The Best Games on the Xbox 360

Cream of the crop.

After a shaky introduction to the world of video games with the release of the original Xbox, few thought that Microsoft would ever find long-term success in the home console business. But then the Xbox 360 came along and became one of the best-selling consoles of all time. Hundreds of games have been released for the Xbox 360 since its release in 2005, making the task of choosing the best on the console an extremely tough one. But the games we've chosen below do represent an excellent cross section of the most outstanding, exciting, important, and just plain fun game experiences you can have right now on the Xbox 360. Do you agree with our choices? Read on and tell us in the comments below.

Click below to see more screens from our top Xbox 360 games.

Batman Arkham Asylum

"Regardless of whether you're getting sucked into the Story mode or competing for high scores in the Challenge mode, Batman: Arkham Asylum does an outstanding job of letting you be Batman. Everything about this game--the impressive visuals, stirring soundtrack, superb voice acting, fiendish puzzles, hard-hitting combat--feels like it has been lovingly crafted by a development team that's both knowledgeable and passionate about the source material. Miss out on this one and the joke's on you." -- Read our full review

Bayonetta

"Chock-full of often silly but always memorable moments, Bayonetta is hard to get out of your mind even after you've stopped playing it. More than anything else, almost everything about Bayonetta feels just right. Its host of hidden items and secrets, multiple difficulties, competitively balanced scoring system, and charismatic heroine make it a game that will be revisited time and time again. This is one action game that you absolutely must not miss." -- Read our full review

BioShock

"While on the surface it might look like little more than a very pretty first-person shooter, BioShock is much, much more than that. Sure, the action is fine, but its primary focus is its story, a sci-fi mystery that manages to feel retro and futuristic at the same time, and its characters, who convey most of the story via radio transmissions and audio logs that you're constantly stumbling upon as you wander around. All of it blends together to form a rich, interesting world that sucks you in right away and won't let go until you've figured out what, exactly, is going on in the undersea city of Rapture." -- Read our full review

Blood of the Werewolf

"With the fixes and gameplay mechanics, what remains is Blood of the Werewolf in its finest form: enjoyable, challenging, and, at long last, satisfying to the very end. Dreadful traps and Hollywood's most famous monsters stand in your way. How long will you last against the forces of darkness?" -- Read our review

Braid

"It serves as the contemplative companion to the typical Mario adventure while embracing the unbridled fun found in the best platformers. Clever gameplay mechanics are the driving force, pushing you toward your inevitable confrontation with the woman you've lost, but it's the engrossing story that cements this as something really special." -- Read our review

Call of Duty Black Ops 2

"The campaign hits the same satisfying rhythms, the multiplayer captures the same frenetic intensity, and the cooperative zombies mode delivers the same stale undead-massacring action. Caught between striving for the future and remaining rooted in the past, Black Ops II finds solid footing, providing another great ride on the Call of Duty rollercoaster." -- Read our review

Praise the sun--it's Dark Souls!

Dark Souls

"Any game can deliver a few cheap scares. It takes a special one to terrify you. Dark Souls is such a game. It's a thoughtful, atmospheric, and mysterious role-playing adventure that challenges your mind and your mettle." -- Read our review

Dead Space

"Dead Space is a remarkable game from a well-tread genre that manages to stand out from its competitors in almost every way, from visual presentation to engaging story, innovative combat mechanics to fright factor. Whether you're looking for a terrifying horror experience or a deeply story-driven adventure that will keep you engaged for 15-20 hours, Dead Space is a fantastic game that you should not pass on." -- Read our review

Dirt 3

"Dirt 3 improves and builds upon its superb predecessor at just about every opportunity. The new multiplayer modes and gymkhana events are great additions, and if you're interested primarily in traditional racing disciplines, it has more than twice as many routes to race in more varied weather conditions and in an even greater selection of vehicles." -- Read our review

Dishonored

"Yet even though it allows you to wipe the recent slate clean, Dishonored still begs to be replayed from the beginning. Unlocking different powers, finishing missions in different ways, striving to be more or less murderous, and seeing a different endgame all offer appealing incentives to give it another go. It's a rare game that feels so compulsively replayable, but Dishonored is such a game." -- Read our review

Fallout 3

"Fallout 3 is leaner and meaner than Bethesda's previous efforts, less expansive but more intense, while still offering immense replay value and quite a few thrills along the way. Whether you're a newcomer to the universe or a Fallout devotee, untold hours of mutated secrets are lurking in the darkest corners of Washington." -- Read our review

Far Cry 3

"Far Cry 3 is a delightful and harsh tropical wonderland, crawling with wildlife and threatened by the pirates and drug runners that disrupt its peace. The troubled paradise you explore is colorful and wild, enticing you to investigate its ravines and discover new ways to enjoy the open-world playground sprawling in front of you. This is a game that ignites the desire to complete every last challenge and check out every last icon on your map." -- Read our review

Forza Motorsport 4

"Like even the very best new cars, Forza 4 doesn't reinvent the wheel, but rather it refines and improves upon what came before it. That's no small achievement given how truly special Forza 3 was." -- Read our review

Click below to see more screens from our top Xbox 360 games.

Gears of War

"In Gears of War, a slab of concrete is your best friend. And if that slab of concrete isn't around, you can always make do with burned-out cars, piles of metal, huge columns, or even the ever-popular wall next to a doorway. Why are these inanimate objects so friendly? Because if you aren't hiding behind something in Gears of War, you might as well be dead. If its exciting campaign doesn't rope you in, chances are the team-based multiplayer will--either way, Gears of War is downright amazing." -- Read our review

Grand Theft Auto V

"GTA V is a complicated and fascinating game, one that fumbles here and there and has an unnecessary strain of misogynistic nastiness running through it. But it also does amazing things no other open-world game has attempted before, using multiple perspectives to put you in the thick of cinematic heist sequences and other exhilarating, multi-layered missions like no open-world game before." -- Read our review

Halo 3

"Plenty of games (have) attempted to duplicate the Halo formula, with varying degrees of success. But there's still nothing quite like the genuine item. Halo 3 is a positively amazing package that offers extreme satisfaction across all of its different parts." -- Read our review

L.A. Noire

"L.A. Noire is a unique game with a terrific sense of period atmosphere, absorbing investigation mechanics, and a haunting tale with plenty of moments that would be right at home in a classic film noir. Those smoky nights spent listening to jazz at the Blue Room, and the price you paid for them, will stay with you long after you've retired your badge and gun." -- Read our review

Mass Effect 2

"Mass Effect's galaxy you want to explore that is populated with characters you are glad to know. Mass Effect 2 is the kind of game that you return to, not just because it's fun to play multiple times, but also because its universe is a place you wish you could call home." -- Read our review

Max Payne 3

"With its gripping narrative, brutal violence, and fantastic implementation of Max Payne's bullet-time ability, this is a distinctive and outstanding game through and through, and it's easily a worthy successor to the Max Payne games that preceded it." -- Read our review

Portal 2

"As you journey through the massive Aperture facility, it becomes clear that Portal 2 does not merely come after Portal. Instead, it radiates outward from its predecessor, simultaneously illuminating the world that gave rise to Portal and continuing the adventure that began there. The sense of novelty is diminished, but the thrill of exploration and puzzle-solving is still intoxicating, and it's amazing how Portal 2 manages to tell a better story with disembodied voices and spherical robots than most games can with full-on humans." -- Read our reviews

Red Dead Redemption

"This is an outstanding game that tells a great story with memorable and occasionally laugh-out-loud-funny characters. Think about great moments that you remember from spaghetti Western movies, put them all into one 20- to 40-hour epic feature, and picture yourself in the starring role. Now you have some idea of what's waiting for you in Red Dead Redemption." -- Read our review

Rock Band 3

"Rock Band 3 not only introduces new and exciting things to the world of rhythm games, but it does almost everything better than those that have come before it. When it comes to accessible, inventive, and immensely entertaining music video games, nobody does it better than Rock Band 3." -- Read our review

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim doesn't rely on sheer scope to earn its stripes. It isn't just that there's a lot to do: it's that most of it is so good. Whether you're slashing a dragon's wings, raising the dead back to life, or experimenting at the alchemy table, Skyrim performs the most spectacular of enchantments: the one that causes huge chunks of time to vanish before you know it." -- Read our review

Vanquish is all sorts of awesome.

Spelunky

"Spelunky doesn't extend a helping hand when you're down. It doesn't have mercy. And that stubbornness is one of the main reasons it's so hard to pull away from the game. When you finally conquer something that has been hounding you for hours, you feel like the best darn explorer on the planet, and that feeling overshadows all the hardships you overcame down the troubled path you traveled." -- Read our review

Super Meat Boy

"It's impossible to point to just one element that makes Super Meat Boy such an extraordinary game. From the intense-though-always-fair difficulty and the inspired level design, to the pinpoint controls and catchy soundtrack, all of the different aspects converge into something that is truly outstanding." -- Read our review

Vanquish

"Pure entertainment: that's Vanquish in a nutshell. This speedy and thrilling third-person cover-based shooter is all madness, overwhelming you with gigantic robots, flurries of gunfire, and explosions so powerful and colorful that you might think you feel the heat. There are a lot of things to love about Vanquish, but its most impressive feat is that while it uses mechanics you've seen in other shooters, it feels nothing like them." -- Read our review

* GameSpot's Best Of Lists will updated periodically as new games worthy of inclusion are released on their respective platforms.

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Discussion

326 comments
green_abobo
green_abobo

not a terrible list.


would add oblivion, the witcher 2: assassins of kings, tenchu z, metal gear rising revengence,  injustice: gods among us, & lastly, ninja gaiden 2.


theres others im sure. darksiders had its moments, diablo 3, those are both on other consoles though, so thats different than xbox xclusives.


not enough love for beat em ups & fighters in general these days, imo.


dark souls is the single most overrated game. period.

naymleswon
naymleswon

yeah missing Witcher 2, AC: Black Flag and Dragon's Dogma, great game with awesome boss fights and a cool mixture of a JRPG with some western rpg. It's a good list and I've played almost all of it. I do agree with Vanquish, that game was fun as hell, short but love the gliding and the franctic shooting. I hope they make a second game.

slappy54
slappy54

Witcher 2 redefined how excellent writing, mature content and choice and consequence is done in an RPG. Sorry...invalid list.

Daian
Daian

Essentially nothing but games you can play on PC or PS3 too except for Gears, Halo and Forza. 

Also of all the CoDs you picked Black Ops 2? Seriously? That's arguably the worst one.

sinclairhxc
sinclairhxc

so a bunch of games you can have on any other system, hence there being no reason to own a 360 except for Halo.


love the love for Vanquish though!

alabtrosmyster
alabtrosmyster

This list exemplifies why I ended up never getting an xbox 360, while it was better than the PS3 for 99% of the multi-platform titles, it was nowhere near what a decent gaming PC bought within the last 5 years or so (or even around the same time it was released) could muster... I already had a gaming PC.


I got my PS3 mainly for Wipeout HD and the media player capabilities at first (DLNA, blue ray...) then I got into the Sony exclusives.


However for a console only gamer, the 360 is a great machine, it does not need many exclusives.

presidentkk28
presidentkk28

The lack of exclusives on any  GS top25 would not surprise me be their editors have repeatedly stated their general dislike for them.

ksbwings
ksbwings

I believe that the above lists suppose to mention an exclusive xbox360 games, not shared with other platforms such as PS3.  


If the list combined platform, it is supposed to mention some of honorable games such as "splinter cell conviction", "Prototype" and so on.

amirreza92
amirreza92

seriously why alan wake is not on this list???

Metalnoid
Metalnoid

Bayonetta? I can't take this...

bluefox755
bluefox755

Kind of weird to make a list of "Xbox 360 games" and fill it with multiplats, but what do I know.

ringringabel
ringringabel

there should be more 360 exclusives on this list, as most of these games are multiplatform, i'm also suprised that Alan Wake isn't on here...i still have my 360 but it just sits in storage as I don't see any reason to hook it up, there just aren't any exclusives that I find worth playing...also GoW is very overrated imo

Randolph
Randolph

I'd have Alan Wake and Lost Odyssey on there, myself.

CodingGenius
CodingGenius moderator

Some great hidden gems on here like Vanquish!

creepshow2
creepshow2

I own most of these games as well, but even if they played on the xbox one I still would not buy one ha ha! PS4 FTW.

Defender1978
Defender1978

I own most of those games.  Now make my library of 360 games work on the Xbox One and I'll buy one.  

Zloth2
Zloth2

LA Noire?  Mass Effect 2 without 1 and 3?

Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

Games missing from this list include...


Scott pilgrim Vs the World the Video game


Cypher complex


wwe 13


Star Ocean the last hope (i enjoyed it)


Eternal Sonata


Tales of Vesperia


and a bunch of other games that didn't get mention.

jacquelineferre
jacquelineferre

is this a list of top rated XBOX360 games or a personal list from any GS editor?

Boom_Kat
Boom_Kat

Lack of jrpgs is disheartening. Lost Odyssey was one of my favorite games on the 360. I though Trials should have been on the list too.

Setho10
Setho10

These lists always take the route of only including one game per series which I understand to a degree but it doesn't make them very accurate. For example, Gears of War was a very influential game but Gears of War 2 had the most variety within the campaign and introduced Horde Mode, while Gears 3 has more content and more polish than any game has a right to. While the first may be the most influential I would say 2 and 3 are better at pretty much everything. And I would say Halo 3, Halo Reach, and Halo 4 are all better games than, say, Max Payne 3 or LA Noire. And while Portal 2 may have more to it than the first game, not including the original Portal just seems criminal to me. And lastly, there are almost no XBLA games on this list. Braid? Limbo? Shadow Complex? Bastion? Dust? Not even Castle Crashers?

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

goes to show that my taste in games bucks the trend of the mainstream

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

COD4: Modern Warfare >>>>>> Black Ops 2

santinegrete
santinegrete

Tales of Vesperia should be here, the western localization is exlusive to 360 and is a great game in it's own right. And Gears of War 3 it's the most complete and best iteration of the franchise, it's such a rare case of quality and quantity.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

Seriously? They chose Halo 3 over Reach? Man, I don't understand that one.

Darth_Aloysius
Darth_Aloysius

I've only played two of these titles, should I feel bad?

DariusMKN
DariusMKN

It's good to see Vanquish get some recognition. I really like this game. It's a shame that it got no sequel. 


I only miss Fable 2 in the list. Despite its flaws its a very good game.

nameaprice
nameaprice

my XBOX 360 got RROD in LESS than a year! Thats why I went back PS with my PS3 and now PS4, also PC.

cainetao11
cainetao11

@ksbwings That makes no sense. Where does it say its "supposed to be exclusives"? Games library. That's why I buy consoles. L4D 1&2, Metro 2033, The Witcher 2, were amongst the exclusives that I have on 360, that I cant play on my PS3. My PS3 has TLOU, Uncharted series, GoW etc. Those are exclusive, but I also have MGS Legacy collection which is not. Games Library.

zeca04
zeca04

@bluefox755  They are still games available on xbox 360. Really weird would be if they filled the list with games exclusives for pc or ps3, not available for 360

ringringabel
ringringabel

i think the one thing that keeps me from selling my 360 is that my PC died so I haven't been able to finish The Witcher 2, I'm surprised that there was never a ps3 version!

ringringabel
ringringabel

@Ranma_X_basic  was star ocean actually really good? I've been wondering about that game, I absolutely loved Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. One of my favorite PS2 games for sure

Zloth2
Zloth2

@Boom_Kat Come to think of it, Lost Odyssey was probably my favorite on 360 as well.  It has some annoying bits but overall it was good stuff.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@Boom_Kat Yeah, Trials definitely could have been on this list. Excellent game. My favorite JRPG on the system is Resonance of Fate. There are some good one out there.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@Setho10 Gears of War is the best in the franchise (though I haven't played Judgment). At least that's my take. By going "bigger and badder," Gear 2 lost the intimacy and fear that made Gears so interesting. Halo Reach and 4 were also entirely forgettable. Yes, we wanted just one game per franchise, but I wouldn't have included those anyway. But I understand your point.


We did include Braid. We talked about Limbo, Shadow Comlex, and Castle Crashers. It's a hard list to make. There are plenty of great games that didn't make the cut.

fadersdream
fadersdream

@KimCheeWarriorX Sucks to be you.

My music taste tends to buck trends... consequently I either never hear another album from them, or it becomes too much effort to stay up to date on their work.


At one point it was cool to hate the beatles.

squantobecky
squantobecky

@santinegrete I want to play Tales Of Vesperia.When I go to buy older games I always forget this game.I heard it's really good.

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

@santinegrete  i agree with you on tales of vesperia. it came out back in the 360's golden age of jrpgs. these days you'd be lucky to get anything even remotely resembling a japanese rpg for 360. i dont blame ms for giving up on the japanese market, it never sold well over there but the numerous jrpgs that came out for the system early in the system's life are the main reason i chose the 360 over the ps3

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

@FLEEBS  honestly, i think both of them are steaming piles of shit but reach was at least tolerable and only when played in campaign online with a friend. also, halo's got the most baffling, "dumber than a box of rocks" teeny boppers on xbox live. only time i ever played it is when some friends would beg me to play with them in a private match, just friends

santinegrete
santinegrete

@Darth_Aloysius nah, you should feel bad  if you never play them and also call 'em overrated to get attention, like the usual halo hater.

But there's no time like the present, go get them!

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

@DariusMKN  ive been meaning to find it for less than $20. the game looks amazing but its reputation for horrific, upper tier difficulty levels terrifies me, lol.

Setho10
Setho10

@TomMcShea Also thought I should add that I enjoy debating this but obviously these types of lists are subjective and incredibly difficult to make so I appreciate the effort. And most of your choices are solid. I hope you guys do a PS3 list. That should prove a bit more interesting considering the very divisive nature of some of Sony's big exclusives and the fact that there are a lot more worthwhile exclusives worth mentioning that could knock some of these games off that list. 

Setho10
Setho10

@TomMcShea Whoops! Missed Braid. Sorry. Personally my issue with the first Gears is its lack of variety. It felt very much like the first entry in a new franchise that it was in that it laid down some great groundwork with solid fundamentals but there wasn't enough to it. There was the car sequence, and the Krill portion but outside of that it was just the same arena battles from beginning to end. What I liked about 2 was the variety. Some missions worked better than others but I thought that the abandoned base mission was just as atmospheric and scary as the Krill mission in the first game, and just having more varied environments and missions helped keep the game fresh the whole way through. 3 I'll agree with you, though. The scale there did cause the game to lose something and it lacked any mission like the Krill or abandoned base mission.

I think it's fair to not include Reach or Halo 4. But you get what I'm saying. Although I know LA Noire has some big proponents at Gamespot I still feel like it is tough to make an argument that it is more worthy of inclusion than GTA4 or Oblivion or Bioshock Infinite (although I know you would make a major argument against that last one).

whackyq
whackyq

@TomMcShea @Setho10 Halo Reach is entirely forgettable?


This is why you need multiple reviewers for one game, people have different taste. I for one loved Halo Reach but like very few JRPGs.


I do agree that 4 was a little disappointing for me, probably because I expected alot, especially from Spartan Ops

nameaprice
nameaprice

@KimCheeWarriorX @nameaprice ", so if you paid for another one then the joke's on you" you didnt really read my post did you? But hey thats how most xBONERS are, dont even have an attention span long enough to absord and understand a simple comment post, jesus...

nameaprice
nameaprice

@KimCheeWarriorX @Bgrngod@nameapriceahh why would I buy a POS that crapped out in less than a year, and "Less than a year and you're covered by a warranty..." is a GOOD response to you?! Jesus you xboners and the people who liked his comment really are RETARDED arnt you? You people would buy a turd covered in tin foil if it had an M$ logo on it, morons