what DirectX, APIs, and memory management meant. The Xbox is one experiment that went right for Microsoft, even if it took years to become a profitable division.

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  3. Whilst I never owned one, I have played most of these elsewhere. It’s great to see Jet SET Radio get some love. It’s one of those games that would probably do well with a modern indie reboot.

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  4. Excellent list, although I do take exception to this line, “Okay, so I didn’t play all the previous ones, but there were not many good ones until KOTOR came out.” I mean, if you were attempting to say there weren’t may good Star Wars games on XBOX until KOTOR, I fully agree but prior to KOTOR, there were many good, if not excellent Star Wars games on various machines dating all the way back to the arcade in the 80s up through the PS2 and Gamecube. Anyway, before I start listing a load of good Star Wars games that debuted prior to KOTOR, I’ll get back on topic…

    My first experience with the XBOX wasn’t until I got a 360 and utilized its backwards compatibility with Halo, Halo 2, Doom III, and Fable. I finally bought an OG XBOX about 2 years ago to add to my collection and some of my list would go as such: Halo: CE, Fable, KOTOR, Morrowind, Forza, PGR, and Crimson Skies. Halo 2 would probably be up there if my first experience with Halo wasn’t until 8 months before Halo 3 released and I had a chance to play more of the multiplayer. I do love the remake though and it would be on my best of XB1 list.

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  5. Nice choice of games, they truly reflect where the Console go with it’s awesome lineup of exclusive. I really command Microsoft to have sign up so much exclusive deal on that Big Behemoth (It was another time I guess).

    Must say that I never got the chance to truly appreciate Elder Scroll 3. We bought it way too late, after playing both Oblivion and Skyrim, so while I see the charm of it, and where the series came from, it really didn’t aged that well. Even with the Enhanced for X version of it.

    I don’t know if it was because Sega had a prior relation with Microsoft, letting them put windows CE in the Dreamcast, but the OG were graced with the most spectacular game from the Blue Hedgehog Company throughout that generation. Has you said with that wonderful sequel to Jet Set (still sad though that they removed the tag mini game of the first one to a more arcadey style). Panzer Dragoon Orta is also a massive game too boot, Crazy Taxi 3, and all sort of Sega sweetness.

    Also loved your list of other favorite, with Brute Force, Jurassic Park and Oddworld. Would add Stranger’s Wrath, that put the concept of Oddworld in a all new high with a completely overhaul gameplay. Doom also was gotten some awesome exclusive twist for the OG, with that exclusive Coop mode.

    Thank you for that great top 7, really liked reading it.😊😊

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