Monday, June 13, 2011

Top 10 Best Xbox Games

#10 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 9.3
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action
Release Date: October 28, 2003
We'll admit that the single-player campaign isn't particularly unique or as compelling as Ninja Gaiden and Halo, but the multiplayer more than makes up for anything the solo-campaign lacks. Few games ever captivate the attention of IGN editors, but Rainbow Six 3 swept up the entire staff and had all of us playing late into the night for months. With new maps still being released, there's plenty Rainbow Six 3 to discover long after its initial release. Of all the Top 10 games, Rainbow Six 3 garnered the most argument among the IGNXbox crew. It was a close, close battle between Rainbow Six 3 and Jet Set Radio Future, but it was impossible to ignore how enthralled the office was with Ubisoft's shooter and in the end it won out (deservingly) over Sega's quirky action-platformer.

 #9 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow 9.5
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action
Release Date: March 23, 2004
Konami's Metal Gear series has been the undisputed stealth-action champion and no game every really came close to matching the AI or move-set of Solid Snake. That changed with Ubisoft's introduction of Sam Fisher and Splinter Cell. The sequel, Pandora Tomorrow, raised the bar, adding some new moves to Fisher's repertoire, limiting the tearing in the single-player game, and adding a very unique multiplayer mode. Though the single-player campaign may feel more like an update on the original and less of a true sequel, the Xbox Live functionality can't be denied as innovative and even daring. Players choose to be either Spies or Mercenaries. Each group has not only completely different moves, equipment, and objectives, but Spies play in third-person and Mercs play from a realistic first-person view. Challenging and quite different from any other Xbox Live game, Pandora Tomorrow has a ton of staying power and has managed to supplant Rainbow Six 3 as the Xbox Live game of choice for late night jam sessions.

#8 Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge 9.1
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
Genre: Action
Release Date:  October 20, 2003
The air combat genre is a tough one to crack. But the re-imagined PC game on Xbox without a doubt brought gamers a calamity of blazing action, solid story, and online competition and a great, wide-open sense of arcade flying that's simply hard to put down. As one of the top Xbox games of 2003, Crimson Skies is a big, deep GTA-style flying game fashioned with a sort of 1930s Indiana Jones story that's more of a shooter and an adventure game than anything else. The game's reward system constantly provides a slew of new airplanes that blend in challenge to the rather easy flying crafts, and the Saturday-afternoon adventure-style tone carries players through a fantastical array of landscapes in which an impressive cast of enemy crafts take players on full steam. The best part is, once you're done with the single-player game, the online experience will easily carry you for months. Sure, this is a completely different experience than the PC version (different flight controls, mission structure and no plane customization), but it's still a whopper of a game, and a must-have on Xbox.

#7 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 9.6
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: November 18, 2003
Although Prince of Persia has its share of faults (brevity, low replay value and few puzzles), Ubisoft Montreal's strikingly beautiful game is an artistic achievement in animation, and a thoroughly enticing and masterful blend of platform, action and adventure genres that designers and non-designers alike adore. The game's high production values and smartly designed level designs are engaging and cleverly executed and everything is handled with a sense of poise and adroitness. Also, most importantly, if you were to own a version of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, the Xbox version tops all other versions with top graphics, Dolby support and online connectivity. Check our Head-to-Head if you don't believe us.

#6 Grand Theft Auto Double Pack 9.4
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar North (formerly DMA)
Genre: Action-Adventure
Release Date:  November 4, 2003
The controversial series that pushed the PlayStation 2 to unprecedented heights of popularity finally made its way to Microsoft's system in fall 2003. The great thing? First, it actually was on Xbox. Second, each game is easily 80-plus hours to beat (and that's not even attaining 100%). And finally, for the price of one game, players got both Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City bundled together, each one enhanced with significant graphic upgrades and rippable, customizable music (so you can basically create your own radio station). Yes, they both a felt little late, a little second-hand, since they launched on the rival system, but the open-style gameplay, modern themes, fantastic arcade playability, fantastic sense of style and panache, and the unprecedented sound tracks for each are just the frosting on the cake. Both GTA games give players some of the best gameplay experiences of this generation. If you own an Xbox, you need to own the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack .

#5 NBA Street Vol. 2 9.4
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Canada
Genre: Sports
Release Date:  April 28, 2003
No doubt EA's NBA Street inherited much of its "game" from NBA Jam, but instead of just copying the style and adding new jerseys, EA did things right, turning out a fresh and new, challenging and deep game, with a distinct style all its own. NBA Street, Vol. 2's roster of players comprises both fictional Street Legends and real NBA players, it's got contemporary superstars, and old-school stars from way back, too. The single-player game is super deep, and the multi-player game rocks. Its only weakness is that's it's not online. But EA Canada's ability to compose superb rim physics (giving the game all sorts of fresh rebound action), fantastical passing and the humiliating gamebreaker function into a unique whole has made this franchise one of the all-time great arcade basketball games, and a must-have title on Xbox.

#4 Project Gotham Racing 2 9.5
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Genre: Racing
Release Date: November 17, 2003
Originally a Sega property known as Metropolis Street Race, Project Gotham has never left its roots as an arcade racer. What's changed is the amazing detail in the various city streets you charge down in over 200 different cars. Though the in-game soundtrack leaves something to be desired, PGR 2 makes full use of custom soundtracks, allowing gamers to swap in their favorite racing tunes. The Kudos system, where drivers earn points of slides, catching air, and passing opponents, was never fully-realized in previous iterations of the series, but PGR 2 finally got it right, adding plenty of incentive to not only drive well, but to drive cool at the same time. All this is nifty, but it's the addition of Xbox Live play that kicks this slick racer into the upper-echelon of racing titles. If the deep single-player mode isn't enough, there's an endless supply of wheel-jockeys online looking to put pedal to the metal. Now toss in the addictive original mini-game Geometry Wars, and you see why this one managed to vault ahead of some of the stiff competition.

#3 Ninja Gaiden 9.4
Publisher: Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja
Genre: Action
Release Date: March 2, 2004
Though only recently released, Ninja Gaiden has already become an action classic. The first 3D version of Itagaki's popular Ninja Gaiden series, there are few areas where developer Team Ninja fails to amaze. A 20-hour experience, Ninja Gaiden raises the stake with each successive level, adding new elements that stave off any feeling of repetitiveness. Though it stumbles slightly with a rather tedious swimming chapter, the rest of Ninja Gaiden is worthy of all its praise. Every ninja needs a weapon and our hero Ryu has over a half-dozen at his disposal, each with its own characteristics and unique combos, making weapons more like individual characters than a random collection of killing apparatus. Already a long game by today's action game standards, there is still the Master Ninja Tournament, held on Xbox Live, to extend the lifespan of Gaiden through the summer. In the end, it's this high because cutting off heads has never been so much unabashed fun.

#2 Knights of the Old Republic 9.5
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: BioWare Corp.
Genre: RPG
Release Date: July 15, 2003
RPGs and quality Star Wars games have always been in short supply on Xbox, but BioWare changed all of that with Knights of the Old Republic. Taking place a long time ago, before any of the Lucas Star Wars films, KOTOR allowed gamers to choose to walk either the Dark or Light path and literally decide the fate of the universe. Mixing real-time and turn-based combat, an incredibly deep storyline, and thousands of lines of dialogue, KOTOR delivered one of the greatest RPG experiences of all time. It would be foolish not to include it in any top 10 list and was close to unseating Halo as the top 'box game to date. Few games can combine graphics, sound, and gameplay into an epic story, but KOTOR did, earning the distinction of the best non-Japanese RPG of all time.

#1 Halo: Combat Evolved 9.7
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie Studios
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date:  November 9, 2001
There are many amazing things about Halo, but perhaps one of the most genuinely one of them all is the amount of pure hype it's garnered since it was originally shown to the public. Long before Halo's release (and back then, the question was, which system?), it was all hype. When it was released, Microsoft did a spectacular job of marketing it, and gamers bought it in droves. Now, long after it hit shelves and won game of the year awards, Bungie Studios' all-encompassing first-person shooter still stands as the benchmark by which all other first-person shooters are measured. Touch¿, Goldeneye . Halo was, and still is, a spectacular game for many reasons. It's our top Xbox game because it does so many things so well and so right. The game is story-driven, and it's pure science fiction too boot, perfect for the gameplaying public. The story is incorporated divinely into the game itself taking sharp tips from Valve's venerable Half-Life, but keeps the action level even higher. The game is presented with well-made cutscenes and a superb amount of pure blasting action throughout its entirety, so players rarely feel a lull, giving them all sorts of new wrinkles on how to play a FPS. You could only carry two weapons at a time, you could get into vehicles and drive them like in no other first-person shooter, and you could pick up any weapon at any time from aliens and humans alike. There are dozens of other little things that make Halo and extraordinary ride ranging from the voices of the aliens, to the mysterious Halo itself, to the awesome co-op mode and the 16-play multiplayer capabilities.
Looking back on Halo, it clearly has its faults. The levels are linear, the pacing occasionally does get on one's nerves, and it could be said that playing through the game in reverse at its end is cheap and repetitive. But all that said, Halo ushered in a new level of comprehensiveness and finesse to a genre that's constantly being reinvented, and it stands atop the heap, illuminated, bronzed and unmatched. Even though it launched in fall 2001, Halo has yet to be topped on Xbox in 2004.

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