Everytime someone looks back at the years the Xbox 360 has had ever since its launch- individually or all of them collectively- people usually bring up one point. That it didn’t get nearly as many exclusives as it should have, or as many as its competitors did. The latter part of that sentence may not be true this year, but the former part of it is. But the few exclusives it did get this year were no sweep-under-the-rug forgettable titles. No, we’re talking big games here.
And then, of course, there’s the third party games. Try telling anyone who had an Xbox 360 this year that they didn’t have a very good year in videogames, and they’d probably be laughing in your face.
But just what were the highlights for Xbox 360 owners this year? Let’s break it down. Just to be clear, this isn’t chronological.
Right at the beginning of the year, the Xbox 360 got pretty big titles- Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Soul Calibur V (you can read our reviews through the hyperlinks). Although great games in their own rights, none of them really kicked off the game the way it should have been, and the two titles turned out to be so disappointing that most of us forgot they’d even been released this year.
No matter what the haters say, Mass Effect 3 was a truly unforgettable experience.
More unremarkable games kept coming our way in Asura’s Wrath, Syndicate and a few others, but it wasn’t really until March that the year, and the Xbox 360 with it, got its first truly remarkable title.
I am, of course, talking about Mass Effect 3. The ending debacle and controversy aside, there’s no denying that Mass Effect 3 was a truly wonderful experience that kept sending memorable and thrilling moments our way, punctuating the incessant action with poignant personal moments perfectly. Our reviewer (yours truly) called it “a perfect conclusion to the perfect trilogy.”
However, things started looking brighter when Xbox Live Arcade came to the rescue, as always. Fez, Trials Evolution and Mark of the Ninja are not only some of the best downloadable titles for the Xbox 360 this year, they’re some of the best games this year, period.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings- Enhanced Edition, while a port of the excellent PC title from last year, turned out to be a great addition to the X360′s library. In our overly-excited review, we gave the game a solid, completely deserved 9.5/10 and called it “undoubtedly the best RPG to ever have appeared on a console.” In retrospect that may seem like hyperbole, but if we ever got down to talking about it, there’d be plenty of arguments to be made in The Witcher 2′s favour.
Other highly anticipated titles such as Max Payne 3 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, came and went, impressing a few but making no real mark. The real surprise hit of the year, though, came in the form of a little downloadable title known as The Walking Dead. We didn’t review the entire game as a whole, but we did write a pretty extensive editorial about it, and the reviews are linked in it, so you should give it a read.
No one really expected this game to be any good, much less live up to the high standards of the comic book or even the television show, for that matter, which, to be honest, wasn’t exactly at its best at that time. But the game just surprised people at every turn, telling a story like none other. We, along with countless other people, have gone as far as claiming that it “perfects the art of telling stories in video games a hundred times over and sets an example for games in the future to look up to.”
The years always end with some great games, and this year was no different. We were treated to games such as Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. On the flipside, though, we had to suffer the atrocities that were the likes of Resident Evil 6, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and 007 Legends.
But let’s look at the bright side instead- Borderlands 2. Dishonored. FIFA 13. Darksiders 2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Fable: The Journey. Sleeping Dogs. Hitman: Absolution. Forza Horizon. Dragon’s Dogma. And so many others. Seriously, who the hell has been saying this hasn’t been a good year for gaming?
And the real bright spot, one of the best games to have hit the Xbox 360 in a long time- Far Cry 3. This became the second Xbox 360 title to receive a perfect score from us, and our reviewer was so impressed with it, he said it was “the best game of the year, if not the generation.”
And now we’re moving into 2013, and things, as always, look decent when it comes to the exclusive lineup. With games like Gears of War: Judgement and- logically speaking- a new Forza title coming out next year (yes, there will be a next year after all), things look okay for those who want exclusives on their 360s. It’s not like the PS3, which is getting a shitton of exclusives, but it’s still worth taking note of.
But when it comes to multiplatform titles, things look as good as ever, with DmC, Dead Space 3, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Metro: Metro Last Light, Tomb Raider, BioShock: Infinite and many others coming our way in just the first three months of the year themselves.
The generation is coming to and end, and despite being a year of transition, 2012 has manged to impress us time and again. The Xbox 360 has had a good year, and here’s hoping it will have a better one in 2013. With the Xbox 720 possibly coming out by December next year (yes, it’s not announced yet, but come on, we all know it’s coming), Microsoft will start shifting focus and start looking to the future. But still, considering how much resources they have invested in the 360, we can safely assume that we’re going to have a good 12 months ahead of us.
Overall Performance: B+