Xbox 360/One Backwards Compatibility Must-Haves!
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The Simpsons Game
This irreverent spoof of the video game industry with America's favorite animated family as the main characters still holds up after almost a decade. With interesting upgradable abilities, self-referential cutscenes, and loving pokes at popular games and industry techniques, no collection, especially backwards compatibility, is complete without it!
Assassin's Creed Rogue
This side-title to be used as a lead-in to Assassin's Creed Unity is the last title made for Xbox 360, and offers something truly unique: A Templar protagonist fighting against an evil and corrupted Assassin. This flipping dynamic helps to challenge your preconceived notions of right and wrong in this universe, with continuing solid gameplay and visuals. A must-have!
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
With a Golden Age of Piracy-based backdrop, a protagonist that one cannot help but love to hate in terms of moral compass, and truly stunning ship-based combat, this game marks the absolute peak of the series, and still holds up to an incredibly high standard visually on the Xbox 360. One should not have to upgrade to Xbox One for this.
Assassin's Creed Liberation HD
This intriguing Xbox Live spin-off title grips you into the story of Aveline, an Assassin who is a French and African mixed-blood, and a deadly assassin based in the bayous of Louisiana. An absolute must-have for backwards compatibility.
Assassin's Creed III
First entry in the Americas Saga, with a truly gripping and sympathetic Native American warrior joining the Assassins at the dawn of the American Revolution, and the conclusion of Desmond Miles' journey. Provides the most powerful 21st century gameplay ever in the entire series, and intriguing additions with a new parkour-based movement system. Indeed, this is truly an essential title.
Assassin's Creed Revelations
The conclusion to Ezio's arc brings everything to a head and provides necessary answers to understanding the First Civilization and the Assassin-Templar conflict. Truly a must-have!
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
This continuation to the already compatible Assassin's Creed II continues Ezio's quest for identity and justice, and Desmond's search for the meaning behind the First Civilization. With additional swimming and ship-based combat, it is truly a sight to behold, and necessary for completionists and fans.
Assassin's Creed (Original)
The game that launched a juggernaut series and introduced gamers to the war between Assassins and Templars, and the character and ancestry of Desmond Miles. It launched a whole new genre of games, and set an incredible standard to follow. Necessary as a completionist set with Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Syndicate for Xbox One
Devil May Cry 4
This game works not only as a continuation of the landmark series, but as a standalone piece. Combining the gameplay and style of Kingdom Hearts with the mature depth and dark emotionality of an Anne Rice novel, this game is indeed needed for all collections!
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
The final story in Lightning Farron's character arc brings the trilogy to a moving and satisfying conclusion, with a special time added/lost incentive to ensure that you are fully invested in the story. Truly an integral part of the backwards compatibility program.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
This title adds shades of Christopher Nolan's filmography to an established series, and works as a legitimate stepping stone to the explosive finale of this trilogy. A true must-have for any gamer.
Final Fantasy XIII
This dark and emotional addition to the Final Fantasy series remains a cornerstone game, one that officially rewrote the rules of the series and set a high standard to follow. With the trademark gripping storyline and compelling and sympathetic characters, it remains a necessary part of all gamers' collections.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
This game works as a perfect companion to the Wii-only exclusive game that brought Mickey Mouse into a compelling desolate land, and was a nifty introduction to bring back the forlorn and long-lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit back into the Disney fold. The co-op mode that allows Mickey and Oswald to fight side by side remains as powerful and moving as ever.
Peter Jackson's King Kong
This launch title for the Xbox 360 is an interesting complement to the 2005 remake of a beloved classic. With an experience that is vastly different from the film, along with great visuals and the full cast, this game is a necessary addition to one's collection. Plus, the mix of FPS combat and third-person control as the might Kong remains a potent mix.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Full disclosure: this game is absolute shit. It fails as an FPS title, as a survival horror game, and as a promised "true sequel" to Aliens (though with Neill Blomkamp's planned film, we may yet get that). Horrible AI, subpar graphics, awfully-rendered characters, an implausible plot and wooden acting drag this game down completely. However, this game is needed as a completionist set with Alien: Isolation, and because it must be experienced to be believed. The trainwreck effect gives one a sense of ironic enjoyment, and leaves one to ponder how this came to be.
Aliens vs. Predator (2010)
While AvP continues its trend of not making any logical sense in being connected with the brilliance of Alien and Aliens, this game is a satisfying FPS experience, with the choice of 3 campaigns: to play as an Alien/Xenomorph, a Predator, or a Colonial Marine, and the chance to see how all 3 are connected to the same story. A needed addition, particular with the surprise hit of Alien: Isolation for Xbox One.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
This mix of prequel and sequel to the previous game is an ambitious entry in the series, with the addition of Australian cinema and comedy's flair, including many Mad Max references. This title is an absolutely needed entry for the experience.
For those who don't wish to own The Handsome Collection for Xbox One, this game continues exactly where its predecessor left off. Its madcap humor, retrofuturistic twis, and cel-shaded animation to the gunplay continue to make this a necessary part of the backwards compatibility program.
A necessary addition to fit in the collection along with Wolfenstein 3D on Steam or Xbox Live, Return to Castle Wolfenstein on Steam, and the follow ups of Wolfenstein: The New Order/The Old Blood for Xbox One. While admittedly the weakest entry in the series, this chapter in the saga of BJ Blazkowicz and his fight against the evil Nazi mad genius Deathshead is necessary in order to understand the later entries. Its mix of the supernatural and Nazi-killing rampages are a satisfying addition to one's collection.
Duke Nukem Forever
While admittedly nowhere near the level of sheer brilliance and perfection as the legendary Duke Nukem 3D (long loading times and inconsistent textures chief among the main problems), this long-in-the-works sequel is still a solid and enjoyable game, especially if taken on its own accord. With humorous piss-takes on modern FPS conventions and the snappy one-liners of Duke, this game is a great escape for those who want to relive the glory days of FPS violence for the sake of violence.
With input by the legendary writer and director John Milius, this admitted update and homage to Red Dawn renders the idea of a United States conquered by North Korean invasion and the beginnings of a revolution to topple them with incredible emotional impact, so that even the most dedicated liberals and pacifists will get great enjoyment of this title, especially as a completionist set with the upcoming sequel for Xbox One.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
A perfect continuation of the previous title, with script input by actual Navy SEAL team and Tier 1 operatives, taking in elements of actual missions of the War on Terror. While the plot may seem a bit rote, the gameplay and environments remain as sharp and accessible as ever. FPS fans are sure to be pleased!
Medal of Honor (2010)
The first non WWII-based title in the Medal of Honor series, the early days of the War in Afghanistan are brought to compelling and enticing light, putting you in the shoes of those Tier 1 operatives who did the most dangerous work in those mountain ranges. This game is highly recommended for all!
Medal of Honor: Airborne
The first Medal of Honor title for Xbox 360, Airborne introduced a nonlinear element of choosing your deployment position, with intriguing and different enemy AI, whose reactions are contingent with your position, and the choice to achieve your objectives in whatever manner you so choose. An absolute must!
The last Battlefield title made with the Xbox 360 in mind wants for nothing, especially as an indirect continuation of the events of 3. Sympathetic and gripping characters, expansive levels, and solid gameplay experience shows this is a highly recommended title for backwards compatibility.
The first main entry in the series in 6 years, this game proved it could easily stand toe-to-toe with Call of Duty's Modern Warfare trilogy in offering an intriguing and emotionally gripping storyline and experience. The replay value still remains high after all this time.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2-Vietnam
This Vietnam War-based DLC brought that era to life in a game like never before. Without a doubt the closest any FPS title has gotten to getting this period right and in glorious color. A white-knuckle ride that you'll want to relive over and over.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Bad Company 2 managed to perfectly build on its predecessor and set the bar for future titles in the Battlefield series. An expansive environment rendered with a powerful engine and natural gameplay, along with the continuation of the campy fun, made for an excellent game experience.
Battlefield: Bad Company
Notable for its humor and "F-Troop" style setting, Bad Company manages to mix solid and satisfying squad strategy combat with good-natured camaraderie and campy tension relief, showing that even with an admittedly ridiculous set up, the game lacked for nothing. It was also the perfect debut of DICE's Frostbite engine. A must-have for all fans!
An Xbox Live title focused entirely on the Pacific theater was a perfect choice. Experiencing battles like Wake Island, Midway and Guadalcanal first-hand made for an amazing experience, and is also a necessary addition.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
The first Battlefield title for Xbox 360 and a perfect launch title, this game made players experience both sides of a conflict, and ultimately choose which one to have win in the end. While admittedly the weakest entry in the series, it still remains solid and powerful fun, and is necessary for completion's sake with Hardline and the upcoming Battlefield 5.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Despite an underwhelming and cliché-ridden main villain, Ghosts was an incredibly solid and satisfying entry in the series. The last game specifically made with Xbox 360 in mind pushed the visual capacity to its limit and remained as breathtakingly beautiful as before. The introduction of underwater and interspace combat made this a truly breathtaking experience, and is a must have, especially for completion's sake. One should not have to upgrade to Xbox One to experience it.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Black Ops II was the perfect pickup point for its predecessor's storyline, and introduced quasi-realistic futuristic weaponry to the equation. In addition, the chance of multiple branching paths to influence the ending proved a popular choice for people to endlessly talk about and consider the implications of each one, encouraging people to choose differently with each playthrough.
Call of Duty: World at War
The final World War II-based title said goodbye to that era with a bang. Including the Pacific theater for the first time, and creating the most intriguing and powerful Russian campaign in the series proved a win-win for all involved. Of course this was merely the warmup to Black Ops, the title that truly changed all expectations in the Call of Duty series as a whole.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Though some complained about the game as overreaching and trying too hard to be epic, especially with Sledgehammer Games having to prove itself by finishing Infinity Ward's work, the conclusion to the Modern Warfare trilogy brought this series to a satisfying finish, with gameplay and settings only all the more interesting and powerful. It of course made people wonder what Infinity Ward would do for their next title.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
The sequel to the game-changing title by Infinity Ward only continued all the amazing progress that had been made. In addition to continuing its movie reference and homage-heavy style, it also served as a perfect continuation of the storyline that had been established, only building up excitement for the conclusion of the trilogy.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
A gamble that many industry insiders were unsure would pay off. Moving firmly into the 21st century did not dull the experience that fans of the series had come to expect, and built a true, suspenseful storyline to be involved in and characters to actually care about concerning their fate. The nuclear blast in "Shock and Awe" alone still makes this a necessary addition to the roster.
Call of Duty 3
3 was Treyarch's entry into the series proper, and they did not disappoint with this title. The brutality of the Normandy campaign was brought to full froth, with nothing left out. This title was only a hint of what was to come.
Call of Duty 2
The follow up the original game exceeded all expectations in every manner. With getting a chance to experience the brutal North African campaign among the highlights, 2 built on the legacy of its predecessor, and remains a must-have among gamers today!
Call of Duty Classic
The 2003 original that started the juggernaut series, transferred to an impeccable Xbox Live title. While the graphics may not seem that impressive compared to the later titles, the gameplay remains exactly as you know, except without sprinting and health packs instead of regeneration. The campaign is still as solid as ever, and is necessary as a completionist set with the confirmed to be compatible Black Ops, and the experience of Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III for Xbox One.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
This reinvention of the classic 1997 Nintendo 64 title manages to bring the story up to the standards of modern James Bond while keeping very true and respectful to the source material. Some may complain about it being made to keep with modern FPS tropes, but it is an absolutely solid experience, that will also encourage people to check out the original more often.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
This standalone Xbox Live title is a retrofuturistic spoof of '80s sci-fi titles, complete with ridiculous plots, wooden acting, great big guns and erotic tension! A rip-roaring good time, and a must-have for fans of all types.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3's storyline remains the most gripping of all the titles, that call into question the player's own moral compass. Traps, tricks, and mesmerizing visuals will continue enthrall generations to come, especially if made backwards compatible.
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 continued from its predecessor's standard for innovation. With a brand new story and setting perfectly befitting these advances, the second title remains a massive hit, and needed for any completionist!
Far Cry Classic
An Xbox Live title steeped in history. The original Far Cry brought GTA-sandbox gaming to the FPS, and encouraged people to take different routes to achieve their objectives with every playthrough. An absolute necessity with any and all plans to have a completionist set with Far Cry 4 and Far Cry Primal.
Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC Games
This prequel to one of the most enjoyable FPS games of all time doesn't disappoint. This Xbox Live title shows what led to Sam "Serious" Stone using the Time Lock to begin his journey to defeat the alien menace known as Mental. Your typical "Big meathead with really big guns" story is set amongst some incredibly detailed Egyptian environments, and lovingly pokes fun at modern military shooters in the beginning. An absolute necessity.
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter - PC Games
This expansion to the first title picks up exactly where it left off. With slight cues taken from the cult classic film Army of Darkness, Serious Sam is able to reek his devastation upon the Mayan civilization, ancient Mesopotamia and Medieval Europe. All Serious Sam fans need this title.
Serious Sam: The First Encounter - PC Games
The game that started it all. A glorious throwback FPS title in the Duke Nukem mold. This Xbox Live title includes the chance to see ancient Egyptian monuments and fighting a rogues' gallery of alien monsters. This game still holds up after almost 15 years, and is a must have for all FPS fans.
Stymied in development hell for 11 years, this game was well worth the wait. A unique experience unlike any other, Prey featured mind-bending visuals, implausible gravity, portals before they were cool, and a stirring plot of redemption and sacrifice with a Native American protagonist. This still holds up perfectly after a decade, and is necessary for any and all backwards compatible collection.
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Since November 2015, Microsoft has been slowly making Xbox 360 games backwards compatible with the Xbox One, with plans for an eventual library of 400 games. With progress proceeding slowly, here are games that are perfectly deserving of this treatment.
(Disclosure alert: This is based upon items in my personal library, and are games that have not been made or been confirmed to be made compatible as of this writing).
(Disclosure alert: This is based upon items in my personal library, and are games that have not been made or been confirmed to be made compatible as of this writing).
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