Goodbye old friend, and thanks for all the good times. Yes, Microsoft has announced that production on the Xbox 360 is to be discontinued, after a glorious 10 year run.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed in a blog post that gamers had put in more than 78 billion hours of play on the devices, and it’s not hard to see why – The Xbox 360 was home to some of the greatest games of the generation (and all time). To send off our faithful companion in style, here are ten incredible games that summed up the Xbox 360.
Eight years later, and Mirror’s Edge is still an absolutely amazing looking game. Just look at it. Look! But don’t look directly at it, because it might melt your eyes.
My point is that it’s a pretty game, okay? But a game ain’t nothing without the gameplay to back it up, and thankfully Mirror’s Edge does not disappoint. You take control of Faith, a kickass free runner in a dystopian city. This leads to all manner of breathtaking set pieces in which you leap across buildings, dodge gunfire down narrow corridors, and run. Oh, how you’ll run.
Mirror’s Edge took the ludicrous notion of fast paced first person platforming and nailed it.
Gears Of War 3
It seems ludicrous now, but there was a time where the mention of cover based shooting games didn’t make me roll my eyes with such force that they shot out the back of my skull.
Gears of War 3 was the perfect culmination of a trilogy of adventures that redefined the modern shooter. Battles were tense and challenging, set pieces were epic, and tearing enemies apart with your Lancer chainsaw attachment never got old.
Let’s also not forget the flawless online multiplayer that complemented the emotionally charged story. Not many games can boast a single player mode that’s every bit as brilliant as its multiplayer.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Whatever your opinion on the direction the Call of Duty franchise has moved in in recent years (and I’m all too aware that it’s mostly negative), even the most fervent naysayers out there cannot deny that Call of Duty 4 got everything so damn right.
Like Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare offers an unmissable story (that fucking ending) as well as a multiplayer mode that was near impossible to put down once you’d be absorbed by its world – even if your mum’s sex life was called in to question by every 12 year old you met online.
Genuinely challenging, endlessly addictive, and seamless in blending gameplay with a gripping yarn. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the dogs bollocks.
Fallout 3 remains the firm favourite among many fans of the franchise, and it’s not difficult to see why. Bethesda took hold of the post apocalyptic role playing game and brought it to life in spectacular fashion.
Unlike large segments of Fallout 4, Fallout 3 kept the spirit of the original games in that you could approach any challenge in a number of ways. At no point did you ever really have to shoot your way out of a situation if you were smart enough, but alternatively you could slaughter everyone you met. Your call, buddy.
Can’t forget the massive open world to explore, the cast of unforgettable characters packed within it, and the ridiculous amount of secrets to find and enemies to be murdered by. Oh, and Liam Neeson.
Mass Effect Trilogy
This definitely isn’t cheating, okay? You can get all three Mass Effect games in a single box for Xbox 360, and there really isn’t any excuse not to pick it up and experience three of the greatest games ever in one package. Also I do something similar later on in the article, so learn to be okay with it now.
Create your very own Commander Shepard, and have a completely different 100 hour experience to your mate who already played it. Go on a galaxy spanning adventure, epic in scale but personal in scope. Fuck, fight, fly across the universe meeting some of the coolest characters ever to pop in a game.
And when you’re done, go back and do it all again.
Red Dead Redemption
There’s a very good reason that we’ve all been desperate for a sequel since the credits rolled on Rockstar’s open world Western adventure – Red Dead Redemption is a fucking amazing game.
Rockstar managed to build one of the most believable and rewarding game worlds ever seen in a videogame. Our hero is a genuinely intriguing protagonist with plenty of moral grey, as opposed to your boring straight cut superman. Sidequests were plentiful, and combat and exploration were nothing less than a delight.
In short, the world of Red Dead Redemption is one that we’re all dying to return to as soon as we can. Make it happen, Rockstar.
What can I even say about Skyrim that hasn’t been said a hundred times before?
Simply put, Bethesda managed to create one of the greatest games of all time. The world of Skyrim was ridiculously large, filled with mountains, swamps, dragons, cities, monsters, secret tombs, ancient ruins, dragons, jarls, quests, treasure, magic, caves, forests, frozen wastes, more quests, and yet more dragons.
A lot of gamers boast of putting in over 700 hours of their time into this game, and that’s because there’s genuinely more than that in terms of content. Only the intensely dedicated will see all that Skyrim has to offer.
Halo 3 managed to make Halo 2’s God awful cliffhanger worth the wait. That’s how good a game Halo 3 is.
Bungie really finished off their beloved Halo trilogy in style, sticking with everything that made their groundbreaking FPS work, while adding in a ton of cracking new features. The idea of teaming Master Cheif up with the Arbiter for the campaign was the stuff of Buddy Cop movie dreams.
The multiplayer meanwhile, was an absolute blast both online and off.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V is a masterclass in world building and game design. It goes way, way beyond what is expected of a videogame and crafts a rich, detailed world packed with life and things to do.
Think of GTA V as less of a game and more of virtual playground where you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you like. You wanna kick back with a round of golf? Cool. Ride off a mountain on a motorbike? Great! Go on a killing spree downtown with a shotgun? Wouldn’t recommend it in real life, but you’re good to go here my friend.
GTA V deserved every ounce of success it got, and considering it also came bundled with the equally insane GTA Online, it’s one of the definitive titles for Xbox 360.
The Orange Box
Yes, The Orange Box isn’t just one game – it’s a collection of some truly fantastic Valve titles that made it an essential Xbox 360 purchase.
What’s in it? For one thing, it’s got the entirety of Half Life 2, one of the greatest first-person shooters of all time. There’s also multiplayer powerhouse Team Fortress 2, guaranteed to gobble up hours of your time, and Portal, one of the most inventive puzzle games of the last decade.
In terms of value for money, variety, and sheer quality The Orange Box is pretty much unbeatable – Much like the Xbox 360 itself.
After 10 years, with over 85 million units sold, 78 billion hours of gameplay and 486 billion Gamerscore on 27 billion achievements, the Xbox 360 was undeniably a truly incredible console -and it’s earned a good long rest.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.