The Xbox may be most well-known for being the first real step toward the modern online console service, and a franchise that reads “olah” when spelled backwards. But there are a lot of other quality titles found on the platform. Many of Xbox titles went hand-in-hand with a PC version, so in this entry we’re making the exception of allowing Xbox/PC titles instead of simply exclusive or timed exclusive software.
Hit the jump to find out what titles were picked out by TSG’s staff as some of the best for the platform.
Trenched, or Iron Brigade as the original title was changed to (it’s still called Trenched in the US until November 30th, when it releases in Europe), is yet another stylized title in the portfolio of developer Double Fine Games. It takes the third person shooter genre and tilts it on its ear, adding in strong tower defense elements as your mechanized mobile armor, called a trench, stands guard against waves of various televised monstrosities, the pawns of two altered geniuses locked in battle with the fate of the world on the line. So is their arcade offering a blast, or is Iron Brigade shooting blanks?
In my Panzer Dragoon Saga retrospective, I described the battle system as “cinematic”. This seems like a very vague term but its message is simple: to demonstrate exciting action in a way to excite the player. Video games have been trying to accomplish this for decades through general absurdity of the situation (Bionic Commando), interjecting huge exposition dumps to make the game more atmospheric (Metal Gear Solid) or even going as far as to creating levels which replicate those found in adventure movies (the Uncharted series). Even though this trend has been omnipresent ever since the original Donkey Kong, Squaresoft has long been considered the pioneers of this tend with Final Fantasy 7 being described as the first video game that make this type of narrative choice into a possible reality (whether this is true or not is debatable). The biggest advocate of this trend were Squaresoft themselves, who used the Playstation’s processing power to tell narratives ranging from love stories (FFVIII), light-hearted escapades (FFIX) to bizarre FanFiction! (Kingdom Hearts). While some claim that Squaresoft has sold out their company from making beloved heart warming games back in the SNES era to cut scene heavy boredom simulators (FFXIII), they shall forever be remembered as creating the most cinematic video game of all time: Einhander: Or how I learnt to stop worrying and have more tracking shots than an Antonioni film.