XBOX Live is one of the most innovative aspects of the XBOX 360; it allows players to interact with each other online through a large database of games. The best part about it is that it also allows competitive players to take part in ranked matches and gauge their skill against other players all over the world; while at the same time allowing more casual players the chance to just play and have fun. Not every game that is designed for the 360 is XBOX Live capable but for those that are lots of options are usually offered.
However, what XBOX 360 games will give you the best Live experience, and provide you with the most possible fun? This informative list is set to give you some ideas on what are the top available games for XBOX Live.
(10) Unreal Tournament 3
The graphics and visuals of Unreal Tournament 3 are very close to that of Gears of War; this is due to both games utilizing Epic’s Unreal Engine 3. But graphics aside, what does Unreal Tournament 3 offer on XBOX Live?
The game is lots of fun to play and offers both co-operative (1-2 players) and competitive (1-16 players) modes through XBOX Live. There is also a custom clan creation feature to organize game strategies and play with some of your best friends and online buddies. What puts this particular game on the list however is that it has some of the coolest online game modes such as Capture the Flag, Duel, and even Vehicle Capture the Flag; the most prominent however is Warfare. Warfare involves a location capture type game-play where two teams fight to capture certain points on the map; individual points, once captured, cause different things to happen such as a vehicle spawning or an environmental damage effect that hurts the opposing team. The online gameplay is very fast paced and provides hours upon hours of fun. One major drawback that sets this at the tail end of the list is that it follows more traditional first-person shooter roots and does not allow taking cover, or destructible environments.
The XBOX 360 version of the game has five exclusive maps, twi exclusive characters and also allows local splitscreen play for multi-player and most of the content created for PC is already included in the game.
(9) Forza Motorsport 2
As you can tell, most of the games listed here are shooters and I thought the list needed a little more variety, hence Forza Motorsport 2. Nevertheless, the game wasn’t just slapped here for no reason at all; it does offer quite a bit over XBOX Live. Perhaps one of the coolest features included in this game ironically has nothing to do with racing. Players can buy and sell their custom cars over an e-bay like auction within the community, and can also give out cars as gifts to friends on their buddy list or even recent opponents. Of course, with the buying and selling of cars there has to be some form of customization or else everyone would simply be trading around the same exact models. Herein lies another awesome feature of Forza 2, players can completely customize over 300+ vehicles, from performance parts and the engine, all the way to body design and cosmetics. The design tools are both complex, yet easy to use as well.
As for online racing Forza 2 delivers amazing online gameplay; think of it as a Gran Turismo type simulation racer where physics play a big role in every race and the game is totally realistic. Fly too fast around a sharp curve, or brake too hard and the car will launch out of control. One small flaw lies in head on collision; sometimes it ends up looking rather far fetched or dull when two cars crash head on. Otherwise this game is great for racing fans, and even better for those who want to race others globally online.
(8) Rainbow Six: Vegas
Tom Clancy really knows how to come up with some awesome games, and Rainbow Six: Vegas is certainly no exception to that rule. It also provides an incredible XBOX Live experience for any type of gamer; in 2006 it even received IGN’s “Best XBOX Live Game” award. Obviously the game is a little older, but it still holds a high spot in the countdown; those who have played it know exactly why.
One of the biggest features of this game is the “one-shot one kill” aspect of real life; meaning no real person could take twenty shots from a semi-automatic weapon and still be running and gunning around. Vegas really puts an emphasis on the point that just a single bullet can take you down; even in multi-player modes. In 2006 Vegas provided one of the most realistic gaming experiences on the console market and it still holds true to this day. Online multi-player modes include co-operative play up to four players at a time through the entire single player campaign, as well as competitive online play versus others. The competitive play features several deathmatch type modes where players are teamed or solo to take down opponents. There is also a terrorist hunt mode where players can pick a level and just hunt bad guys with some buddies. Vegas is an excellent realistic shooter that provides even the most tactical players a chance to use different strategies while enjoying themselves. Rainbow Six: Vegas certainly belongs on this list.
(7) Battlefield: Bad Company
One thing you don’t find often in shooters; especially online, is completely destructible environments. Not just specific walls and supports that fall and crash but the entire environment from the trees, to the buildings and objects. In Battlefield: Bad Company the evidence of destructible environments does exist, everywhere. That means you can take out those pesky camping snipers that try and dominate the map by hopping into a tank and blowing their hiding spot to smithereens. Pretty awesome.
As for XBOX Live features this game is packed with ‘em and provides online multi-player for 1-24 players as well as leaderboards to keep up with your global and local ranks. The game modes are excellent as well, and the most prominent is called “Gold Rush”. It involves two teams, one attacking and the other defending, and they are fighting over two chests full of gold. The attackers only have a certain number of spawns for the entire team and the defenders are working to kill of the attackers and keep them from capturing the chests. There are three or four sections on each map and once the chests have been captured the battle progresses further and further depending on which chest the attackers captured. Overall Bad Company gives players an awesome Live experience and will not disappoint newcomers. I figure it is worth mentioning however that It does take some time getting used to the online mode of the game.
Madden, Madden, Madden, and more Madden. Every year a new Madden is released and re-defines itself with new features and additions as well as plenty of new content. There is also another great feature, the online community through XBOX Live.
The entire Madden community is awesome and without a doubt deserves a spot on this list; its a spectacular game even for those who loathe football. Players can match up against other opponents online and test out their dream teams they created through the game roster. Updated rosters can also be downloaded to reflect current NFL rosters and teams. In 2009 another feature is also being implemented allowing a fantasy league type mode where 32 user controlled teams play off against one another. Not to mention the total customization modes; players can create a team, create superstars, create actual players, and even build custom rosters and then test out everything they built online against other skilled opponents.
I didn’t choose a specific release year, it certainly does not matter there is a community available through most all versions of Madden from ‘06 up. Any version will provide players with a great XBOX Live experience and plenty of content.
(5/5.5) Guitar Hero 3/ Rock Band
For number 5 in the countdown I included two games, which may seem rather odd but when broken down both are quite similar. Guitar Hero 3 allows players to use a guitar related controller to strum or play to the beat of many popular songs while ultimately Rock Band is the same thing with a different interface and a couple more instruments (Microphone, Drums, Guitar). Both games have an incredible XBOX Live community.
Guitar Hero 3 provides a leaderboard along with a very deep ranking list on the official website. There is also tons of downloadable content available online even Metallica’s newest album “Death Magnetic”; yes you can download and play through the entire album. It features both co-operative play and competitive play through guitar battles and showdowns.
Rock Band allows players to actually create and fully customize their own band and match up against others online through a band leaderboard. There is actually a very large community available online as well which supports players much like actual bands; providing blogs, forums, and even classifieds to put together a band. Just like Guitar Hero 3, Rock Band also features plenty of downloadable content for band members as well as new songs to keep everyone jammin’.
Either game would be a great addition to an XBOX Live addict and they both provide fantastic online experiences and probably never will get old.
(4) Grand Theft Auto 4
Ever since the beginning of the Grand Theft Auto series fans have been asking and begging for some type of online multiplayer mode, and finally Rockstar has listened. Not only have they listened, but they have also created one of the best online communities to date. The GTA4 XBOX Live experience has much to offer, with more downloadable content and features on the way. There are 15 completely different game modes which are sorted into three separate categories; Player Match, Ranked Match, and Party mode. The maximum number of supported players is 16, however some game modes have a lower limit depending on the objectives. Complete customization is available, from match settings such as traffic, available vehicle types, pedestrian amounts, police amounts, weather, and weapons to characters that can be formed from head to toe exactly as a player likes.
The biggest aspect that drives the Live experience is money; money is rewarded to game winners and for opponent kills made. Over time the money can be used to buy additional equipment such as weapons or clothing styles. Entering multi-player is also easy; just like with most of the game’s actual commands you can enter the XBOX Live sub-menu through the use of the cellphone given to you earlier on in the single player campaign.
The content in this one is obviously a little more tight than some of the others here and is definitely not for the youngsters, but the game does provide one of the coolest, and most enjoyable XBOX Live experiences to date.
(3) Gears of War
If you don’t know what Gears of War is than you’ve been living under a rock.
Gears of War is one of the most popular XBOX games in history with a whopping 4.7 million units sold. It won plenty of awards and has garnered a huge fan base; not to mention the sequel will be out very soon. The online experience for Gears of War is one of the most satisfying of the genre. Most newcomers will have little difficulty in hopping into the Live gameplay however they will certainly have to hone their FPS skills before taking on some of the more skilled players out there. The game modes include a couple deathmatch types as well as a capture the point, and assassinate the leader type. The gameplay is very addicting and can consume any game enthusiast for hours at a time. The satisfaction of winning and moving up the ranks; being pitted against more and more skilled opponents provides plenty of desire to keep going.
GOW also has some of the coolest, and goriest, kill sequences of all time; it is known especially for a chainsaw type bayonet on a gun called the Lancer. One skilled jump from a hideout and you can chop your opponents to tiny, disgusting little pieces but be careful, because one shot from any weapon will make you drop the chainsaw and you’ll have to start it up again. There is also plenty of other cool weapons included like grenades you can stick to opponents, a hammer of dawn which controls a laser from a skyward satellite, a boomshot or rocket launcher type weapon, and a crossbow that shoots exploding arrows.
The Gears of War online game experience is very entertaining and will certainly be going strong for quite some time. If you haven’t already; pick up a copy and jump onto XBOX Live if only for just this game.
(2) Halo 3
Of course this list would not be anywhere near complete without HALO somewhere on it. Online play in the Halo series is probably one of the most popular of any console game out there; Halo 2 is practically what defined the original XBOX Live experience.
Halo 3, keeps the online mode going strong. With tons of downloadable content and a huge online community, which is still growing, the Live experience for this game will probably never run out. Players everywhere know what Halo is, meaning you truly are playing opponents globally when you hop online. The game can be described rightfully as “one of the most online multi-player gaming experiences ever conceived”.
Players can traditionally play in casual matches or more competitive ranked matches which is actually kept track of; ranks and scores can then be checked on the official Bungie website. Leaderboards are also available to browse on the actual console as well. Many returning game modes from Halo 2 keep it going strong like Juggernaut, King of the Hill, or an Oddball type game where players must hold a skull for the longest time. Complete customization of the included game modes and levels however provide almost an endless possibility of online gameplay. Players can even come up with their own game type such as the newly created Infection, where one team is zombies and the others runs around with a limited supply of ammo fighting to stay “Human” as long as possible. Infection was actually created by the community in Halo 2 and become very popular.
Players can also unlock easter eggs and achievements which allow different versions of armor to customize their online avatar with. Weapons and objects in levels can also be changed completely through a game mode called “Forge” which can also be played online with others for those who just want to run around the level and fool around.
Halo is one of the greatest console series of all time; Halo 3 will surely not disappoint and the online experience is so great that it will still be around for years to come just like Halo 2 was.
(1) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
The #1 game; which provides the greatest XBOX Live experience however is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. There is no explaining the actual awesomeness of the entire game. One of the coolest features is that you can shoot through the walls, yes shoot through walls. In real life bullets would simply not be stopped by drywall or a thin sheet of metal; and the designers shot for the implementation of this in the game. Bullets however will not pierce through thick concrete walls so you still can’t stand on one side of the map and tear through opponents without actually knowing where they are. You can however blast the hell out of a thin doorway or wall corner where your opponent has just retreated. It works great for taking out those pesky camping snipers too, who just love to dominate from one spot. A few shots correctly aimed through the wall and presto!
The multi-player game modes are awesome from capture the flag, to death match and unique mission objective matches that players must complete to win. The game also allows complete customization through weapon attachments and special “perks” which grant players special abilities like being able to call in an air strike, a radar scan which tells where all the available enemies are, and even an option to drop grenades upon death. The weapon additions are unlocked through an experience gain system; players are rewarded through wins and kills and can then use the experience points to purchase new weapon attachments.
Of course as with all XBOX Live enabled games Ranked matches and more casual Player matches are available for those who don’t want to get too competitive. The incredible satisfaction however can be described as much like GOW; because you constantly move up the ranks and unlock new weapon attachments COD4 will keep anyone playing for hours, days, weeks and months on end. For those who have played COD4 it’s quite obvious why this game is number 1 on the list; for those who haven’t, go find out…now.
This list was compiled from a mixture of the author’s personal opinion and extensive online research on many gaming websites and forums.