With next generation gaming systems firmly entrenched underneath most of our television sets after a three year tenure, previous generation consoles have mostly been cast aside for either an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC gaming rig, Nintendo’s Wii U (in comparitively small numbers admittedly) or a varying combination of the above.
In this article I will be focusing on the aforementioned Xbox One system and exploring its current unique key selling point – disc based 360 backwards compatibility.
As stated, the fact that in many circumstances previous generation consoles may have been retired by their owners, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the desire to play older titles has diminished. This is exemplified by the clamouring and overall support of Xbox 360 backwards compatibility from Xbox One owners in particular.
So, without standing on ceremony any longer, here are my current top 5 favourite Xbox 360 / Xbox One backwards compatible titles.
Red Dead Redemption
If you haven’t heard of Rockstar’s epic sprawling western masterpiece, where have you been for the last six years?
Rightly heralded as one of the greatest games of all time by both players and critics alike. Red Dead Redemption is truly one of the greatest games ever made.
I won’t go into too much detail here as I conducted an in depth re-review (Red Dead Redemption – The R* Classic) previously, but needless to say, if you own an Xbox One then this is one backwards compatible title that you must possess.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Now, a pre-warning with this one. Condemned: Criminal Origins is a first person horror title that requires nerves of absolute steel.
A psychological thriller in every sense of the word, Condemned sees you playing as Agent Thomas, an investigator in the FBI’s Serial Crimes Unit (SCU). As Thomas the player is tasked with tracking down the notorious Match Maker serial killer; the hunt seeing your wits, reflexes and detective capabilities tested to the maximum throughout the games run time.
The eerie locations and twisted set-pieces throughout the game develop a true atmosphere and sense of dread, rivalled by only a few games on the 360 (Dead Space being another of note.)
Condemned may not be a long game, but it makes up for this shortfall with truly enjoyable, edge of your seat gameplay with a brilliant story arc about one mans obsession and eventual descent into madness.
If you haven’t picked up a copy yet then you really must. Although, be forewarned; you may not look at mannequins in the same way ever again.
Left 4 Dead 2
Valves frantically paced zombie shooter is an absolute masterpiece in co-op gaming. Requiring razor sharp reactions and a hardened resolve for the games most difficult sections, Left 4 Dead 2; much like its predecessor will always leave you wanting ‘just one more go.’
The Left 4 Dead series is a polar opposite to the methodical, tension led and atmospheric stylings of Condemned: Criminal Origins – as detailed above. However, that doesn’t detract from just how fun the game is, especially in co-operative multiplayer, a mode where Left 4 Dead 2 is at its frenetic best.
With the games servers still reasonably populated, finding a game mode to get stuck into with your vast array of zombie shredding weaponry is never too difficult; a testament to the games quality after almost 8 years.
Those with a nervous disposition, or a complete disdain for co-operative gameplay would be best off avoiding Left 4 Dead 2. However, for those who can acclimatise themselves to the fast-paced style of gunplay and teamwork emphasis running throughout could do far worse than to give this gem the attention that it so rightfully deserves.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The brilliant humour and satire presented by Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s ‘South Park’ TV show is ever-present here in this; the best South Park video game ever released.
Whereas previous South Park themed efforts have fallen flat in terms of animation, humour and capturing the spirit of the show, ‘The Stick of Truth’ absolutely nails every single aspect of what has made the show the long running cult hit that it is.
Taking on the role of ‘Douchebag’ (yes, your actual characters name) within a fantasy RPG themed setting and using a turn based combat game mechanic (a Final Fantasy lite if you will..) you’ll encounter all of the South Park characters and locations you know and love; alongside a fair chunk of the lewd humour and graphic (yet hilarious) imagery commonly associated with the show.
The Stick of Truth is most definitely a game for fans of the show, so if you dislike the source material, this title isn’t likely to convince you otherwise. But as a fan of the South Park brand, I’d recommend this in a heartbeat.
It should come as no surprise that the much loved and multi-award winning Portal 2 is my final pick for my top five best backwards compatible 360 releases available on the One.
The meticulously clever design of Portal 2 is evident within its first hour of play-time, with innovative puzzle construction; utilising the now famous Portal gun as a centerpeice of these sections, Portal 2 can be fiendishly taxing, but never too difficult to truly punish the player.
The praise doesn’t just stop with Portal’s brilliant level design and gameplay mechanics. A cracking cast including Stephen Merchant as the ever-present ‘Wheatley’, a character brimming with expert humour and wit is absolutely on point; a performance equalled by stellar voiceover performances and sound effects across the board.
If you haven’t already, take a look at Portal 2; I really cannot recommend it highly enough.
Honorable Mentions: Dead Space, Forza Horizon, Jet Set Radio, Soul Calibur II HD, Beyond Good & Evil HD
This completes my list for my top five best Xbox 360 titles available on the Xbox One. As always, this is an opinion based article and as such, I welcome your views on your favourite backwards compatible games.