Backwards compatibility is here for the Xbox One. That’s a good thing if you enjoy revisiting your old favorites, but it’s also likely that you didn’t play every great game on Xbox 360. Now’s your chance to catch up.
Although none of the Xbox 360 games we’re dying to play on Xbox One made it in the initial offering, the list of 104 backwards-compatible games does include a number of gems that might have passed you by when they originally launched.
Here are seven Xbox 360 games you need to play on Xbox One.
1. Doom II
Believe it or not, first-person shooters didn’t spring to life with the first Halo or Bioshock. They’ve been around for decades. And although Wolfenstein 3D may be an earlier example of the genre (it’s also available on Xbox One through backwards compatibility), Doom II is both faster-paced and more entertaining.
This gore-drenched shooter is just as frantic and shamelessly violent as it’s ever been. It’s also tough, because when you die you lose your inventory of super-powered weapons and have to start all over with nothing but a pistol. But working through the pain is all part of the appeal in this timeless classic. Doom II is a piece of history every shooter fan should play. And unlike lots of classics, it holds up extremely well, thanks to its pitch-perfect controls.
2. South Park: The Stick of Truth
If you enjoy South Park, you’re all but guaranteed to like South Park: The Stick of Truth, a role-playing game that looks virtually indistinguishable from an episode of the show. It also plays like an episode because the script was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and it’s every bit as raunchy and hilarious as you’d expect. The only difference is that you control the action. What also makes this an ideal time to play The Stick of Truth is that it’s getting a sequel in 2016, in the form of South Park: The Fractured but Whole.
3. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
This interesting shooter is set in the Old West. But rather than telling a single story all the way through, it’s set up as a series of embellished tales told by an old bounty hunter regaling an audience in a saloon.
You play out the bounty hunter’s stories, often encountering historical personalities like Jesse James and Butch Cassidy. When a saloon-goer calls you out on a lie in a story, the game changes to incorporate what really happened. It’s a clever storytelling device that turns into a clever gameplay mechanic. If you like Americana like Westerns and tall tales, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is definitely worth a look.
4. Fable II
Fable II is the best game in this series of quirky action RPGs. Set in a delightful fantasy world that’s as forgiving as it is enjoyable, the game tracks your progress from childhood to adulthood, having you save the kingdom along the way. The multi-layered combat is fun and adaptable to your play style. Exploration is rewarded, thanks in large part to your dog, who can sniff out buried treasures for you. Many of the quests and choices you have are open-ended, so you can play as a hero or anti-hero.
Since Fable creator Peter Molyneux has left Lionhead Studios, don’t count on the series continuing along the same action RPG path anytime soon. That’s OK, because we’ll always have this masterpiece.
It’s good to keep your reflexes fast and your mind sharp. Perhaps no game is better at honing those skills than N+, a laughably difficult 2D side-scrolling platformer. Each level is the size of a single screen, so it’s always clear where you have to go and what you have to do to complete the stage. The trick is getting from start to finish without dying. A host of lasers, bombs, and heat-seeking missiles is ever present on the screen, just waiting for you to slip up. A single hit, and you’re dead.
But because the levels are short, dying isn’t too frustrating. And each time you successfully thread the needle and make it to the exit, you’ll feel like a million bucks.
6. Shadow Complex
If you’ve been itching for a good “Metroidvania” game lately, look no further than Shadow Complex. The game may be set in a modern military base, but it might as well take place in Dracula’s castle or on a distant planet. This side-scroller has you explore a complex network of rooms, caves, and hallways as you continually find new weapons and keys that grant you access to new parts of the base. It’s a tried-and-true gameplay loop that works as well here as it does anywhere. Developer Chair has been talking about making a sequel for years now, so maybe some renewed interest in the original will be the spark it needs to begin working on part two.
7. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
This game may have come out before the age of Minecraft, but it’s clearly cut from the same cloth. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a game about creation and experimentation. You play as the cartoonish bird and bear duo as you construct vehicles to navigate the ground, air, and water. Your goal is to get from point A to point B, but creating the right vehicle for the job isn’t always easy. The game is extremely open-ended, with tons of vehicle parts you can assemble in any way you want. Get this game to put your creativity and engineering talent to good use.