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The 20 best Xbox games of all time

The 20 best Xbox games of all time

The 20 best Xbox games of all time

Microsoft's first console was a surprise when it released in 2001 - not just because the company was best known for Windows and Excel documents, but also because it was a phenomenal machine that gave the world-conquering PS2 a run for its money.

While it won't go down in history as winning that particular battle, it will go down as having some absolutely fantastic games. Here are 20 of our top picks.

Burnout 3: Takedown

One of the best pure-arcade racers ever made (crashing a supercar has never been this much fun), Burnout 3 was at its best on the Xbox.

Sure, there've been many others in the series since, but for us, this is still the pinnacle.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

A weird steampunk-shaped kind-of Second World War aerial shooter, Crimson Skies might have put some off by just being a bit odd.

Anyone who stuck with it will have found a brilliant combat experience hiding within. 


A delightfully British RPG which allowed you to really take hold of your good/bad instincts, Fable is still a true classic that never got the sequel it deserved.

Sadly Lionhead, creators of Fable, were shut down recently, so there won't be any more in the series for the forseeable future. Sad face. 

Project Gotham Racing 2

A brilliant driving game that helped change up the format with ingenious introduction of a karma mechanic; meaning fancy driving rewarded you more. It was, and is, ace.

We haven't seen a PGR since Microsoft shut down the studio making them - but we'll always have PGR2 to remind us of how excellent this series was.

Conker: Live and Reloaded

It looks cutesy, but Conker is a decidedly adult affair - well, immature at least, but adult in themes.

Of course it also helps that it's a fun platformer, as well as being puerile/immature/hilarious. 

Jade Empire

A total one-off, Jade Empire mixed Oriental influences with the classic Bioware RPG gameplay - oh, and some arcade shoot-'em-up sections - to create this wonder.

There's nothing else quite like it - a superb martial arts RPG.

Halo 2

The Xbox made shooters something to care about for the console crowd, and Halo 2 showed what could be done in the FPS genre.

Okay, so the ending was a hot mess, but we can get over that now... can't we?


A weird, wonderful and genuinely lol-inducing platformer, Psychonauts basically did knacker-all on Xbox where it was originally released.

Fortunately, it became a cult classic after fans wouldn't shut up about it, so there's actually a sequel happening now.

Phantom Dust

Phantom Dust is something of a cult classic on the Xbox – a mix of adventure, RPG, card battling and insanity, it’s not widely known – but those who know it, love it.

A remake was meant to come to Xbox One, but that’s sort of... not happened.

Forza Motorsport

They're up to Forza 6 now, but the original game - while it might show its age in the visuals department - does still hold up.

After all, once you've got the actual racing bits right, the rest of it's just window dressing.

Ninja Gaiden

One of the hardest games on Xbox, Ninja Gaiden was also one of the prettiest. Weird, huh.

Some could never get on with its uncompromising difficulty, but those who endured were rewarded with a true great.

The Warriors

One of the oddest choices for a film tie-in - coming decades after the film release as it did - The Warriors is actually... well, great. They even brought in some of the original actors to record the voice parts.

It's like a (slightly more) modern Streets of Rage, with more 70s style and Baseball Furies.

The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind

One of the nerdiest games ever made, but also one of the most engrossing, Morrowind is something you either ran a mile from or played for 200 hours.

It was so weird to get such a PC-flavoured game on Xbox back in the day, but we're eternally grateful, as it was fantastic.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

This was expected to be ignorable at best back in 2003, but it ended up being one of the bar-raisers for gaming as a whole.

It's so good you could go back to the original, right now, and still have a shedload of fun.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

Another cult classic, Stranger's Wrath came out, wasn't hyped and disappeared without a trace - despite those who played it never shutting up about it.

And like Psychonauts, Stranger's Wrath made a comeback thanks to those passionate fans. And rightly so, because it deserves some spotlight. 

Panzer Dragoon Orta

An on-rails shooter – in that the game took you through like a fairground ride – it might have been odd, but Panzer Dragoon Orta was fantastic fun nonetheless.

More a spectacle than a game, it’s aged incredibly well – even better than the Xbox One’s Crimson Dragon, the spiritual successor.

Star Wars: Republic Commando

What happens when you cross Rainbow Six with Star Wars? Republic Commando, that's what.

Controlling your team of clone troopers in this semi-strategic shooter was a joy. One of the best Star Wars games of all time, no doubt.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Swiftly followed by the greatest Star Wars game of all time. You could go so far to the Dark Side that you forced your Wookiee companion to kill his lifelong friend just because he owes you a blood oath.

Yep, KOTOR is amazing.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

You'd think a movie tie-in starring Vin Diesel of all people would be pump (given that he also helped make it), but instead it's one of the best games ever made. Huh.

A mix of stealth and brutal melee combat, Riddick's game was - and is - a marvel of style and substance perfectly mashed together.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

While it starts out as a brilliant play on the Boyz n the Hood-style of movie, in game form, San Andreas really hits its stride when it lets you fly a jetpack around the countryside as you hunt for Bigfoot.

He's not there, but you can try.