My Favorite Video Games of the Xbox 360 / PS3 Era

With the 7th generation of consoles coming to the end of its lifecycle, I am taking a look back at some of my favorite games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

These are personal and quite short lists therefore some of your favorite games might be omitted; the last consoles generation was very prolific and there were so many good games released that some choices had to be made and many good games couldn’t fit: Saints Row: The Third, Modern Warfare 2, Far Cry 3, and Dark Souls, just to name a few.

My 10 Favorite Xbox 360 Exclusives

Forza Horizon

When it comes to realistic racing games, if the Xbox exclusive Forza Motorsport is competing with Gran Turismo, the PlayStation exclusive, Forza Horizon has no competition. The open-road game was completely unexpected. The studio behind it, Playground Games, is composed of several former Bizarre Creations developers known for the Project Gotham Racing series and Horizon’s unique feel comes from it.

Left 4 Dead

Turtle Rock Studios’ cooperative first-person shooter is still to date the best way to figure out who among your friends would be the most helpful during the zombie apocalypse and who would be dead weight. Very few games focuses on cooperation and teamwork like Left 4 Dead does; it is no suprise it won several Best Multiplayer Game of The Year awards when it was released in 2008. Its sequel is also an Xbox 360 exclusive.

Halo Wars

Real-time strategy games are rare on consoles; most of them are bad ports of good PC games. Halo Wars is one of the too few built from the ground up for consoles. Ensemble Studios marvelously crafted a balanced game based on a sort of rock-paper-scissors system which utilizes some of the most iconic location from the Halo extended universe and created a lengthy campaign that can be played alone or cooperatively.

Lost Odyssey

One of the best JRPGs of the 7th concoles generation is exclusive to the Xbox 360; Hironobu Sakaguchi, the father of Final Fantasy, has created expansive world, in the middle of a magic-industrial revolution, filled with over a hundred hours worth of gameplay including fantastic memory sequences. The quality of the emotionally charged storytelling was something rarely seen in any RPG before.

Shadow Complex

The metroidvania game inspired by Orson Scott Card’s Empire series is one of the very best downloadable games to bless Xbox Live. Shadow Complex offers the quality and production values expected from AAA games at a fraction of the cost. On top of been praised for its gameplay, narrative, and graphics, the 2.5D game has also been nominated by several media outlets as a 2009 Game Of The Year contender.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Many forget that before the critically aclaimed Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt became a commercial success on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, its predecessor was only available on Microsoft’s console. CD Projekt RED’s game contains many different paths and storylines, along with multiple endings; it combat mechanics, customization, graphics, environments, immersion, and storytelling are remarkable.

Alan Wake

Remedy, the studio responsible for Alan Wake, describes its creation as “the mind of a psychological thriller” and “the body of a cinematic action game” put together; this fully encapsulates this psychological horror game. Manuscripts pages found along the campaign trail smartly reveal upcoming plot points and set pieces while building emotional and intellectual engagement without ever spoiling the story.

Gears of War 2

The second instalment of the Gears of War series is packed with a well paced campaign with touching moments, as well as, great multiplayer modes including a Horde mode that set the standards for any Horde from every game thereafter. The military science fiction third-person shooter video game might not be groundbreaking but when you cumulate every addition made to it, it’s hard to ask for more from an already great game.

Fable II

I will never forgive Peter Molyneux for killing my dog! The grandiloquent game designer, known for overpromising and underdelivering, released in the second opus of the Fable series what he vowed the original would be. Fable II is an amazing experience which has this little je ne sais quoi that turns gameplay mechanics into emotional bonds; the Hero’s dog companion being the epitome of the ease with which the game engages the player.

Halo Reach

The last Halo developed by Bungie is also my favorite game of the series. Set during the events of the novel The Fall of Reach, its narrative is a breathless crescendo, its gameplay the culmination of the decade its developers spent perfecting its incredibly satisfying shooting mechanics, and its stellar art direction showcases the grandeur of the franchise universe. Reach is broader and more accessible than any other Halo game; that’s what sets it apart.

My 10 Favorite PlayStation 3 Exclusives

Yakuza 4

Often referred to as the Japanese Grand Theft Auto, Yakuza 4 tells its story from several point of views; Shun Akiyama, Taiga Saejima, and Masayoshi Tanimura are joining returning protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. Along the main campaign, several mini-games, some of them very Japanese, are available: pachinko, fishing, onsen, table tennis, hanafuda and karaoke, including duets with non-player characters.

Wipeout HD

Studio Liverpool, once upon a time called Psygnosis, is a now-defunct development house that produced some of the most iconic games of the 90s including Destruction Derby on the original PlayStation. Wipeout HD is their last hurrah; as it name suggest, it is a high definition remake of Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Fury which were released on PSP. It was the first game to be 1080p 60fps on PlayStation.

Valkyria Chronicles

Behind pretty pictures and dreamy aesthetic, Valkyria Chronicles hides a terrifically hardcore tactical role-playing game. The World War II-era tale of young soldiers fighting to protect their neutral nation of Gallia is very different than what one would normally expect from the JRPG genre. The unique blend of turn-based and real-time strategy rewards careful tactics and harshly punishes carelessness.

Dragon’s Crown

Don’t let its art style fool you; Vanillaware’s 2D fantasy action role-playing game is gorgeous and one of the best modern beat ’em ups out there. Dragon’s Crown‍’s hand drawn characters, dungeons, and environments are visually stunning; the game is also very deep as each of the six characters has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, fighting styles, skills and magic which can be upgraded.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece doesn’t require an introduction. The Metal Gear Solid series has always been a system seller; this is the game that made me purchase a PlayStation 3 (also the Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle included a console capable of playing PlayStation 2 game discs). This extravaganza is part stealth-action game and part crazy sci-fi film it also is very westernized compared to the series previous instalments.

Heavy Rain

David Cage, the man behind Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, is responsible for this interactive thriller. The Quantic Dream’s game is one of the best examples of how quick time events can ve a very compelling gameplay mechanic when used to create an emotional bond between the player and the game’s narration. This film noiresque game features four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer. Don’t forget to press X for Jason.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

This game is the result of a symbiosis between Dragon Quest VIII’s developer Level 5 and legendary animation house Studio Ghibli. This very charming JRPG is one of the prettiest games out there, and even if it’s old school in many aspects, the very challenging combat, the modern coat of paint, the incredibly sad story, and its Pokémon-like creatures collecting make this a blast to play.


One of Sony’s most gifted studio, Thatgamecompany, created this emotionally charged stunning sensory experience that elevates gaming as an art form. From its gorgeous visuals to Austin Wintory’s incredible score, every facet of the game is an emotional trigger that includes gameplay and the way multiplayer is handled. I cannot praise Journey enough; it is as much an extraordinary video game as it is pure poetry.

The Last of Us

This tale of survival in a post-apocalyptic world is much smarter than your typical zombie-movie clichés. From the heartbreaking first few minutes; it is clear The Last of Us is something special. It is raw, violent, heartfelt, emotionally exhausting and yet tremendously satisfying. They poignant journey focusing on the relationship between Joel and Ellie is a standout; the last great first party game on the PlayStation 3 era.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

The second outing of Nathan Drake set the bar for what action-adventure games; the third-person shooter/platformer features a enthralling cinematic storyline with relatable and compelling characters as well as an exquisite pacing which alternate tense and frantic shootouts with serene platform and puzzle solving downtimes. Uncharted 2 went on to win the many Game of the Year awards it rightfully deserved.

My 10 Favorite Hidden Gems

The Gunstringer

Let’s start by being controversial and praise a Kinect game. The misadventures of Twisted Pixel’s undead marionette betrayed by his posse in the Old West is oozing style, a wicked sense of humor, and an outregously fun gameplay. When Kinect was first revealed, we’ve all dreamt of pointing our gun-shaped hand towards it and shoot like when we were kids; the Gunstringer is the only game that achieved it in a mechanically compelling way.

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut

Like many, I skipped the Twin Peaks-style horror game that looks like it was developed for the PlayStation 2 hardware. But I’m glad that the people I know who’ve played it, had only good things to say about this quirky and weird oddity. If the first release is too buggy to be enjoyable, the Director’s Cut is worth giving a chance: there will be times when you won’t know what the hell is happening; that’s part of the charm of this obscure cult hit.


This is not a simple spin-off of the Drakengard series, Square Enix’s game is an action JRPG with bullet hell sections. Nier’s world is very dark and its story only reveals its secrets after at multiple playthroughs each of them being shaped by the outcome of previous endings. It’s a distinct JRPG where every character, including Nier and Yonah, is memorable, and every cut scene will keep you wanting more.

The Saboteur

The last game from Pandemic Studios, the developer behind StarWars: Battlefront and Mercenaries, is a surprisingly addicting open world game which takes place in occupied Paris during World War II. Districts taken over by the Nazis are portrayed in black and white and regain colors as they lose their influence due to the player accomplishing varied missions that can be completed in many different ways.

Darksiders 2

One of THQ’s biggest games in scope is also one of the most underrated ones of the last console generation. Death’s quest to exonerate his brother and fellow horsemen of the Apocalypse, War, from his crimes is gigantic, sporting multiple open world regions littered with dungeons that will be visited during either the course of the extended story line or the numerous and varied side quests.

Sleeping Dogs

The title originally slated as True Crime: Hong Kong and salvaged by Square-Enix is far from being an average and generic Grand Theft Auto clone. The influence from Internal Affairs and John Woo’s older movies is present there, the setting is vibrant and flavorful, yet the complex Wei Shen and the game itself never commit the sin of taking themselves too seriously; this is striking in its DLC: Zodiac Tournament and Nightmare in North Point.


The most stylish sci-fi shooter out there is the brain-child of Bayonetta’s developer, Platinum Games. Vanquish is about shooting giant robots and terrorists in exo-skeleton suits while sliding or gunning at break-neck speeds. The game is visceral, fast-paced, twitchy, filled with explosive gigantic set pieces that will blow your mind. It is an absolute must play for anyone who’ve enjoy any other title from Resident Evil’s creator Shinji Mikami.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

If there’s anything that must be said about 38 Studios’ game is that its filled with quality content: developed in collaboration with RA Salvatore and Todd McFarlane, this unfortunately generic RPG has one of the best combat systems in the genre and its gameplay feels fluid and is immediately gratifying as stats and attributes let’s you shape the destiny of your character like very few games let you.

Spec Ops: The Line

A dark and familiar story clearly inspired by Heart of Darkness is the background of Yager’s excellent and smart shooter. This is not a war story meant to scar the player; it will leave you hot and cold by turns; it’s a profoundly moving experience with a dark and gloomy vision of war that most modern military shooters normally sweep under the rug. The game features multiple endings, a rarity for the third-person shooter genre.

Driver: San Francisco

The one thing you should know about Driver: San Francisco is that it has the most insane premise: a police officer in coma dream participates in racing events during which he can take control any car in the city; shifting from one car to another to slow down or crash into his opponents. Did I mention these racing events also help him solve a complex heist? What should be a ridiculous gimmick is one of the coolest gameplay mechanics out there.

My 10 Favorite Multi-Platform Games

The Orange Box

Very rare are game compilations that have the value of The Orange Box. Its headlining title was Half Life 2: Episode 2 and it included the Freeman’s second outing as well as the first episode of Valve’s unfinished trilogy. Two other games were also included as bonuses: the first one was the beloved multiplayer game Team Fortress 2; the second was an unknown little puzzle that would revolutionize its genre: Portal.

Assassin’s Creed II

If the first game of the Assassin’s Creed series was considered a let down by many, its sequel not only fixed all the quirks of the original as well as defined what would be be the tenets of the franchise for years to come. The game set in Venice and Florence during the Italian Renaissance introduced one of the most memorable, charismatic, popular influential, and badass protagonists of this generation: Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

Red Dead Redemption

The turn-of-the-century saga stands as a bittersweet adrenaline rush unlike anything else in modern video games. The makers of Grand Theft Auto have created a vast compelling open world populated by many colorful characters, dangerous wildlife, and stunning vistas. It is notable that the Undead Nightmare DLC is one of the greatest Halloween themed content ever release during this console generation. [/two_thirds]

The Walking Dead

Telltale’s episodic interactive drama is something special. Giving players the option to craft relationships and make choices that fill out the story has never been so meaningful. The relationship between Lee and Clementine is gripping; the story touching and the experience unforgettable. In many ways, The Walking Dead has kicked off the revitalization of the adventure game genre.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

2014 was supposed to be the year of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One that was without counting the collaboration between legendary RGB developer Obsidian and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The game with one of the greatest achievements and trophies list plays like a serious role-playing game and puts the player in the middle of a fourteen hour long episode. All the delays were totally worth it!

BioShock: Infinite

Truth to be told, I wasn’t a fan of the original BioShock: I thought it was good but the narrative was missing something. Ken Levine and Irrational Games have released a stunning masterpiece; a stellar retro-sci-fi first-person shooter populated by a fully fleshed-out cast of memorable characters who deliver a mind-bending tale with a real emotional impact and questions that will linger longer after playing through it.

Fallout 3

Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic role-playing game offers freedom without sacrificing storytelling. This entry of the Fallout series delivers fantastic combat without dumbing down its role-playing roots. The cast of characters inhabiting the capital wasteland are engaging and oftentimes hilarious without feeling out of place. If this wasn’t enough the 5 pieces of DLC released added tremendous value to an already lengthy base game.

The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim

I’ve spent over five hundred hours in the Northern province of Tamriel and from its epic storyline to its meaningful side quests, some of them quite lengthy, I still haven’t seen everything Skyrim has to offer. Bethesda’s magnum opus is the pinnacle of fantasy RPG: everything done in the game is rewarding, and the freedom it allows the players to customize their characters and their play styles is second to none.

Grand Theft Auto V

Every new instalment of the Grand Theft Auto series is an event: expectations are always high and Rockstar Games’ progeny never disappoint. Grand Theft Auto V is a tour de force; the wealth of content, mechanics, and systems present in the game offer an experience like no other. It is by far the richest, most beautiful open world out there and considering the game is running on 360/PS3 hardware is simply incredible.

Mass Effect 2

The middle opus of BioWare’s space opera is also the best; the game not only fixed all the clunkiness and rough edges of its predecessor but also introduced many characters that would become some of my favorites. Post release DLC like Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker continued to flesh out the expansive universe making the Mass Effect trilogy the video game equivalent of StarWars and Mass Effect 2 its Empire Strikes Back.