The Best Games on the Xbox 360
Cream of the crop.
Update: The mighty Xbox 360 is finally no more, with Microsoft officially confirming that it has stopped all production on its hugely successful console. The Xbox 360 had an outstanding games library, and none stood out more than the games that we've listed below. And for more on the history of the Xbox 360, be sure to read our feature on the decade long legacy of the console.
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.
- All Xbox 360 Games by Average GameSpot Score
- All Xbox 360 Games by Average Member Score
- Best Xbox 360 Action Games
- Best Xbox 360 Driving/Racing Games
- Best Xbox 360 Role-Playing Games
- Best Xbox 360 Shooters
- Best Xbox 360 Sports Games
Assassin's Creed II (Action Adventure)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 9/10 "Assassin's Creed II is a better game than its forebear and is a beautiful and memorable experience on its own terms. But it's more than just a game--it's an escape to a place and a time that feel so welcoming, you'll be making return trips even after your initial adventure is over.
Batman Arkham Asylum (Action Adventure)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 9.2/10 "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."
GameSpot Score: 8/10, User Average: 8.4/10 "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."
BioShock (First-Person Shooter)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average 9.0/10 "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."
Blood of the Werewolf (2D Platformer)
GameSpot Score 8/10 "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?"
Braid (2D Platformer)
GameSpot Review: 9.5/10, User Average: 8.1/10 "(Braid) 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."
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (First-Person Shooter)
GameSpot Review: 8/10. User Average: 7/10 "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."
Castle Crashers (2D Beat Em' Up)
GameSpot Review: 8.5/10. User Average: 8.5/10 "For those who have been crying about the absence of new brawlers, Castle Crashers has arrived to save you from your lamentations. The game is a hilarious adventure through medieval countrysides, enemy-filled castles, and venting volcanoes in search of true love[s], as well as the end of evil. It has some online issues, but storming a castle has never been more fun."
Dark Souls (Fantasy Role-Playing)
GameSpot Review: 9.5/10, User Average: 8.8/10 "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."
Dead Space (3D Shooter, Horror)
GameSpot Review: 9/10, User Average: 8.9/10 "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."
Dirt 3 (Racing)
GameSpot Review: 9/10, User Average: 8.4/10 "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."
Dishonored (Action Adventure)
GameSpot Review: 9/10, User Average: 8.4/10 "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."
Fable 2 (Role-Playing)
It's hard not to get sucked into Fable II. The world is so charming and your choices so profound, that it's easy to look past the game's shortcomings. The punishment for death is pointless and the story carries little weight, but the experience is still immensely rewarding. It's easy to lose hours to trivial tasks, and discovering all the secrets tucked away creates a truly memorable adventure. The new ideas presented here may not change the future of gaming, but there are some noteworthy additions that make this feel completely unique. Your emotional attachment to your virtual dog will be real, making you reliant upon his companionship as you trek through these lands. In a game about choices, the wisest one you can make is to play the game. After spending a few hours in Albion, you won't want to do anything else."
Fallout 3 (Role-playing)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 8.9/10 "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."
Far Cry 3 (First-person Shooter)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 8.7/10 "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."
Fez (2D Platformer)
GameSpot Score: 8/10, User Average: 7.9/10 "Fez has pitfalls you have to accept if you're going to enjoy this adventure. Technical problems, baffling map design, and obtuse puzzles can serve as a serious barrier to entry. But it's worth putting up with the missteps for the wondrous adventure that awaits. Fez goes far deeper than the simple platformer it initially appears as, and figuring out the solutions to the many puzzles is an experience that harks back to a time when games weren't scared of taking off the leash and letting you run wild. Invest time in Fez's colorful world, and enjoy the wealth of incredible ideas buried within."
Forza Motorsport 4 (Racing)
GameSpot Score: 8.5/10, User Average: 8.8/10 "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."
Gears of War (Action Sci-Fi Shooter)
GameSpot Review: 9.6/10, User Average: 9.2/10 "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."
Grand Theft Auto V (Action)
GameSpot Review 9/10, User Average: 9.0/10 "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."
Halo 3 (First-person Sci-fi Shooter)
GameSpot Score: 9.5/10, User Average 8.9/10 "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."
L.A. Noire (Mystery Adventure)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average 8.6/10 "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."
Left 4 Dead (Shooter)
Limbo (2D Platformer)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average 8.5/10 "Limbo poses the questions of death versus life and reality versus dream, but it doesn't answer them. It's the questions that are important here, and you're left to contemplate the meaning of this world for yourself. Although this is a game without clear-cut answers, the lack of concrete explanations doesn't detract one bit from the overall experience. This is a delicately crafted adventure whose elements tie seamlessly together. The fact that you can finish the entire game in just a few hours is disappointing only because it's so difficult to pull yourself away once you've been sucked in. Limbo is a superb adventure from beginning to end."
Mass Effect 2 (Action)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 9.0/10 "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."
Max Payne 3 (Action Shooter)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 8.5/10 "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."
Minecraft (Sandbox Survival)
GameSpot Score: 7/10, User Average: 8.5/10 "While plenty of concessions were made to bring Minecraft to the Xbox 360, it's good to see that the overall depth and flexibility that made the original so engaging aren't completely sacrificed. However, despite the nice multiplayer options, the improved accessibility, and the refined crafting system, the missing elements are a sizable backslide from the PC version. But is the core foundation still a lot of fun? Absolutely--if you temper your expectations."
Portal 2 (Action Puzzle)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average 9.1/10 "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."
Red Dead Redemption (Action Adventure, Western)
GameSpot Score: 9.5/10, User Average: 9.2/10 "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."
Rock Band 3 (Music)
User Average: 8.3/10 "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."
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Role-playing)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 9.0/10 "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."
Shadow Complex (2.5D Action Platformer)
GameSpot Score: 8.5/10, User Average: 8.7/10 "Shadow Complex is an excellent current-generation take on a classic gaming genre. There are enough secrets hidden in the Progressive Restoration's massive underground facility to keep you going for hours on your first play-through, but with the four difficulty settings, competitive leaderboards, challenge rooms, clever achievements and bonus objectives, you won't want to leave it at that."
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 7.7/10 "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."
Super Meat Boy (Platformer)
GameSpot Score: 9.5/10, User Average: 7.7/10 "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."
Vanquish (Action Shooter, Sci-fi)
GameSpot Score: 9/10, User Average: 8.6/10 "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."
* GameSpot's Best Of Lists will updated periodically as new games worthy of inclusion are released on their respective platforms.