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October 17, 2009 1:05 PM   Subscribe

What Xbox 360 games should I get for me and my girlfriend?

Me: 28, was a pretty regular gamer in college, only have a few games for my Xbox 360 (Halo, Gears of War 2, Civ IV). I loved Ratchet & Clank for PS2. I would still play Super Mario World if I could get it for the Xbox 360.

Girlfriend: 28, never been that into games, but likes Madden football (which I will be buying later today).

I've been in grad school for a shade over four years, and now that I'm finishing up in December (woohoo) I'm interested in getting some more games that'll be fun for me and for us to play together. Its looking like its gonna be a long, cold NYC winter, so games that have a lot of replayability (including online play) would be good.

She tried out Gears of War 2, but got bored by the end of the training intro level. I don't think that kind of epic FPS is going to be interesting to her at all.

Any ideas? Thanks, hive mind!
posted by ben242 to Human Relations (27 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am a lady gamer.

My first thought is Resident Evil 5! I played that game with my boyfriend earlier this year, and it was my favorite cooperative gaming experience of my life. We had to work closely together, form strategies together, and in places where I would have given up, he pushed me to keep trying (and vice versa). The last boss battle was unbelievably epic -- when we finally beat it, he picked me up and spun me around. Truly one of the best coop games in the world for a couple, in my estimation.

However, it may take a while for her to work up the skill required to really enjoy RE5. I've been a gamer for a long time, so it's hard for me to know what's going to be overwhelming to her and what's not. For what it's worth, I still find Madden impossibly difficult and overwhelming. Other games I've played with my boyfriend on the 360 this year that have been great fun:

- Fight Night 4
- Left 4 Dead
- Call of Duty WaW's Nazi Zombie mode
- Magic: The Gathering (xbox live arcade) (warning: This has a geek factor of 100. On a scale of 1-10).

Also, FWIW, I found Gears of War (both 1 & 2) impossibly boring. The mechanics are good, but the storyline and characters and art are just so unappealing to me.

You might also try getting her acclimated to the 360 and hooked on some good single player games to start. I think Fable II is an excellent place to start with that. Possibly Fallout 3, although the open worldness of it all can be overwhelming.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:22 PM on October 17, 2009

Oh, I also neglected to mention -- there are some great games on XBox Live Arcade that are a lot of fun. Particularly Peggle and Splosion Man. Splosion Man has a really fun coop mode.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:23 PM on October 17, 2009

Response by poster: Time to get an Xbox Live subscription, I think. I've avoided it all this time because I figured I wouldn't have any time for the fun online stuff, but now I will.

What about that new Batman game? Potentially a good pick for us? I hear its supposed to rock pretty hard.
posted by ben242 at 1:28 PM on October 17, 2009

I'm a longtime girl gamer and my sweetie and got into a number of both coop games and single players. Of the coop, the Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones were quite awesome. We could spend hours playing those. The only frustrating bit was when we would get stuck and remind ourselves that these were kids' games and we still couldn't figure them out. It was annoying as hell, but we swallowed our pride and check online for solutions. We also played a good bit of Army of Two, which was really good, although my sweetie discovered I have the annoying gamer trait of charging forward like a crazy person without regard to planning or strategy. We also played a good bit of Tiger Woods, which was odd because he's not much of a golfer and I'm just starting out. Madden's a good one too, but you've already mentioned it.

As to single player, we've been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum for a while and we just trade off periodically, with one of us watching while the other plays. We did that for Ghostbusters and Prince of Persia.
posted by teleri025 at 1:34 PM on October 17, 2009

The new batman game has been spectacular for both me and my boyfriend, and did a lot to actually get me into gaming. You get to go be badass and kick lots of ass and strategize and do neat things, without having to have this huge background of gaming knowledge and abilities. There's almost always a period before combat when you can stop and think, "wait, which button lets me hit things, again?", it's good about popping up little reminders when you've forgotten, say, how to counter attacks or how to defend against a certain type of attack (and they're not obtrusive if you DO remember but just didn't manage it that time). There are a few places where timing matters but you usually have fair warning - no crazy quick-time events (which make me nuts, as someone whose twitch-reflexes don't know which button is X unless I've been thinking about it). So yeah, I absolutely recommend it. XBLA does have some very cute little things too, I can't think of any at the moment because I've been obsessing over Brutal Legend (having finished Arkham).
posted by Lady Li at 1:39 PM on October 17, 2009

My wife has always loved the Tomb Raider series and really enjoyed Tomb Raider: Underworld on the Xbox 360. The elements of action and puzzle solving really intrigue her.

And of course we've spent many Saturday nights playing Guitar Hero.. which is always a great casual game to play without having to invest a lot of time.
posted by tommccabe at 1:44 PM on October 17, 2009

Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman and Lego Indiana Jones (all essentially the same game, pick your preferred franchise) are great casual co-operative games we've had a lot of fun playing. Quite samey, but by the same token, very good for quick half-hour sessions.
posted by Kirn at 1:47 PM on October 17, 2009

My husband and I love to play Rock Band/Guitar Hero together . If you both like music, i strongly suggest picking one of those up. It's always fun to make a fool of yourself singing like an idiot in front of the one you love!
posted by sunshinesky at 2:05 PM on October 17, 2009

Totally backing up the lego games offered up here, how did I forget how fun those are? I'd actually recommend them in this order: Star Wars (the version with 4, 5, and 6, not with the new trilogy), Indiana Jones, and then Batman. The level design and quality of the games sort of decrease with each of those franchises, but they're all fun. I did find Lego Batman to be a little frustrating, it was buggy and some of the levels were borderline inscrutable.

I also forgot to mention Street Fighter 4! It's really hard, but offers lots of options for handicapping and the like. Very fun for two players, and it has that old school flava.
posted by pazazygeek at 2:13 PM on October 17, 2009

Nthing the great coop and relatively simple play on all the Lego games.

Playing with someone new to games (of either gender) can get frustrating due to the disparity in skills; it takes some practice to get the fundamentals down, like combo attacks, navigation, etc.

Single player games like Arkham are great if you're willing to do the "I'll play this level while you watch, then we'll switch and I'll watch you play the next". And there will be times in any game played like that when you hand the controller over during your turn - "sweetie, you're better at bossfights/platform jumps/puzzle levels than I am - can you beat this so I can get to the next level?" That's teamwork too.
Bioshock was a great game for play this way - awesome immersive environment, interesting play, and while the power upgrades could get a little complex, it was a bit more intuitive in Bioshock than some other games I've seen. So that might be a good way to learn/teach the mechanics of "you just got X more experience points; now open up inventory and you can use those to upgrade one of your powers" found in many games.

You might want to try player vs player fighting games - sometimes you want to play against each other. And she could practice combo skills solo against the machine while you're doing something else - making future play more satisfying than just random button-mashing. Mortal Kombat vs. DC is a great one.

For FPS games, you might want to start out on "lighter" games before diving into things like GoW which can get dull if it's your first time with that kind of game. There's a sorta-beginner FPS you can probably find in bargain bins called Perfect Dark Zero. That's how an ex of mine learned to play shooters both solo and coop; the game can be played single player or coop as split-screen (over/under) so you can either play together or either of you can practice.

I've never really played sports games much; I'll let the female gamers opine on whether they might be more fun or not.
posted by bartleby at 2:16 PM on October 17, 2009

I wouldn't recommend Street Fighter for Xbox- it's awful to play on that controller. It's better suited to Play Station. Also, for a fun sort of 'pick up' game, you might want to try out Beautiful Katamari. You can download the demo from Xbox live marketplace.
posted by sunshinesky at 2:18 PM on October 17, 2009

The Lego games are fantastic, but to add to pazazygeek's comment - there is a "Complete Saga" version of the Lego Star Wars game with all 6 movies included, and Indiana Jones is being re-issued with the 4th movie, plus a bunch of reworkings of the original game's levels, so I'd wait for that.

Another great co-op game for us was Eternal Sonata - a non-cliched story loosely based around the life of Chopin (!), colorful characters and environments, and two-player drop-in co-op with fairly mindless button-mashing combat. My wife has never played a JRPG and probably never will again, but we played through the entire thing together last winter.
posted by Gortuk at 2:24 PM on October 17, 2009

I'm a FPS fan - I play Halo and COD regularly. My girlfriend is a casual gamer - she was always interested in games like Mario Kart and Lego Star Wars.

We have a good time playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance together. Even though it's a superhero game the story mode is interesting enough for her, and she likes to complete all the side quests. She likes the overhead camera angle as well... she doesn't like FPS games as the cause her to lose her bearings and get confused as to which direction she's headed.
posted by tomorama at 2:26 PM on October 17, 2009


I'm a really lazy gamer, I basically only game at all because my housemates just happen to have X-Boxes lying around, and while there are good games and bad games, the one game I literally can not imagine someone not liking? Is the new Batman Arkham Asylum game. I'm afraid it doesn't really fulfill all of your requirements, as it's one player and doesn't go online as far as I know, but it fulfills a deep rooted platforming love that it sounds like would be to your tastes.

posted by emperor.seamus at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2009

My girlfriend really likes the Katamari games. Beautiful Katamari is out for the 360, and it's a pretty great game.
posted by gchucky at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2009

I guess I am in the absolute minority by voicing my fondness for the excellent Project Gotham Racing games on the X-Box. The simulations are excellent and learning to steer with your left thumb is certainly challenging to say the least.
posted by bz at 4:47 PM on October 17, 2009

My husband and I like playing Trials HD (it's one of the downloadable titles). It's a high-energy motorcycle obstacle course with amazing scenery and violent tongue-in-cheek wipeouts. Like your girlfriend, I'm bored by long games with intricate plots, but I can play this game for hours. It's not a 2-person game, but we pass the controller back and forth--and it's still fun to watch the other person play.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 4:50 PM on October 17, 2009

Saints Row 2 is a single player game (with online co-op if you have any friends with a 360) that is extremely underrated. It can be fun to watch even if you aren't playing, too. Often dismissed as a Grand Theft Auto clone, it's really its own game... it just has a lot more fun and humor than GTA does. Plus, there's the fun of designing your own avatar, buying clothes for it, stealing cars and customizing them in the auto shop, and buying various apartments/condos around town. Heck, you can even go streaking! I've played this game for probably forty hours or more and I'm still finding things to do. It's just tremendous fun after a rough day at work to be able to grab a rocket launcher and go crazy in the city.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:50 PM on October 17, 2009

I'm a girl gamer, though mostly PC rather than console, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

I've always preferred games that require more thought than finger dexterity. I enjoy turn-based games like the Final Fantasy series or some of the LoTR games. I also like the Tomb Raider games, and have enjoyed watching/trading off play on any of the Grand Theft Autos.
posted by tryniti at 5:10 PM on October 17, 2009

Seconding the Trials HD mention (especially since I'm the husband she mentioned), but also throwing in the downloadable Castle Crashers as a good bit of co-op plaforming fun, and Portal for an engrossing puzzler that's fun to play together (not co-op play together, just both of you chiming in). Portal is part of The Orange Box, the ZOMG GREATEST GAMING BARGAIN EVAR ($20 for Portal, Half Life 2 and its two quasi-sequels, and Team Fortress 2, which is loved to no end by MeFites). And millionthing the Lego games--though I thought Star Wars was more fun. We tried Army of Two, thanks to MeFi recommendations, but my wife wasn't a fan (she was okay with Halo 3, though).

Oh, and quick caveat: we loved the first Marvel Ulitmate Alliance (co-op!), but pretty much hated the recent sequel. Good writing, but el stinko gameplay.
posted by LDL_Plackenfatz at 5:12 PM on October 17, 2009

i would second marvel ultimate alliance, portal, and some of the arcade games. castle crashers is awesome. if she is more of the nintendo type casual player, maybe do kingdom for keflings or something along those lines.

does she like shooters? halo 3 multiplayer and the new odst firefight might be good for her. if she finds gears of war boring, why? is it the game play? the story? etc? co-oping any game can definitely make it more fun. isn't fable 2 co-op? (i've played it, but not with anyone so i can't remember).

if you have XBL, have her download some demos and see what she's into. all the arcade games have them.
posted by itsacover at 5:24 PM on October 17, 2009

My wife likes Burnout Paradise. She prefers games that you can instantly get into and that are bright and colourful, so she also likes Katamari. There are some games we both played the crap out of on other consoles, that aren't on the 360 - which is damn annoying - if actual versions or real close clones of SSX Tricky, Champions of Norrath or Gauntlet were available on the 360 we'd be all over them. Sadly, most of the two-player games we liked don't exist in the same visual format now that there's all this online rubbish. The "local multiplayer" feature is constrained to a very few games now - and half the time they take the form of distracting split-screen viewpoints rather than both players on the same screen. The Lego games are okay if you're five, I guess. Too Human would have been brilliant IF it supported local multiplayer. Marvel Ultimate Alliance just has too much going on, plus being forced to play with four players on screen, even if there's only two humans controlling, is confusing as hell. Grand Theft Auto was fun for her for a little while, but basically all she did was beat the shit out of cops, then steal their cars and drive around giggling like a spastic and knocking pedestrians into the middle of next week until the FBI cornered her and took her down. No mission solving at all.

She and I both liked the Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank games on the PS2. To that end, I'd have to agree with Bartleby with the "I'll play then you play" thing - we've done that with several games in the past (such as J&D and R&C) and it's worked well in the past. However, typically these days it ends with the wife dozing off twenty minutes into my play session though.

I'd avoid the shooters like Halo etc. unless you're married to GI Jane. And if you're going to check out turn-based rubbish (singularly my most-hated genre), good luck to you.
posted by tra at 6:50 PM on October 17, 2009

BTW, I know this is all someone else's question, but I'd like to take time out to thank people for pointing to Batman Arkham Asylum, I might actually go rent and try that one to see if it can spark something out of our otherwise flaccid gaming relationship these days.
posted by tra at 6:53 PM on October 17, 2009

Response by poster: Went to Gamestop today and picked up Madden 10 (new $59) and Lego Indiana Jones (used $9.99). Good times have already been had, more good times on the way.

All of the positive reactions to Batman make me want to go get it and so I shall.

Probably also pick up Half-Life Orange Box. I loved playing that on PC and will probably lose months of my life playing it on XBL. =)
posted by ben242 at 7:06 PM on October 17, 2009

Earth Defence Force 2017.

For simplistic, retarded co-op fun.

Eurogamer review and retrospective. Replayability is limited to how much fun you find the game, it does get a little repetitive but it's still my most played game: 50+ hours in co-op and a similar amount solo.
No online play, though. For that you may try Left 4 Dead, but there's a sequel coming out soon, so you may want to wait for that.

Regarding The Orange Box, AFAIK Valve hasn't yet released the Team Fortress 2 updates for the 360 version; your experience may differ from what you were used to in the PC.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:01 AM on October 18, 2009

I have to second EDF 2017. It's great multiplayer
posted by defcom1 at 7:55 PM on October 18, 2009

Girl gamer here. Got into it about 18 months ago. I like sandbox games for myself, crackdown, assassin's creed, GTA, fallout 3 and viva pinata. When I play with my husband I like anything where I can use a sniper rifle. So that made Gears of War okay but I really liked the rainbow 6 games. The sniper rifle let's me think about my moves and not be rushed. I hate fps games that are frantic with lots of fast moves and close fights (I use my old mortal kombat trick of smashing all keys as fast as possible until everything is dead)
posted by saradarlin at 2:34 AM on October 20, 2009

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