What are the ten best Xbox games to play now?

August 7, 2014


Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we profile Microsoft’s first console effort: the Xbox.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

While many consider Namco’s Ace Combat series to be the king of the flight combat games around this time, the Xbox version of Crimson Skies is a force to be reckoned with. Ported over from the PC and simplified with console controls in mind, this “dumbing down” of the arcade-style flight game actually made it more fun as a result, creating one of the most fast-paced flight games on a system without many other options. – Andrew Passafiume


Jet Set Radio Future

After Sega was forced to bow out of the hardware business, there was a brief period in which the creativity that was lavished over their Dreamcast-era titles carried over to new consoles. It didn’t last long, but we got some great games out of it: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Crazy Taxi 3, Super Monkey Ball and, of course, Jet Set Radio Future. The sequel to Sega’s off-the-wall graffiti skating game that made a splash on its final console, JSRF sticks to the formula of its predecessor while expanding on the game and making it much more playable in the process. Removing the level timers and letting you fight back against chasing police in particular went miles in removing the main problems with the original. The distinctive art style returns with just a bit more techno flair, and is absolutely compounded by the Xbox’s power, incorporating larger, busier environments that make the game world feel truly alive. – Chris Dominowski

Jade Empire

Jade Empire was BioWare’s first attempt at making an unlicensed RPG, as well as one that is almost entirely action-based, so hopes were high, but some people (including myself) had doubts. Thankfully, they managed to pull it off better than anyone could have expected, creating an experience that is unlike anything BioWare has done before and since. It contains all of the same BioWare tropes, including dialogue choices and a quest system that was reminiscent of their previous effort, Knights of the Old Republic. It all came together wonderfully and managed to set itself apart from most of the RPGs from the time (and the many Western RPGs to follow). – Andrew Passafiume


Steel Battalion

Is it a good game? Yeah, we’re not sure. What we do know is it’s the only game like it, and it probably always will be. From the monstrous controller to the intentionally-unintuitive actions and movements meant to simulate a real mechanical suit, Steel Battalion needs to be experienced to be understood, and it can only be experienced on an Xbox. (Just don’t pick up its Kinect-based 360 sequel.) – Graham Russell

Burnout 3: Takedown

It’s a real shame that the once-popular Burnout franchise has taken a long vacation after Paradise. There is still plenty to the formula that can be expanded or improved upon. Until that actually happens (assuming it ever does), Burnout 3 will keep you plenty busy. While the sequel, Revenge, is a lot of fun, Takedown is perhaps the best example of what made this series so fun in the first place. It has all of the best tracks, modes, and additional features you could want from a racing game. Even people who don’t typically enjoy racing games will find plenty to like here. – Andrew Passafiume


Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II

While we’ve seen a genre resurgence, the hack-and-slash co-op game has never really been better than it was in Dark Alliance II. Somehow, the generation-old game still looks great, and the minute-to-minute gameplay is a lot more crafted and a lot less here’s-a-bunch-of-random-quests than we’ve been getting lately. – Graham Russell

Panzer Dragoon Orta

After a handful of excellent releases on the Saturn, the Panzer Dragoon series made its triumphant return on the original Xbox with Orta, the title many consider to be the best in the series. It’s a gorgeous, vibrant game with excellent controls and some challenging, but fair levels. Few rail-shooters, past and present, can live up to this title’s high standards. Best of all, it still plays brilliantly today, and is easy to go back to thanks to its highly replayable nature. – Andrew Passafiume


Metal Wolf Chaos

Where do I even start with this one? This is probably the most insane idea for a game that has ever been played straight. It’s a Japanese-only Xbox exclusive where you play as the president of the United States piloting a mecha suit armed with every weapon under the sun, going to take out the treasonous vice president’s army. On top of that, Metal Wolf Chaos is certainly one of the best stupid-fun games on the Xbox. The joy of blowing up anything that moves is sure to warm the hearts of any mecha fan. The absolutely absurd engrish dialogue doesn’t hurt in establishing an unintentionally ludicrous atmosphere. – Chris Dominowski

TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

We may never see another TimeSplitters game again, and that is one of the biggest tragedies in the industry. The good news is that the last game, Future Perfect, is still one of the best shooters you can play today, even if it is fairly dated. The multiplayer options are amazing and even with the lack of functioning online play there is plenty of content to keep you busy for months. Also, playing with a full four-player splitscreen match with friends and a bunch of bots will never get old, especially if you turn on explosive weapons only. Trust me on this one. There are very few shooters from this generation that can be recommended more than this classic. – Andrew Passafiume


Dai Senryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics

The Dai Senryaku series is a long-running one in Japan, but it rarely makes an appearance in the West. That’s a shame, since it does a valiant effort of replicating the experience you’d usually find in games like Advance Wars and Military Madness. The gameplay also ages well, as it didn’t even particularly feel modern at its release. It’s something different, yet accessible, for strategy fans, and definitely worth a look. – Graham Russell