Well not best of the best but good games, which one to choose?
Someone asked me the other day "I'm getting a Xbox 360 what games should I pick up for it?" Well there's never one game that everyone would agree on although I think these are the select few that many, many people can agree that are the games to pick up if you have a Xbox 360 (not necessarily exclusives either). It's a bit of a read but totally worth it. In no particular order:
Mass Effect 2 - Take the world that was established by Bioware, heavily influenced off of best known universes and lore from Star Wars/Star Trek, in Mass Effect 1 and expand it to reveal a more insidious enemies, questionable allies, and plot. Throw away the clunky inventory and vehicle sections of the previous game. Streamline the experience to produce fast satisfying combat with meaningful consequences depending on your actions, your decisions really, and you've got one heck of a Sci fi epic. Oh and have the option to import in the save file from the previous game which alters the events in this one and you'll have a game you should play multiple times. The sad thing is this game is said to be overshadowed heavily when Mass Effect 3 comes out when the player will be engulfed in all out galactic war. Oh man I can't wait (understatement).
Bioshock - Set in an underwater utopia gone horribly wrong Bioshock gives players a meaningful gaming experience which blends shooter and role playing elements into one exhilarating adventure. Throw in one of the best plots around, memorable enemies/bosses to tangle with along with an interesting arsenal of weapons and plasmids, augmented abilities given to the player via splicing adam, and you'll loose yourself in this underwater chaotic paradise. Nobody had seen anything like it, aside from System Shock games of course.
Gears of War - The developer behind the game is named Epic Games and that's their name for a reason. Brought out of hibernation, or just pissed they missed the last war, the monstrous Locust decide to invade from the ground up and humans are now the main meal. Big set piece, big enemies and weapons, this game is truly epic. The story might not make the best of sense but at least it's hugely satisfying blind firing a beefy assault rifle into "grubs". Oh did I mention the game utilizes a cover system, yes a very important cover system, for the game and the industry as a whole, in fact since you don't want to get caught off guard or out in the open in this intense third person shooter, which utilizes many design elements from Resident Evil 4 as well.
The Orange Box - Holy value Batman and speaking of value, ah Valve, it's similar haha, decided to pack a hell of a lot of content into this game package. Gamers get Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode 1, Half Life 2: Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Now let's not say one is better than the other as all the games in this deal are totally worth it. Especially Half Life 2 and Portal. You don't really experience any game until you play through Half Life 2. Designed with no cutscenes in mind, the action and story is unraveled in front of your eyes as you play the mute protagonist Gordon Freeman. Let alone the cinematic sequences that happen in the game you also get to toy around with Valve's new Source engine which allows the player to manipulate objects with a gravity gun. This is Valve though so this isn't just something cool a gamer could do, it's integrated into the game as a game mechanic. Ok but you can't talk about The Orange Box without speaking of Portal, an ingenious little puzzle game which created the biggest internet meme around. Intelligent and self teaching, Portal had a way to challenge yet guide the player through each test. Ultimately you make up your own mind of what's going on in the world of Portal and it showed the gamer one memorable ending. That's how I want to enjoy my game, all the way to the end and it's paced perfectly.
Portal 2 - Starting where players left off Portal 2 is a full fledged title that expands on what Valve thought as a experiment that went right, with the first game. Ingenious level design again really made the player think thoughtfully and courageously at times. Add in the co-op mode and the fun is twice as much as before. Memorable writing, I mean it's really good, great character design, especially when you meet Cave Johnson, and more challenging than ever yet always feeling said challenges doable. Portal 2 continues the wonders, the thrills, the intrigue of the Portal universe. I think it's an understatement to say I'm really looking forward to what Valve can do with Portal 3. It's kind of crazy that a small game packaged along with others has done so well on it's own and it really shows the quality put into the game by the developers.
GTA IV: The Complete Edition - Set in the realistic New York city aka Liberty City Grand Theft Auto IV stars a few memorable characters which the player can interact with, aside from hanging out with down the line. See, you're Niko Bellic an Eastern European war veteran who has decided to take up the life of the promised good American tales his cousin has told him all about. Throw in an open world structure that allows the player to ignore story driven quests and mess around with anything and everything, this game can amuse gamers for hours. If you pick up the Complete Edition you'll secure two excellent Downloadable Content packages The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. The former revolves around a biker gang and packs on some entertaining missions and weapons. The latter focuses on a nightclub owner bodyguard/assistant who also gets into very entertaining missions along with some new toys to play with as well. GTAIV's main story has great characters and a satisfying story but the DLC gives gamers the right content to cure the explosive action itch. If that's not enough for you there's also online.
Batman: Arkham Asylum - Batman games haven't been praised for being atmospheric, emotionally stirring and out right just a blast to play. However that's exactly what many said Batman: AA is and for good reason. The very talented Rocksteady Studios decided Batman was only as good as his enemies so not only did they give Batman an interesting and atmospheric location to explore them in but also by diving into the lore of many of the infamous crime lords/ladies of Arkham Asylum the developers crafted strong characters to go toe to toe with the dark knight. Setting up a satisfying and dynamic combo combat system also makes this game one that makes you truly feel like Batman. Like before however it's not just about punching bad guys, as Batman gets his detective side involved as well. Throw in the ability to level up, with often times unlocking, Batman's
abilities to fend off against an Asylum of baddies and you've got one seriously satisfying super hero game which isn't bogged down by a movie license.
Forza Motorsport 3 - Forza, the main racing game behind the publisher Microsoft is a powerhouse to say the least. Not only do you get detailed cars but you also get lots of them, I mean hundreds of cars to pick. Hundreds to drive, tweak, customize and even buy/sell online with an online auction house, saying Forza 3 is a big racing game is an understatement. Of course this is a all numbers simulation racing game so don't expect to take that corner at 120 mph like say Need for Speed. What it takes to learn simulation racing games has been easily enhanced with driving assists which should get anybody, not dependent on driving skill, onto the track and winning races. Easy to learn, hard to master is a perfect motto for Forza. You can even throw off all the assists, play the game with a racing wheel and go to town against strong AI or challenging opponents online. Really you're missing out as a racing fan if you don't pick up Forza 3.
Fable 2 - Hailed as the best Role Playing Game, the predecessor of Fable 2 got caught in a sticky place. Too many expectations disappointed many and left few satisfied with the creation of what Lionhead Studios had created with Fable on the original Xbox and PC. Now fully realized and explored Fable 2 fixed all the things that were wrong with the first game and gave the gaming industry a look at how moral choices in gaming could be done. Allow the player to be nice and reward them for their heroic deeds or allow the player to seriously slaughter everyone in sight, the ability of player choice was fully realized with Fable 2. Throw in co-op and the ability to compare your friend's decisions/stats as a floating orb within your game and you have what appears to be a living and connected fantasy world. If only Fable 3 actually allowed you to continue your lineage, and thus your save file, from Fable 2, Fable 3 would have been on this list as well.
Red Dead Redemption - Another break out hit from Rockstar yet this time instead of letting the player mess around in an urban city environment RDR let players explore in once again a dangerous open world wild west. Tasked as John Marston, an outlaw turned good (or just pretending) via the feds, the player discovers the world of the wild west and all the crazy people that he meets on the way. Persuaded to work in cooperation, due to the feds having ownership of his wife and son, Mr Marston tangles with shady characters, lost hopefuls and a few forgotten legends in an epic saga of many memorable instances. One I don't want to spoil but you'll know when you've arrived in Mexico as it's pretty hard to miss the emotional event. Online throws in hours of fun and mayhem with friends. Round up a posse or go at it alone, really you can't go wrong with RDR online or off. Oh and did I mention Rockstar comes through with an excellent DLC package for this game as well named Undead Nightmare. Yup zombies, monsters and one heck of a different wild west is in store for your if you pick up the add on. With the option to ride around killing the undead on one of the four horses of the Apocalypse gamers will have a very entertaining time with this one.
That's it, really good games I recommend and here's to many many hours of happy gaming. This is just retail, I highly recommend you check out the best XBLA games as there are some that I felt supplied me with a sense of joy and amusement more so than I'd get from many full retail games.