Photo: Dead Space (Visceral Games)
Picking favorites is not one of my strong suits, and coming up with a list of 10 of the best backward compatible games for the Xbox One console was especially challenging with the hundreds of games available. Now, if my list doesn’t match yours, don’t come @ me! Share your own list in the comments below the article.
Dead Space still holds up as one of the most intense and terrifying games out there. Don’t act like you never screamed out loud playing the popular survival horror game! It happens to the best of us normally brave souls.
Long story short: Dead Space is an awesome ride with a solid through line, and it will scare the shit out of you. Win/win.
After you have spent hours customizing the perfect character, Fallout 3 introduces you to one of the most fully-realized open post-apocalyptic worlds in this critically acclaimed first-person RPG. Just be careful what you say and which actions you take in the new world. You could find yourself resurrecting at Moriarty’s Saloon after having just shot some dude and with the entire population trying to murder you (successfully) over and over again… (stares into the camera).
Long story short: Despite a couple issues I initially had, Fallout 3 remains one of my favorite RPGs.
If psychological thrillers are your thing, then Alan Wake should have been your first stop eight years ago. The action-adventure game takes you on a journey as a novelist trying to find his missing wife. The catch? Alan begins experiencing plotlines from his own story, but he can’t even remember what he wrote and begins to question how reliable his sanity is.
Long story short: With the time it took to develop the game, making sure the narrative and isolated atmosphere supplied a Stephen King-esque vibe, it’s no surprise that Alan Wake ended up on Time’s 2010 Top 10 Video Game list.
I’ll admit that I have never actually played the Portal games, but I was compelled to add it because from what I’ve heard Portal 2 is one of the best first-person puzzle-platform games on the market.
Long story short: Besides the promise of nicely paced gameplay, teleportation, and lasers, the dark humor descriptor has me the most intrigued.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
This is a classic for anyone who loves action platform RPGs. Taking place after Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night lets you play as Dracula’s son Alucard as you explore dear old dad’s castle. What drew players back in the ’90s was the ability to freely explore the setting without limitations, the order of playable challenges and compelling obstacles in the game.
Long story short: Complete with elements found in role-playing games, this is an oldie but goodie.
Far Cry 2
Many consider this open world first-person shooter to be the best in its series, and a lot of that is thanks to Far Cry 2’s map. The game offers greater exploration opportunities versus its predecessor in an African landscape set during the middle of a civil war.
Long story short: There have been complaints about the game’s glitches and some of the design elements, but if someone as picky about graphics as I am can enjoy the game, anyone can.
Mass Effect Trilogy
The Mass Effect Trilogy holds a special place in my heart as it remains one of my favorite innovative game franchises ever developed. Your choices do not just define the first game in the story, but all of them, creating a sort of butterfly effect throughout the three games based on the decisions you made during previous gameplay.
Long story short: This trilogy is not only ingenious because of its on-point third-person shooter RPG hybrid style, the rich characters, and sci-fi setting, but because you can devote hundreds of hours into each game and never get bored. Be prepared for heartache, though.
Even people who have never played Halo have heard of this franchise and understand what a massive game-changer the series has been since the first Halo launched on the Xbox in November of 2001 (nearly 17 years, OMG). Many critics consider Halo: Reach to be one of the best installments, offering arguably the best narrative of the series.
Long story short: Those graphics are pretty easy on the eyes, too.
Red Dead Redemption
If you wanna star in your own badass action western then Red Dead Redemption’s open-world adventure is for you. You get to play as John Marston, a gunslinger and former outlaw forced to become a hired gun for those who have taken his family hostage. The positive reviews for this Game of the Year winning title are endless, with nearly every detail — from voice acting to the music — being highly praised.
I can’t say that Skate 3 is the best installment of the Skate franchise as far as the campaign-mode goes, but it’s hard not to find yourself spending hours glued to its open-world structure practicing trick-after-trick until you finally get that bad boy down.
Long story short: It’s pretty damn funny, too.
Finally, I have to give an honorable mention to the BioShock trilogy. As my favorite games of all time (closely followed by the Call of Duty and Uncharted franchises) it would be embarrassing to sit here and wax poetic about why I love them so much so I’ll just say that if you’ve never played them you are 100% missing out. And yes, they are all backward compatible.