There are plenty of incredible Xbox 360 games that can’t be played on the Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One. Which ones should make a comeback?
The Xbox 360 completely dominated its generation of consoles. Launching ahead of the Wii and PS3 by a year likely did a lot to help this. It wasn’t all green for Microsoft though, as the Red Ring of Death incident did cost them a great deal. Eventually, the other two platforms caught up, for some relatively good sales numbers overall in their respective generations.
Still, when asked who won this era overall, most gamers would probably say Xbox 360. From exclusives to third-party titles, the Xbox 360’s library was huge, many of which are available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. However, there are some big omissions most fans would like to play again.
Updated September 13, 2021 by Mark Sammut: Over 400 Xbox 360 games are backwards compatible with Xbox One and, by extension, Xbox Series X/S. By this point, announcements of new additions have become infrequent, so it is safe to assume that most games that have yet to make the jump will not be doing so in the future. Hopefully, this prediction proves to be false since there are plenty of Xbox 360 titles that would slip seamlessly into the libraries of the console’s successors. In order to highlight that fact, this article has been expanded to include a few more Xbox 360 games that are not backwards compatible with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
The Budokai games hold a special place in Dragon Ball Z gaming history. Prior to the debut of Dragon Ball FighterZ, the Budokai games, along with Budokai Tenkaichi, were regarded as the anime’s pinnacle gaming adaptations. Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection gives the first and third games a fresh coat of paint, although the second entry is bizarrely missing.
This collection doesn’t offer much in the way of significant changes, but it does allow fans to revisit these fun arena fighters in high definition. Even though the Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One are not lacking in Dragon Ball titles, there is always room for some Budokai.
Studios opting to not make fighting games backwards compatible makes sense if they are planning to release a sequel; after all, they would essentially just be creating competition for themselves. Consequently, neither Dead or Alive 4 and 5 can be played on the Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One.
Out of those two, Dead or Alive 4 is the bigger omission since it is an Xbox 360 exclusive – a Halo Spartan is even unlockable! Team Ninja’s fighter also holds up remarkably well, delivering a smooth counter-heavy combat system that permits each fight to flow similar to a (brutal) dance.
The Kingdom Under Fire series produced a string of games during the 2000s, most of which incorporate real-time strategy elements. Circle of Doom, an Xbox 360 exclusive, is an exception as the 2007 release is a hack and slash game. This results in a more straightforward but accessible experience, albeit not one utterly lacking in depth. Along with the dungeon crawling, Circle of Doom has its share of RPG elements, including multiple playable characters.
While the game does overstay its welcome, Circle of Doom is entertaining in short bursts. Outside of an RPG and MMO mash-up, Kingdom Under Fire has been dormant since Circle of Doom.
Beautiful Katamari brought Namco Bandai’s franchise to Xbox for the first time. Released in 2007 exclusively on the Xbox 360, Beautiful Katamari preserves the formula of the previous entries in the series; therefore, the gameplay consists of a plucky Prince who goes around rolling up objects of different sizes to create progressively larger balls.
While not the Prince’s strongest romp, Beautiful Katamari showcases why this quirky series has carved out a niche for itself over the years. Since Beautiful Katamari isn’t an option, Xbox One owners will just have to play Katamari Damacy Reroll.
There are approximately a million Naruto games, so it is not like Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One owners cannot get their fix of shinobi-themed action. However, Rise of a Ninja and The Broken Bond are so fantastic that they deserve to be experienced by as many people as possible.
No other games based on the series capture the feeling of living in Naruto‘s world as well as these two Xbox 360 exclusives. The graphics are stylish and timeless, the combat is more than serviceable, the platforming is fun and suits the license, and the story does an excellent job covering the arcs from the manga (and anime).
This game was made by part of the Yakuza team at Sega, although it is not connected to the Yakuza universe at all. It’s a futuristic, team-based cover shooter about androids losing control and trying to destroy the world.
Binary Domain is the best Terminator game ever created without the actual license. The story is over the top and the characters constantly spout cheesy lines, giving this game an irresistible charm.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Max Payne franchise. So far, only the first game has been re-released on more modern consoles via PS4’s PS2 Classics line. The second game never left the Xbox generation, other than on PC.
The same is true for Max Payne 3 of the Xbox 360 generation. Like the second, it’s available to buy on Steam though. Updating the list to make both of these games playable on Xbox One would be a great way to celebrate this anniversary.
Since Microsoft now owns Obsidian Entertainment, it is odd that this game isn’t on the service. Alpha Protocol was an Obsidian original game that took their dialogue and RPG expertise to a new genre: spy thrillers.
This title would have been best left in the oven for a few more months, as it was buggy and lacked overall polish. That said, fans still appreciated what it was going for. It’s been completely delisted from any digital service, even Steam, so getting this back may take a miracle.
This forgotten RPG may be one of the best things that the Lord of the Rings property touched outside of the films. That’s including the Shadow of Mordor games.
Gamers can play this title alone or with two other friends. Its narrative plays out like a parallel story to the main events of the trilogy. It’s been delisted everywhere, probably due to the license. Getting it back will be another case of tricky maneuvering, permitting it’s possible at all.
Most know the 2011 Mortal Kombat game by just that title. It is technically the ninth in the series but this release got rid of the numbering because the developers thought things were getting a little too convoluted. So instead, they used a time mechanic and rewound the lore.
This basically rebooted the series into the diverse narrative that fans have come to love for a decade now. Its innovation still breaks bounds for fighting games. As much praise as it got, along with Mortal Kombat vs DC, are not available as backwards compatible games on Xbox One.
There are no Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors games available to play via backwards compatibility. Of those two main series and their spinoffs, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 deserves to come back the most.
As it is an anime license, resurrecting this title may not be as easy as Koei Tecmo reaching into their own department. However, this game still deserves a comeback. It still looks good thanks to the cel-sharing aesthetic, it’s just a great homage to the Gundam series.
Lollipop Chainsaw was an under-appreciated game that came out at a bad time. It’s also not exactly the most polished title out there and the reviews were pretty average.
That said, some gamers love weird titles that excel in creativity and have a peculiar sense of humor. Those players should not miss out on this zombie action game. James Gunn helped write the English translation, which might be the biggest plus for this forgotten hack and slash Xbox game.
In a time where open-world sandbox games were a dime a dozen, this was one of the last efforts of the Xbox 360 generation to try and rival Grand Theft Auto. It took place during World War II in Nazi-occupied Paris.
The Saboteur started off in black and white, but the more the city was liberated, the more color would return. Though some regard this as the best part of the game, the gameplay is decent enough to warrant a re-release via backwards compatibility. Players can still enjoy this game on PC via EA’s service.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is based on a not-so-great movie. The game itself, however, is a great hack and slash adventure. One of the best aspects is how it allows Wolverine to get bloody, unlike the film franchise.
While he’s not getting into Kratos levels of gore, but it is more than the movies. Since it is based on a license, it’ll be difficult to bring it back anytime soon, unless Activision and Disney can shake hands.
This may seem like an odd choice, as not many appreciated this game at the time. However, the premise alone should pique players’ interest. It was an ambitious stab at a Call of Duty style game, but with the titular 50 Cent and his G-Unit being the playable cast.
The story involves 50 Cent performing in the Middle East and getting paid a literal crystal skull for his work. A terrorist cell wants to grab this prize, so 50 Cent and his crew start a war. It’s a good time with a friend via co-op, to say the least, from this Xbox generation.
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Tristan Jurkovich began his career as a journalist in 2011. His childhood love of video games and writing fuel his passion for archiving this great medium’s history. He dabbles in every genre, but he’s particularly fond of RPGs and portable consoles. Aside from writing, Tristan also produces a plethora of videos on his YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer. Check it out!