Top 20 best Xbox 360 Backwards Compatible Games (So Far)

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If there's one thing the Xbox One has over the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it's backwards compatibility. Sure, the PS4 has its streaming service (PlayStation Now) for playing PS3 games, but the relatively high price and often fuzzy visual quality isn't as consumer friendly as people may want it to be. And, of course, the Switch doesn't have Virtual Console, so ... 

Playing old games on your current system without having to pay some kind of Netflix-like membership is a much better alternative -- and it does a better job of helping the medium retain its physical history, too. 

With more than 300 titles currently getting the backwards compatibility treatment on the Xbox, picking only 10 games wasn't good enough. For this list, we're looking at 20 of the best Xbox 360 games you can play on your Xbox One right now.

There are only two caveats. One, the games in question can't be available in the form of a remaster -- so don't expect the Halo series, the original Gears of War, Burnout Paradise, etc) as they can be played on Xbox One with numerous improvements. And two, we're only looking at one game per franchise.

With that said, let's get started.

Lost Odyssey

As one of a few JRPGs Microsoft produced to generate interest in the Xbox 360 in Japan, Lost Odyssey is a game that many fans of the genre overlooked.

Created by famed JRPG maker Hironobu Sakaguichi and his team at Mistwalker studios, Lost Odyssey does a lot of things right. While using basic frameworks from other games in the genre, Lost Odyssey still works thanks to its strong characters, excellent art design, and a functional combat system. 

Bayonetta

Though her heart and sequels may be with Nintendo these days, and her first adventure has started showing a few signs of age, the original Bayonetta still offers plenty of hack and slash action that will please fans of action games and the hack and slash genre.

Bayonetta has some of the craziest boss fights in gaming history, and its battles are fierce (your thumbs will definitely get a workout). If you love character-based action games like Devil May Cry (but crazier), you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

Crackdown

Though it was thought to just be "that game that came with the Halo 3 beta," Crackdown quickly gained a large fallowing thanks to its open-world gameplay, gripping character abilities, and one of the best radio sidekicks of all time.

Thanks to Xbox One X, Crackdown looks and plays even better than before. It can even run at 4K if you have the capability.

Long story short, you'll want to check out this classic Xbox game before it's third installment comes out next year.

Vanquish

Another Platinum Games title that many didn't pick up when it was first released, Vanquish has one of the best campaigns in shooter history, an excellent sense of speed, and wonderful slide mechanics that other shooters tried to implement, but did so with varying results.

It may be a little on the short side, but it still works thanks to great gameplay, a wonderful visual aesthetic, and Platinum Games' trademark over-the-top set pieces. Give this one a shot. 

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Do you love the 80's? Do you love shooting dinosaurs and neon-psychedelic henchmen? Then this version of FC3 just what you've been looking for. You even get to go around shooting baddies with Robocop's gun!

However, the 80's love doesn't stop there. Blood Dragon is so drenched in 80's nostalgia that it's the Ready Player One of video games. It may be short, but Blood Dragon still has the classic Far Cry gameplay, just colored in a retro vibe. And that ain't half-bad.

Sonic Generations

Probably the last Sonic game both critics and fans can agree on was good (well, except for the recently-released Sonic Mania), Sonic Generations let's players relive some of Sonic's best memories in new ways, while also acting as a great tribute to the entire franchise.

With classic Sonic platforming action and fast paced modern Sonic gameplay, it's still a great title that only has one crime: being too short. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

There's little doubt that Call of Duty is a defining franchise. But Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 did a lot of different things with the franchise -- and they payed off.

From the ability to make choices that changed the game's story to a futuristic setting and a villain that's actually intimidating, Black Ops 2 made for the best CoD game since the original Modern Warfare.

Not all additions, like Strike Force missions, are winners, but it's still a game that's worth playing. 

Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution took some risks with the typical gameplay of the long running series. While some changes, like more linear sections, didn't work so well, its change to a more Grindhouse style of storytelling and inclusion of the instinct meter were welcomed.

Absolution also contains some of the series' best kills, such as switching BBQ sauce with Gasoline. It's easily Hitman at it's most cinematic and most accessible -- more so than any title in the series.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

After the action focused Conviction, Ubisoft listened to fans and was able to tailor Blacklist to what many players wanted: the ability to choose their own style of play.

By combining the gameplay mechanics and urgency of the previous game and the slower and more methodical style of Chaos Theory, Blacklist was able to cater to both newcomers and long-time veterans of the series.

It's shame that Sam hasn't been around in while, but his recent appearance in Ghost Recon: Wildlands gives us hope for a comeback. 

Beyond Good and Evil HD

Technically an HD version of an Xbox game, Beyond Good and Evil HD still counts as it's the only way to play this classic game on consoles.

Jade's adventure has touched many gamers in the years since the game's release, and it still holds up with its solid mixture of gameplay types. With a sequel currently in development, it's the perfect time to replay this cult classic adventure.

GTA IV

Grand Theft Auto's debut on last-gen machines may not be its best installment (the driving is still a pain in the ass), but the changes it made to story and gameplay, as well as the inclusion of multiplayer that's even more addictive than GTA Online, makes this one of the series' best installments.

Nikko's story of revenge still holds a place in many people's hearts, as it is easily the most grounded and relatable story in a GTA game. Top that with the same open world gameplay that's made GTA a household name and you've got yourself a winner.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

After years of hibernation, Deus Ex finally returned with Human Revolution. By allowing players to choose a specific gameplay style (either guns blazing or sneaking about), this excellent RPG managed to capture the original's spirit while not being afraid to try different things.

Human Revolution also managed to tell an intriguing story of government conspiracy and revenge. The sequel may be better in nearly every way, but this adventure is still an unforgettable tale that's worth experiencing. 

Batman: Arkham Origins

Batman: Arkham Origins gets a bad rap for not doing anything different with the formula that it's predecessors laid out -- and that's true. Despite that, it tells a great Batman/Joker story, has engaging combat, and has some of the best boss fights in any video game.

Arkham Origins may only be available on disk, but it shouldn't be missed for Bat-fans craving more time in the Arkham-verse.

Assassin's Creed

The original Assassin's Creed help start the open-world trend that many games still attempt to capitalize on, even other franchises that Ubisoft owns. It may feel old when compared to later installments and it can get extremely repetitive, but its core exploration-based gameplay and level design is still strong.

It also has a world that no game has ever been set in and an engaging story that still holds up after all these years. With the series exploring prequels in its latest installments, it's worth going back and seeing where it all began. 

Alan Wake

If you love Steven King or Twin Peaks, then you'll probably love Alan Wake. As the eponymous character, you'll be shoved into a shifting, real-world nightmare as you puzzle out the secrets of an otherworldly town while attempting to rescue your wife from supernatural forces.

Mixing eerie storytelling and a creepy atmosphere (with the unique use of light as a combat mechanic and excellent gunplay), Alan Wake is one of the 360's more under-appreciated games.

Oh, and did I mention you can it for free if you buy Quantum Break?

Dead Space 2

The original Dead Space was an excellent mixture of Resident Evil 4 and Event Horizon. Combining the backtracking, tension, and gunplay of the former with the ideal location of a spaceship in the middle of nowhere, Dead Space created something special.

The sequel expands upon this by allowing players to explore the blood-drenched floors of the space station, Sprawl. Dead Space 2's narrative may be a bit less interesting than the original, but truly great gameplay, excellent tension, and outstanding production make this a horror classic.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD

With many fans playing Metal Gear Solid 3, a few may have been lost with some of the characters introduced in Metal Gear Solid 5. 

If you aren't familiar with characters like Paz, Kaz, or Huey, MGS: Peace Walker HD will catch you up. Along with the trademark storytelling that the series is known,  this entry in the series was the "blueprints" to what would eventually become MGS 5's excellent gameplay. That alone is worth checking this one out.

Red Dead: Redemption

After GTA IV, Rockstar took somewhat of a left turn, releasing a game that surprised everyone: Red Dead: Redemption.

Implementing the gameplay that made GTA so great, and using a setting such as the Old West, was one of the best idea's the developer has ever had. Along with an improved combat system over GTA IV and a compelling story of betrayal (and an ending that may make you cry), Redemption still remains a fan favorite and we can't wait to get our hands on the upcoming sequel.

Gears of War 3

The original Gears of War reinvented third-person shooters back in 2006, but the last game in the original trilogy was the one that perfected it.

Gears of War 3 takes everything you loved about the original series and pumps it up to 11. With great gunplay, amazing set pieces, and touching moments that will make even the manliest man tear up, Gears of War 3 is the pinnacle of the series. 

Mass Effect 2

It's no secret that the original Mass Effect was one of the best role-playing games of its day. However, it hasn't really aged well. Mass Effect 2, however, has aged like fine wine.

The gunplay is improved over the original, the story is much more action packed, the characters are incredibly developed and complex, and it still has some of the best art design in all of gaming. 

Mass Effect 2 is the reason why I play video games -- and I'm not the only one who feels that way. Mass Effect may be dead, but legends like Mass Effect 2 will always live on.

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Was there a game we missed?  If so, leave a comment below and let us know why. With so many games, it's easy for us to miss one or two of them.

Published Jul. 14th 2018

Contributor

Joseph is an aspiring Game Journalist that hopes to get a job reviewing and reporting on Video Games.


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