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Raptor Picks 2014 – XBox 360

Don Parsons / January 13, 2015 at 12:00 PM / Gaming, Opinions

The Xbox 360 was in many ways the more relevant of the last-gen devices in 2014. With the Xbox One failing to gain wide spread acceptance and a limited collection of exclusives, the Xbox 360 had to carry more of the load. This isn’t uncommon in the first year of a new console’s life, and the XBox One’s sales in the holiday season, as well as a more ambitious line up in 2015, should help the new console take the lead.

Still, the 360 had a solid year with plenty of good games released on it during the transitional year. Its solid architecture and renowned controller help it hold its ground even with few exclusives. In fact none of our top 5 for the Xbox 360 were exclusives but that doesn’t change the fact that there were plenty of games for the TechRaptor staff to pick from. — Don Parsons

Dark Souls II

Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls II is the sequel to 2011’s surprise hit Dark Souls. Following up on a game that gained From Software notability and broke into the collective gaming consciousness was going to be difficult, but much like it tasks players, Dark Souls II was willing to try. While other series may release the same game over and over, the Souls series has always prided itself on playing with its mechanics while staying true to its goals and soul.

The difficulty you expect is here, and even if some of the boss battles are a little bit less imaginative than past years, they are still challenging. Dark Souls II continues as well to teach everyone about story telling through exploration, with some fantastic art design as well. Just remember the slogan of the series isn’t really praise the sun, but instead prepare to die! — Don Parsons

Currently Available on: Amazon (Physical Only).

Titanfall

titanfall

Although the 360 wasn’t the lead platform for Titanfall, that doesn’t mean this version of the game was any less complete. The fundamental mechanics of the multiplayer remain consistent for all platforms without any major sacrifices made. This particular version of the game allows those sitting on the fence about next gen or even starting PC gaming to get a taste before jumping from the seventh generation consoles.

The frantic multiplayer is Titanfall’s biggest draw since it takes the leveling system of the Call of Duty franchise and mixes it with enhanced mobility. Additionally, there are the giant mechs called ‘titans’, which work as a mixture of power ups and time-released perks. Kills reduce the amount of time between titan constructions for individual players. The only downside to the title is that it is online multiplayer only at this time. Barring patches with single player content, the longevity of this version is directly connected to life of the associated servers. — Matt M.

Currently Available on: Amazon (Physical Only).

Fable: Anniversary Edition

Fable Anniversary

Many games aim to be serious, and about a Serious Matter. Fable was never that, instead it’s a classic hero’s tale told with whimsy and lightheartedness. The Anniversary Edition changes none of that, instead coming in and updating the textures and assets throughout the game. It also makes a few changes to some of the issues of the original, updating the poor controls to the simpler ones of the later Fables, though not everything got upgraded. It is a bit sad that the new engine they used muted some of the bright colors of Albion, but on the whole the improved assets are nice. Fable: Anniversary Edition takes us on a nice, whimsical trip to a world that was maybe judged too harshly at first by the grandiose promises of its creator. — Don Parsons

Currently Available on: Amazon (Physical only).

Wolfenstein: The New Order

wolfenstein

There is always a fear of content being cut from versions of games on older hardware when the console transition is in place. That is certainly not the case for Wolfenstein: The New Order, shipping on an astonishing four discs for the 360 to bring it close to the 47 GB size of the game on other platforms. Machine Games didn’t sacrifice gameplay to achieve the same cinematic experiences on the newer gen and PC versions of the title. Some of the textures are a bit rough, yet the core experience is still entirely present.

It’s one of the best, if not the best, first person shooter titles of the year with nothing more than single player modes to its name. Collectibles and an alternate timeline give the game immediate replayability. The story is perhaps the most emotionally investing story possible for a game that includes a Nazi moonbase and killer Nazi robots. Plus, the ‘dual wield weapons’ mechanic allows for the majesty of double sniper rifles and double automatic shotguns. What is the purpose of double sniper rifles? It’s simple: the alternate fire mode of the sniper rifle is a laser assault rifle. That fact should say a lot about the tone. — Matt M.

Currently Available on: Amazon (Physical only)

Walking Dead Season 2

walking dead

Cross-game functionality is a concept that has been explored in many ways over the years with mixed results. For every Sonic 3 and Knuckles you have multiple games that end like Mass Effect 3. Joking aside, Walking Dead Season 2 relies on decisions made in Season 1 and the 400 Days DLC to craft a narrative of consequences for earlier decisions. It is entirely possible to play the game without playing the prior title for whatever reason, but the full experience depends on personal choices.

The player assumes control of Clementine after the events of Season 1 in a desperate attempt to survive in zombie-infested territory. She is forced to see just how harsh the new world is over the course of the five episodes contained in the season. Just like in Season 1, there are major decisions throughout that will affect the next season. This is a must play for fans of the previous title and the source material. — Matt M.

Currently Available on: Amazon (Physical only)

Runner Up: The Wolf Among Us

Wolf Among Us

Telltale has a unique talent when it comes to adapting comic books to adventure games, with this adaptation of Bill Willingham’s Fables being no exception. This game sees the player assume control of ‘Bigby Wolf’, a reformed version of the Big Bad Wolf, in a crime thriller that serves as a prequel to the comic series. For the uninitiated, Fables is a comic where the various characters from fairy tales are forced to blend in with contemporary New York City.

Bigby’s role as the sheriff of this group is tested to its limits once various characters turn up dead in grotesque ways. Those familiar with other Telltale games will be no strangers to the gameplay style, but what makes this title stand out is the LA Noire-esque dialogue trees. Unraveling the entire story requires more than just snap judgments and attempts at intimidation. The nature of the game as a prequel makes The Wolf Among Us extremely approachable for those who have no prior knowledge of the comic series as well as a launching point if they want to read more about the characters in this universe. — Matt M.

Currently Available on: Amazon (Physical only)

Top Pick: South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth

There is a stigma to licensed games as blatant cashgrabs that ultimately prove to be major disappointments. What sets The Stick of Truth apart from even the prior licensed games bearing the South Park license is the amount of involvement that Matt Stone and Trey Parker had in the production of the game. The collapse of THQ wasn’t enough to kill this game and neither was the unfortunate censorship in some countries.

The Stick of Truth copies the aesthetic of the show perfectly to achieve total immersion. Fantasy game tropes are mocked to no end juxtaposed with the city of South Park itself. Combat plays very much like Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door in the form of analog special attacks that reward player skill. There are countless references littered all over the game for longtime fans of the show such as Chinpokomon serving the role of ‘pointless collectible for an achievement’. The writing throughout is solid and the ultimate conclusion manages to write the player character out in the only appropriate fashion. That act is a joke on its own because of the countless offscreen status quo resets that the series has between episodes. — Matt M.


And that’s how we saw the Xbox 360 this year. With the twilight years for the console coming, it had a mixture of story-centric games and action games that helped give it a pretty good year.


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.