Playing Catch Up: Xbox 360 Games To Play Before Buying an Xbox One

By James Dohnert , Updated May 26, 2013 08:48 AM EDT
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The Xbox 360 is about to come to an end. Microsoft's Xbox One is set to launch later this year and with it will come the demise of the company's former headline console. 360 owners had quite a run. The console saw top line games such as Mass Effect and Call of Duty. However, with all the choices to come to the system over the years many games have been forgotten. Titles big and small have fallen through the cracks over the years.

Now marks a perfect opportunity to catch up on 360 games you might have missed during its run. Here are some lesser known titles that have gone overlooked during their generation.

Metro 2033
Comparison: Bioshock meets a Moscow subway

Despite garnering a sequel, Metro 2033 did not release with the sort of fanfare it should have. The title gained notoriety over the years but upon release suffered from early bugs and graphical issues.

Those who did end up playing the game definitely got their money's worth. Metro 2033 focused on the story of Artyom. A Russian born protagonist who lives in the Moscow tunnels after a nuclear war decimates the world.

The games story was full of deep emotional turns and philosophical questions on the nature of man. It was developed by Ukraine studio 4A Games and adapted from a novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The games Eastern European roots ground it with a sense of cold nihilistism rarely seen in modern games.

Metro 2033's combat also offered a few treats. Its clever use of darkness for stealth gave the story a sense depth from the gameplay.

Spec Ops: The Line
Comparison: Call of Duty with an Apocalypse Now storyline

It's rare that a modern shooter actually discusses the horror of real-life violence. Games like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor may gloss over the subject but its rare for a game to make it a major motivator of the plot.

Spec Ops: The Line did just that. Inspired by Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, the title followed the story of a soldier fighting off madness in Dubai. The games unique setting and story gave it a sense of foreboding rarely seen in shooters.

Playing as main character Martin Walker gamers traverse through a desolate Dubai that has been ransacked by soldiers following a series of dust storms and a failed evacuation attempt. The game's story worked best when it attempted to deconstruct the shooter genre. At its best it would feature video game story clichés just to subvert them in order to reveal their absurd nature.

While the story worked on numerous levels, the game suffered from uninspired combat. Game mechanics suffered and many gamers found themselves bored with the rinse-and-repeat nature of gunplay.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Comparison: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with cheery visuals

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was overshadowed by colossal expectations and a studio that was completely mismanaged. Made by 38 Studios, the title was heralded by studio executives as the next great fantasy RPG. The studio brought together some of the best talent for the genre to create the game. Kingdoms of Amalur brought on fantasy luminaries such as writer R.A. Salvatore and artist Todd McFarlane to work on the title.

The development team created a fun story full of colorful visuals and multiple character arcs. Combat was engaging, if repetitive. While the games RPG elements offered enough customization to rival titles such as Skyrim. Overall, it was a fun romp that fit a sweet-spot for fantasy RPG fans looking for something that was not part of the Elder Scrolls trilogy.

Yet, the game failed to entice gamers. Sales were so below expectations that 38 Studios had to file for bankruptcy.

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