5 Games That Defined the Xbox 360

Written by on    

We’ve all heard the news by now that Microsoft are ceasing production of the (10 year old) Xbox 360 system. There’s no denying that this console was a juggernaut in its day, and it reigned supreme for the majority of its console generation (in terms of popularity and performance).

Some incredible games were first seen on the Xbox 360 console, and some of these games defined the platform. So here’s a list of 5 games that most certainly defined the Xbox 360.

Gears of War is a definitive Xbox 360 game

Gears of War

I remember my jaw dropping when I first caught a glimpse of Gears of War in motion. At that point there wasn’t a game that looked and ran as good as Gears of War on a console. I was stubborn back then and wanted to find reasons not to buy an Xbox 360, and get a PlayStation 3 instead, but with games like this, the console was just too difficult to ignore.

Gears of War had a revolutionary cover system that was mimicked in many following titles. Sure the snap-in snap-out cover system may have been seen before Gears of War, but EPIC perfected the system and utilized it in a way that made the gameplay fun and frantic. The excellent story-telling and horror aspects also made this a hard to miss title, and you could only get the experience on one console.

Bioshock defined the Xbox 360


When Bioshock released it was such an original experience that it demanded recognition. It released on other consoles much later but Bioshock was exclusive to the Xbox 360 for a long time and provided yet another reason why you NEEDED to own this system. This is the game that made our Editor-in-chief Richard Bailey cave and buy the system.

Bioshock had a great setting, great characters (Would you kindly?) and great storytelling which diversified the Xbox 360’s lineup nicely.

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare was huge for the Xbox 360

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4 was the title that made the online shooter craze mainstream, and let’s be real, the Xbox Live platform was the flagship destination for this. Everybody who took their online play seriously around this time owned an Xbox 360.

Features like Cross-game chat contributed heavily to this, but Activision’s instant gratification formula helped shape the entire generation and this game essentially spearheaded it. It was certainly the most balanced Call of Duty online game of the generation, and many still celebrate the title to this day.

Mass Effect was revolutionary on Xbox 360

Mass Effect

This was the game that made me bite the bullet, and along with Gears of War 2, it was my first Xbox 360 game. I was already a hardcore RPG gamer at the time but I had never played one with such intense decision making. Bioware were masters of weaving all elements together to create a masterpiece. With RPG elements, exploration, in-depth storytelling and customization, this game had everything I could ever want in a game. I remember beating this game at least 10 times just to get everything out of the experience that I could (and simply just because I wanted to keep replaying it over and over).

Though its sequels were multi-platform, the original Mass Effect didn’t hit the PlayStation 3 until late in the generation (as part of a collection), so this game was certainly one of the definitive games of the Xbox 360’s legacy.

Halo 3 was gigantic on the Xbox

Halo 3

You can’t speak on any Xbox system without mentioning a Halo game. Though it wasn’t my personal favourite Halo game, Halo 3 came at a time when everyone was itching to continue the story, and it delivered on its promise by giving fans exactly what they wanted.

Many studios have tried to replicate the Halo formula, but only Halo itself held it together in a way that would have droves of people queueing up at midnight to get in on the action. This game single-handedly sold hundreds of thousands of Xbox 360’s.

Alan Wake is a slept on 360 game

Honorable Mention: Alan Wake

Perhaps one of the most underrated exclusives, and arguably one of the most original, Alan Wake was another diversifying exclusive for the platform. Xbox 360 had quickly developed a stigma of being the “shooter console”, so games like Alan Wake needed to exist to ensure there were enough experiences for ever type of gamer. Alan Wake was far from a put-together game though. It was an intense thriller that has left many with a thirst for more, even to this day. Maybe now that Remedy has put out Quantum Break they’ll grace us with with a sequel.

Blue Dragon for Xbox 360

What did we miss?

Do you think this list is missing something? Do you think it’s all wrong? If so then keep the discussion alive by letting us know which games defined the Xbox 360 platform for you. Just drop your comments below and we’ll discuss it on an upcoming podcast.

Also check out Tony Polanco’s “Tony’s Take” which looks back on the Xbox 360.

About The Author
Gary A. Swaby Co-founder/UK Managing Editor
Leave A Comment