Over the past few weeks we've taken an in-depth look at the PlayStation 3's exclusive software offering, the triumphant and a few slightly less so. This time we're focusing on Microsoft's Xbox 360, a console that benefited greatly from its first-move position this generation, gaining a number of third-party de facto exclusives as a result. What follows is our list of the top ten Xbox 360 exclusives titles - limited to full retail offerings, one entry per franchise, and listed in alphabetical order. What's that you say? Some of these titles can also be found on PC? While true, for the sake of examining the infinitely entertaining console arms race, these games will be placed in Microsoft's camp.
Alan Wake is a worthwhile experience. The premise draws you in and the fantastic atmosphere makes you want to see it through. Remedy did a great job implementing the light versus dark combat, but certain portions of the game could've easily been edited out, which would immensely improve the pacing. For the most part the presentation succeeds in creating an eerie, uneasy atmosphere, animations aside. Bottom line, I'm looking forward to more from this series.
Crackdown was one of the first games this console generation to show what a modern sandbox could truly do. It also helped popularize the addition of superhero aspects to the GTA formula, followed a few years later by Infamous, Prototype, and more. Orb collection became an iconic obsession that turned many unsuspecting gamers into achievement whores.
In a very similar way to Crackdown leading the superhero sandbox, Dead Rising helped create the zombie horde monster that is currently engulfing console gaming. This title capitalized on our inherent desire to kill as many undead as possible, with absurd, lethal combinations of everyday items found at your local mall. While the merits of the ever present ticking clock are debatable, and the save point could be frustrating, Dead Rising was a unique experience with more than its share of entertaining moments.
Fable II had a lot to live up to when it hit store shelves in the fall of 2008, as creator Peter Molyneux fueled his fame by making grand promises about what he hoped to achieve with Fable's HD debut. Improvement's to its predecessor's combat, morality and economic systems, all set within a colourful world of fascinating characters, made Fable II a worthy follow-up that delivered on several of Molyneux's grandiose ambitions.
Forza Motorsport 2
In the time it took Polyphony Digital to develop Gran Turismo 5, the hard working folks at Turn 10 were able to build the Forza Motorsport franchise and launch three iterations. Particularly of note, Forza 2's 360 debut brought with it innovations in car customization, physics and online play to the racing genre. With Gran Turismo now firmly back in contention, and a possible Kinect motion spin-off in the works, it will be interesting to see what direction the series takes going forward.
Gears of War
Gears of War was arguably the first game to show what high-definition graphics could truly achieve on consoles. It also popularized the snap-in cover mechanic, which has become a staple of third-person shooters. For those reasons alone, Gears' influence this generation is undeniable.
Gears of War's breakaway success briefly made it the 360's flagship software offering, but, as quickly as it came, it was replaced by the sight of Halo 3 on the horizon. Hype for Bungie's return was so great that access to the game's online beta likely drove the majority of Crackdown purchases. The conclusion of Master Chief's epic trilogy, addition of Forge and several multiplayer modes made the wait for Halo 3 well worth it.
Left 4 Dead
Valve's spectacular, co-op driven franchise has helped lead the zombie infestation currently engulfing the gaming industry. In an age when seemingly everything needs some kind of zombie mechanic, Left 4 Dead continues to set the gold standard. The action is frantic, AI intelligent, and co-op addictive.
Mass Effect has brought BioWare's mastery of role-playing games to a wider console audience. The series has also pushed player choice to the next level by incorporating choices made from the very beginning throughout Commander Shepard's trilogy. While the series has moved onto other platforms, the original worthwhile experience seems destined to stay exclusively on Xbox 360.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Another title that went through numerous delays and broad conceptual changes throughout its development cycle, Ubisoft Montreal's latest entry in the Splinter Cell series, Conviction, finally hit store shelves in the spring of 2010. Sam Fisher's return boasted a slick visual presentation and some streamlined combat elements, such as the 'mark and execute' mechanic, which favoured an action-oriented approach. Perhaps not a huge leap forward for the stealth genre, Conviction was an enjoyable experience and a solid foundation for future installments.
- Lost Odyssey
- Saints Row
- Viva Pinata