The best original Xbox games continue to shine even today. In 2001, Microsoft entered the home console market with a bang, introducing a powerful alternative to Sony’s PS2 and Nintendo’s GameCube. The Xbox quickly gained a reputation for its innovative first-person shooters, high-speed racing games, intense action experiences, and captivating RPGs. Below, we present the top 25 original Xbox games of all time.
25. Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding (2001)
Developer: Access Software
Amped offers a grounded snowboarding experience, focusing on open-ended gameplay that lets you carve your path down the mountains. Its emphasis on exploration, hidden secrets, and perfecting stunts sets it apart.
24. Steel Battalion (2002)
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This mech-focused game shipped with a massive 40-button controller, providing an immersive experience. Players wrestled with complex controls while navigating their Vertical Tanks, and the demanding gameplay made it a standout title.
23. Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth (2005)
Developer: Headfirst Productions
A malevolent take on HP Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” this survival horror game offers linear gameplay filled with memorable setpieces and clever damage mechanics. It’s a creepy adventure that lingers in your mind.
22. Forza Motorsport (2005)
Developer: Turn 10
Microsoft’s answer to Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport impressed with realistic physics, a broad car selection, extensive customization options, and a challenging career mode. While its online aspect is no longer active, the career mode still shines.
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21. Fable: The Lost Chapters (2005)
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Despite not living up to lofty claims, Fable captivated players with its rich world, choices, and engaging adventure. The Lost Chapters version is the way to experience Peter Molyneux’s ambitious RPG on original hardware.
20. Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30 (2005)
Developer: Gearbox Software
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This WW2 game stands out by placing players in command of two teams of ordinary soldiers, emphasizing strategy over all-out assault. Its believable characters and strong narration elevate it above other shooters.
19. Metal Wolf Chaos (2004)
In this bonkers mech game, you play as the President of the United States, unleashing destruction on a massive scale. It’s fast-paced and fluid, offering arcade-style thrills and countless weapon options.
18. Jade Empire (2005)
From the creators of Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire combines RPG elements with real-time combat, choice-driven gameplay, and a romantic subplot. It’s a captivating RPG that deserved a sequel.
17. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath (2005)
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants
Stranger’s Wrath blends first-person action with inventive gameplay and a dark ecological message. Players use live ammo in the form of creatures for combat, resulting in a bizarre and satisfying experience.
16. The Elders Scrolls 3: Morrowind (2002)
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Morrowind’s open-ended nature and immense scope allow players to approach the game as they see fit. Despite its dated graphics and combat, it offers immense freedom and a captivating world to explore.
15. Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)
Developer: Criterion Games
This arcade racer rewards aggressive and dangerous driving. It encourages players to take out opponents in various ways, leading to exhilarating races and spectacular crashes.
14. Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge (2003)
Developer: FASA Studio
Set in an alternate 1930s, Crimson Skies combines a steampunk aesthetic with thrilling flying mechanics. Its inventive mission structure and captivating story set it apart in the Xbox library.
13. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (2004)
The second entry in Ubisoft’s espionage series offers improved mechanics, a compelling storyline, and a strong multiplayer mode. It emphasizes stealth and subterfuge, making it a standout among stealth games.
12. Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2003)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Ubisoft’s Prince masterfully combines athleticism and platforming, with the ability to rewind time as a central mechanic. It features puzzle-like level design and a compelling love story.
11. Dead or Alive 3 (2001)
Developer: Team Ninja
This dynamic slugfest showcases improved mechanics, 3D-axis movement, and interactive environments. It introduces new fighters and visually stunning arenas, offering a refined DOA experience.
10. Panzer Dragoon Orta (2002)
While not as nuanced as its predecessor, Orta’s on-rails approach and unique world are visually spectacular. Players can switch between three distinct dragoons, adding strategic depth to its intense battles.
9. Project Gotham Racing 2 (2003)
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Bizarre Creations’ sequel refines driving mechanics and introduces an excellent online mode. The Kudos World Series mode encourages stylish driving in real-world cities, offering a rewarding experience.
8. The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (2004)
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
This rich FPS combines stealth and shooting mechanics seamlessly. With impressive visuals, a strong narrative, and a commanding performance from Vin Diesel, it stands out in the genre.
7. Psychonauts (2005)
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Double Fine’s platformer is a hilarious adventure filled with sharp dialogue and inventive gameplay mechanics. Raz’s psychic abilities lead to creative level designs, making it a memorable experience.
6. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (2006)
Developer: Sumo Digital
While not exclusive, this arcade racer is a standout title. It offers a near-perfect port of the arcade game, including a massive mission mode with 30 locations and various challenges.
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Developer: Rockstar North
San Andreas offers an expansive and playful open-world experience. Players can do almost anything, from skydiving to causing mayhem in an entire state, making it a defining title in the series.
4. Ninja Gaiden Black (2005)
Developer: Team Ninja
Ninja Gaiden Black improves upon the original with higher difficulty, new content, and enhanced combat mechanics. It remains the ultimate hack-and-slash game on the Xbox.
3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
This ambitious RPG captures the essence of Star Wars with a thrilling story, rich characters, and branching conversations. Its combat and engaging side quests add depth to the experience.
2. Halo 2 (2004)
Halo 2 solidified the franchise’s legacy and the Xbox’s importance. It introduced groundbreaking multiplayer experiences and improved combat mechanics, setting new standards for first-person shooters.
1. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
Halo’s impact on gaming is undeniable. Its innovative mechanics, expansive levels, strategic gameplay, and satisfying enemy AI remain influential to this day. It’s a masterpiece and the best launch title in Xbox history.
These original Xbox games continue to be cherished by gamers, highlighting the lasting legacy of Microsoft’s debut console in the gaming world.