overlooked games on the 360
January 7, 2012 9:08 PM   Subscribe

What are some hidden xbox 360 games?

I got a used 360 after the holidays. I know which games I really like and which ones I don't. I'd like recommendations on games from the console's long lifespan that I may not have heard of or overlooked.

Most of these I played on a friends console, not having one yet!
And I'm waiting for the GOTY Skyrim, cuz I'm cheap.

Deus Ex: HR
Fallout 3
Fallout New Vegas
Bionic Commando

Not my thing but pretty cool:
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
I guess the Call of Duty campaigns are kinda cool, but too short and not enough choices/"rpg elements"/exploration

Didn't like:
that Wolverine game
that jetpack/rocketeer game
Gears of War

My lady friend says "you like to hide and you like landscapes and sneaking around." I also like the shooting and the stabbing.

So, looking for more overlooked and/or interesting but flawed games on the slower side but still appeal to my inner 12 yr old.
posted by kittensofthenight to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (44 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: er, not having one until now I mean.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:09 PM on January 7, 2012

Hiding, sneaking, shooting and stabbing sounds like the Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell games. Have you played any of those? I wouldn't call those overlooked, but maybe you haven't played them?
posted by peep at 9:16 PM on January 7, 2012

I don't see Mass Effect 2 on your list, though it's hardly an obscure or overlooked title. It's a great sci-fi game with RPG and first person shooting elements.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:16 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Batman arkham asylum (hiding and sneaking around is 70% of it) is great, as is it's sequel (I like you am waiting for GOTY discount to get arkham city.) read the reviews, it's a GREAT game.
posted by oblio_one at 9:21 PM on January 7, 2012

If you like hiding and sneaking, I'd highly recommend Batman: Arkham Asylum. There's no stabbing or shooting (well, for you--Batman's not big on killing people), but the combat is still some of the most fun I've had with hand-to-hand in a video game. You can pick it up for ~$20 these days, and if you like it it's a no-brainer to hop straight into the sequel, Arkham City.

On preview: Yep, just as oblio_one said. There are also several moments where you really get a sense of "Yep, I'm Batman." This may or may not count as a perk for you.
posted by jdherg at 9:24 PM on January 7, 2012

I don't know about overlooked, but here are some things you should probably play:

I will second Mass Effect 2, and actually any Bioware. (Mass Effect, Dragon Age). My only recommendation would be that you really may want to play Mass Effect 1. It's not required, but it will really help. 2 is better, though.

If you like hiding and sneaking, then Splinter Cell may indeed be a good choice, but I'd start with something more like Batman: Arkham Asylum or possibly the Assassin's Creed series.

Bioshock is a little more of an FPS than Deus Ex, but has some of the same "building a playstyle" feel. It's also completely awesome. Skip Bioshock 2, though.
posted by tau_ceti at 9:28 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you played Oblivion? It's by Bethesda, the same folks who brought you Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Skyrim, all of which I've played and loved.

You say you're waiting for GOTY Skyrim. If you do decide that Oblivion is on your Must Play list, I would personally advise you to play Oblivion before Skyrim for maximum enjoyment. In my experience, Skyrim is very much Oblivion 2.0. I think playing Oblivion would be a frustrating experience after getting used to the gameplay improvements in Skyrim.

(This being said, you played Fallout 3 and New Vegas, which used essentially the same engine as Oblivion with similar gameplay improvements, so you'd experience some of the frustration no matter what ... but I still think it would be totally worth it!)

Nthing Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2. Both awesome games. And I agree with tau_ceti that it helps to play them in order.

Red Dead Redemption isn't an RPG, but it's got landscapes and is very "sandbox-y" like the Fallout and New Vegas (open world, quests and the like, etc.).

I also loved Bioshock and Bioshock 2 — different than the RPG-type games, more FPS, much more linear in their storylines, but I thought they were both fantastic.
posted by hypotheticole at 9:34 PM on January 7, 2012

If you like Sneaking there's Sneak King, an advergame by Burger King. You can probably find a copy for....pennies.
posted by hellojed at 9:36 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Actually, I'm going to toss a couple more your way since you specify "Interesting but flawed":

Alan Wake - Imagine if Stephen King made a videogame about himself getting trapped in one of his own stories. The mechanics are ok if not great and the story is a bit all over the place, but it's got a few good ideas and cool moments.

Fable series - I really just don't care for Fable, but if you like RPGs, you may want to give it a quick whirl to see if it's more your style.

Dead Rising series - Dead Rising 1 is pretty much Day of the Dead - The Game. You and a handful of other survivors are trapped in a mall with a bazillion zombies. There's plenty to explore and you can make your own weapons, etc. The difficulty curve can be crazy at times, though, and it can get a bit tedious to wade through the zombies at points. I haven't played 2, but I have heard it smoothed out some of the rougher edges, so maybe try that one first?

Hitman series - If you really want to sneak, start here.
posted by tau_ceti at 9:39 PM on January 7, 2012

If you like exploration, give Shadow Complex a whirl. It's a downloadable Metroid-ish game that's very well designed.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:45 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by driley at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2012

Response by poster: Hmm, I never thought about trying metal gear or splinter cell. I don't think I even played MGS2, never liked the controls. What's the best game in the splinter cell series? Aren't there quite a number of them?

I think I may have stressed the sneaking, but what I really meant was a physical space to explore. I have played the first 10 mins of bioshock, and I will indeed pick that one up. Played System Shock 2 this fall and loved it.

How does control and combat in Red Dead Redemption feel? I really hate the controls in all of the 3d GTA games.

Has anyone played Dark Messiah of Might and Magic?
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:51 PM on January 7, 2012

Yeah, Shadow Complex. It's an "arcade" title, like $15 I think? Way bigger, better graphics, etc, than a typical arcade title.
posted by madmethods at 10:00 PM on January 7, 2012

Since we're talking about the 360 specifically, your Splinter Cell options are somewhat limited. Conviction is the most recent, but it wasn't as well-received as the older ones.

Red Dead Redemption is more or less the same as GTA in terms of combat and control. The story and setting is great, the gameplay...eh.

Dark Messiah was very poorly reviewed, and my sense was that it was if you made a game out of just the combat pieces of Oblivion. You'll be much better off with Oblivion.
posted by tau_ceti at 10:10 PM on January 7, 2012

Psychonauts (it's an old school Xbox game, but you can get it from arcade)
posted by empath at 10:33 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Dragon Age 1 (but not 2)

The Orange Box is an absolute must buy (it includes Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 and Portal
posted by empath at 10:34 PM on January 7, 2012

Ummm... What about Call of Duty Spec Ops missions (In CoD MW2 and MW3?) ( I know you said the campaign is too short)

They are VERY interesting and fun to play. If you like sneaking and stabbing, you should try survival spec ops on MW3.

Also, have you played CoD multiplayer? Or are you specifically an offline player?

Also, how about Homefront?
posted by Master Gunner at 11:24 PM on January 7, 2012

If you at all like pinball, the Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection is great, as will be the upcoming Pinball Arcade on XBLA (same devs, enhanced physics, tables from all major makers).
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 11:49 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm going to second Hitman. In particular, go for Hitman: Blood Money, which is far and away the best in the series in terms of gameplay. Go through the whole game once to get to grips with it, then do it again just trying to have fun. And then again to get perfect rankings. And then a fourth time just for the hell of it.... I've played it on and off for YEARS, if that's any indication of how much fun it can be. You may have trouble finding a copy by now, but I imagine Amazon can provide.

(There's also a new Hitman game coming out sometime next year, so this is the ideal time to get into the series!)
posted by anaximander at 12:21 AM on January 8, 2012

Oh, and if you're at all interested in horror, the Silent Hill HD collection comes out very soon. It's a compilation HD remake of Silent Hill 2 and 3, which are two of the best horror games ever made. Fair warning: they WILL keep you up at night.
posted by anaximander at 12:22 AM on January 8, 2012

Dead Island might be more to your run around landscapes and level up type experience liking. Basically you smash zombies with found implements on a tropical resort. The 1st person is melee is remarkably good too. When you swing that oar into that zombie skull it really feels like there's momentum in the swing.

You should really try the Modern Warfare branch of the Call of duty family, its really the most polished and professional thing I've ever seen, even if you're not a huge FPS guy. All three games are basically like interactive extremely high budget movies.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:23 AM on January 8, 2012

Oh, and Castle Crashers. I can't highlight that enough. Its a modern remake of an old style beat em up with rpg aspects. Incredibly fun for like $8 on the market.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:28 AM on January 8, 2012

The first Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is pretty great fun. The second one is unfortunately complete rubbish. Anyway, it's a bash-'em-up with RPG elements and loads of unlocks and secrets and cool stuff like that.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:18 AM on January 8, 2012

I am shocked.. SHOCKED.. nobody has said Borderlands yet.

Nicely paced RPG/FPS, lots of DLC, tons of weapons. It was one of my favorites from 2010 and sold enough to warrant a sequel later this year.
posted by AloneOssifer at 5:32 AM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Get EDF 2017 right now.

You ask for overlooked so I'll avoid obvious suggestions like Dark Souls:
- Skip Castle Crashers and go straight for Guardian Heroes
- Deadly Premonition (tied with EDF 2017 for my favourite game this generation)
posted by Bangaioh at 5:53 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't hold my breath for Skyrim GOTY -- we're probably 2 years away from that, at best. Get it now, enjoy it, and don't fret about maybe paying for DLC sometime in the future -- remember, none has even been announced yet.

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a solid first person action RPG. It's linear, however.

Metal Gear is a Playstation-exclusive franchise.
posted by ellF at 6:13 AM on January 8, 2012

Best answer: If you like hiding, sneaking, exploration, and landscapes you definitely should try the Assassin's Creed series. Skip the first game, which had some significant flaws that got worked out in later releases. AC: Brotherhood and AC:Revelations both include multiplayer which is amazing if you like strategy and thinking with your online play. The Assassin's Creed series isn't really 'overlooked' but the quality of the multiplayer seems to be.
posted by Gortuk at 6:16 AM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you like exploring a physical space, you absolutely have to check out Just Cause 2 (I'd recommend jumping straight in there – I believe the first was fairly forgettable, but I'm happy for someone to correct me). You get an unbelievably enormous tropical island to explore, and it can be gobsmackingly gorgeous. Also, infinite parachutes and helicopter grappling hooks.

A couple more games that emphasise exploring/moving through an environment, off the top of my game collection: Borderlands, the Assassin's Creed series, Crackdown, the 2008 Prince of Persia game (in fact, this last one pretty much strips away anything that isn't moving through the environment, in an interesting way that at least 50% of people hated).

I'd definitely second EDF 2017, also. For an absolutely terrible game, it's a brilliant game.
posted by dudekiller at 6:20 AM on January 8, 2012

ellF: Metal Gear is a Playstation-exclusive franchise."

Lies and trickery, I say! The first and fourth games are exclusive to Sony systems, but the "HD Collection," including MGS2, 3 and Peace Walker, is on the 360, and Metal Gear Rising will be a multiplatform release, whenever they finally get around to finishing it (current estimate: 2077).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:03 AM on January 8, 2012

I stand corrected! Listen to Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish, for he/she/it is wise and generous.
posted by ellF at 7:11 AM on January 8, 2012

Nthing Batman and Assassin's Creed (all of them). Sneaking, landscape, stabbing/beating with batarangs for hundreds of hours and as a bonus you get a halfway decent plot.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:39 AM on January 8, 2012

LIMBO. Also, play Oblivion now.
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on January 8, 2012

If you're looking for "interesting but [seriously] flawed," and you're open to weird experiences, Deadly Premonition is definitely the bizarre b-move cult game of your dreams.
posted by naju at 1:27 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I'd just watch the supergreatfriend let's play rather than actually play deadly premonition.
posted by empath at 1:36 PM on January 8, 2012

Oh, Deadly Premonition! So hilarious to watch, but sort of excruciating to play.

If you happen to get BioShock 2, do pick up the Minerva's Den DLC -- I worked on both, so I'm biased, but I'm also really proud of Minerva's Den. They're both cheap now! I think!

Borderlands is super fun and can be great couch co-op, if you're into such things. Also seconding (or whatever) Crackdown 1 or 2 -- the movement alone is a blast.

And then in kinda-not-what-you-asked-for news, Costume Quest and Stacking are damned enjoyable and atmospheric. XBLA.
posted by zusty at 3:05 PM on January 8, 2012

I found Costume Quest to be oddly charming and silly fun. Caution: do not download Grubbins on Ice until *after* you have finished Costume Quest - there's a bug with the french fry costume that apparently shows up if you've got Grubbins on Ice on the system as well. (I ran into it and had to delete Grubbins and then run thru the regular Costume Quest game from the beginning again to get past the french fry costume part.)
posted by rmd1023 at 3:59 PM on January 8, 2012

The game you need most is Metro 2033.

Takes place in Moscow in 2033, after the bombs have been dropped. You're a tunnel rat and have to navigate both the dark subway tunnels and the bombed-out city above. Lots of hiding and stealth killing, interspersed with some good shooting and some awesome rail levels. The exploring is even pretty good for a mostly linear game. My favorite level takes place in this huge decaying library.

Style-wise, it's a good hybrid between a post-apocalyptic FPS and a survival horror. Not merely a shooter because there are lots of sci-fi monsters to fight and a handful of scares. But not too survival horror because you have a decent arsenal and plenty of ammo. It's no Silent Hill.

Oh, and it's originally a Russian game so it's kinda funky tonally.

You would also like:
Half Life 2. The Gravity Gun is my second favorite game weapon ever, right behind the hidden blade in AC.
Alpha Protocol wasn't perfect but I had fun with it.

And if you like survival horror
Condemned: Bloodshot
Condemned: Criminal Origins.
and The Thing. Not perfect but still fun.

Nthing Alan Wake, though it was flawed and the novel-within-the-game was weak. I dig atmospheric games with exploring too and AW gets it done.

Also nthing the Hitman series. My favorite game franchise of all time. Bar none.
posted by world b free at 4:58 PM on January 8, 2012

If you can get past the horrible controls, Deadly Premonition is somewhat of an extraordinary gem. Especially if you enjoy real-time beard growth...
posted by czytm at 5:26 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ctrl+F The Darkness not found. One of the hidden gems of this generation, definitely. It's an FPS with extra cool mechanics, has a great story and you can just pootle about doing your own thing for a good portion of it. And it's extremely inexpensive these days, too.
posted by daysocks at 5:42 PM on January 8, 2012

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West .

check - "You like to hide and you like landscapes and sneaking around."
check - "I also like the shooting and the stabbing. "

Available sub-20 dollars at this point. Check out the DLC "pigsy's perfect 10" for your continued enrichment.
posted by prithee at 5:51 AM on January 9, 2012

Dark Souls is not overlooked but it's GOTY for many, many people and the vast majority have never played it. You have to sneak and be very careful or else you'll get crushed (You'll get crushed anyway but not as much as most enemies can one or two-hit you if you aren't careful). Tons of stabbing. Backstabs, riposte, inching forward to not aggro two guys. Two guys will often kill you.

It's a shame that Demon's Soul and ICO/Shadow of the Colossus is for the PS3, that would be right up your alley.

If you like sneaking and stabbing why not look at the COD alternative, BF3? One of my favorite things to do in that game is set up as a recon with a shotgun and motion sensor and shoot/stab guys that are trying to sneak in buildings.
posted by penguinkeys at 12:34 PM on January 9, 2012

My partner, whose list of likes and dislikes looks exactly like yours, loves the Assassin's Creed games (as recommended above), and is currently gleefully bashing his way through Hogwarts in Lego Harry Potter. (And also highly recommends the other Lego [X] games, as long as you're familiar with the source material - once you run through the bits of plot there are, it opens up free play so you can explore at will.)

He also loves the Metroid series, but I haven't watched him play enough of it (I get seasick easily) to know if it fits your criteria, and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
posted by telophase at 2:02 PM on January 9, 2012

Thirding Deadly Premonition. What a great game, despite some very weird flaws. It cribs heavily from Twin Peaks, if that means anything to you.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 2:43 PM on January 9, 2012

Best answer: If you liked Braid, you'll probably love Myst-esque spiritual sequel The Witness when it comes out later this year. Solving subtle puzzles on a luscious 3D paradise island full of enigmatic architecture... I can't wait, myself.

dudekiller: "If you like exploring a physical space, you absolutely have to check out Just Cause 2 (I'd recommend jumping straight in there – I believe the first was fairly forgettable, but I'm happy for someone to correct me). You get an unbelievably enormous tropical island to explore, and it can be gobsmackingly gorgeous. Also, infinite parachutes and helicopter grappling hooks."

I see this was marked a best answer -- I haven't played it myself, but I hear Saint's Row 2 is very similar to Just Cause in terms of whackadoodle crazy-awesome fun in a sandbox setting.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:33 PM on January 12, 2012

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