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The Xbox 360 hit store shelves in 2005, giving it an entire year ahead of its competition to churn out exclusive games. It doesn’t take a genius to realize exclusives = sales in this industry. Just look at the PlayStation 2, which is the highest-selling video game console of all time. It had games that you just couldn’t play on the Xbox or GameCube, and that was the recipe for its success. From Final Fantasy X to Guitar Hero, to timed-exclusives such as the critically-acclaimed Grand Theft Auto trilogy, the PS2 didn’t succeed because of its hardware (it was weaker than both the GameCube and Xbox) or even brand loyalty–it won the console war of the sixth generation because of its exclusives.
That being said, with the Xbox 360 having an entire year more than the Wii and the PS3 to build up a library of must-have exclusives, this list was pretty tough to compile. You’ll probably disagree with it, so sound off in the comments section below and let your voice be heard! However, I assure you that this list is 100% correct. I am Horror Spooky after all, and I cannot be wrong. Ever. Ever.
Also, this list contains games that are also available on the PC, but seriously, practically every game is available on the PC if you are willing to break some laws to get them. Whenever I talk about exclusives, it will either be about console exclusives or handheld exclusives.
This game seriously divided gamers when it launched alongside the Xbox 360 in late 2005. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that it deserves a spot on the list. It’s been dubbed the “Zelda” of Rare and Microsoft, offering clever platforming sections as well as addicting and entertaining environmental puzzles that were both challenging and exciting all at once. If any new IP from this gen deserves a sequel, it’s this hidden gem. At least let her make a kameo in another game! (No, my jokes won’t get better. I am offended that you would assume they would.)
Alright, let’s role-play. No, not in a way that involves chains, Stormtrooper helmets, and mood candles. Let’s pretend that I am a developer from Microsoft’s juiciest acquisition Rare, and you are Microsoft, or Bill Gates, or whoever, and I am pitching a game to you. How would you react if I said I wanted to make a game where pinatas live in a garden and occasionally procreate? You’d probably assume I was on drugs, but regardless of the mental state of those at Rare, the Viva Pinata games kick ass, especially the sequel. No, there aren’t any chainsaws attached to guns, but by god, there is pinatas having sex. I honestly can’t think of anything better that wouldn’t land me in prison.
Stephen King. There. I just described Alan Wake. While the premise feels directly lifted out of a Stephen King novel (specifically King’s great The Dark Half), that doesn’t mean that Alan Wake is any less of a game. Featuring some of the best graphics on the Xbox 360, as well as really imaginative and unique gameplay, Alan Wake is one of the most unique games this generation. It will make you afraid of the dark, that’s for sure. Or afraid of flashlights. I’m not really sure yet. I’ll let you know after my next therapy session.
Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 are virtually the same game. Everyone knows this. While it doesn’t necessarily matter which game out of the series I placed here, Left 4 Dead is a very important game. For the first time in an online co-op experience, Left 4 Dead truly forced players to work with their teammates in order to survive. Not only that, but it provided a stellar, frightening, tension-filled experience that’s simply not found in other games nowadays. Face it, Valve is good at what they do, regardless of what Duke Nukem says.
One of the most under-rated games this generation, in my humble though masterful opinion. Perfect Dark Zero is awesome because it didn’t sell out to the FPS gameplay style popularized by Halo. There’s nothing wrong with Halo, but damn it, sometimes I want to play an old-fashioned FPS in the vein of Perfect Dark Zero, which feels like a Nintendo 64 game with prettier graphics and more options. And that’s not a bad thing in the least. Perfect Dark Zero houses the BEST couch multiplayer this entire generation. Yeah, going online and shooting 13 year olds on Call of Duty is entertaining, but turning the bots to the highest difficulty setting and hiding in a corner of the map with three buddies makes Call of Duty look like math homework.
Hey, you know how there are zombies in like, everything nowadays? I’m surprised they haven’t started a “zombie”-themed line of lingerie at Victoria’s Secret at this point. Seriously. Saints Row 2? Zambies. Call of Duty? Zambies. Resident Evil 5? Well, no zambies there, but you get my point. Also, “zambies” isn’t a typo, it’s just a better way to say “zombies”, so deal with it. Please? I can’t deal with rejection good. =( Anyway, Dead Rising was released early in the life of Microsoft’s 360, and it set the tone for things to come. It provides one of the most original gameplay experiences in a long time, and it has just the right amount of corny lines (“I’ve covered wars, y’know”) and challenging gameplay to earn a spot on this list.
Let’s not talk about Fable III. That glitchy headache makes my stomach hurt and my eyes tear up. Instead, let’s focus on Fable II, the best in the Fable franchise, period. It has its share of problems and unfulfilled promises from Lionhead (and the head of the lion himself, Peter Molyneux), but it’s still a fantastic, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind adventure. There’s really no other RPG like Fable II out there. To put it simply, Albion kicks ass, and if you own an Xbox 360 and haven’t visited it yet, I truly feel sorry for you.
Similarly to the Left 4 Dead fiasco earlier in the list, I could have shoehorned Halo: Reach in this spot as well and it wouldn’t have made any difference. Both Halo 3 and Reach have their pros and cons, and in the end, they kind of even each other out. But Halo 3 will always hold a special place in my heart as the first Halo game that I beat, and I beat it multiple times. The multiplayer was also amazing, and it’s probably the best multiplayer the console has to offer. Halo’s the reason the Xbox line of consoles is here at all, and Halo 3 continues the legacy honorably. My only real gripe is the lack of Master Chief nudity. But no game can truly be perfect.
Play Mass Effect. You’ll love it. If you’re thinking, “Why, Mr. Spooky, I have played Mass Effect, and it just wasn’t my cup of tea!” Well, you’re wrong. Your opinion is simply incorrect. There’s no way you can play Mass Effect and not be enthralled by the amazing universe that BioWare created. The gameplay is unbelievably addicting, the characters are unforgettable, and the multi-game spanning gameplay mechanics and storyline elements are something to be marveled. The series has only been around for four years, and it already has multiple novels and a feature film in the works. C’mon now. It’s amazing.
Gears of War is to the Xbox 360 as Halo is to the original Xbox. Epic’s Gears of War trilogy will be coming to a close within a matter of days as of the time of this writing, so I can only vouch for the first two, but I can assure you, Gears of War deserves to be at the top of this list. The Xbox 360 without Gears of War is like grills without hamburgers. It’s like my mother without postpartum depression. It just isn’t the same. The Gears of War franchise has given gamers a new amazing universe, with chainsaw bayonets, dudes pumped with so much steroids that even Hulk Hogan would voice his disapproval, and plenty of blood and gore. Between the game-changing Horde Mode to the revolutionary cover system, Gears of War has influenced nearly EVERY game on this list, and plenty others.
And with that, I conclude my Top 10 List for Xbox 360 Exclusives! Check back to CheatMasters for more of my lists, my impeccable charm, and outrageous abs! Also, please read my guides, reviews, and all that jazz. Or don’t. But if you don’t, well, if you don’t, I may just be out of a job. D:
And I have children to feed! And for some reason, they only eat money!
by Dalton “Horror Spooky” Cooper