Our top 25 list of Original Xbox games continue with numbers 15 through 11. We're almost at the top 10!
15. Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge (Microsoft)
It’s not often you see a reboot of a series that’s so wonderfully thought out, but that’s exactly what Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge is. This game splendidly mixes the accuracy of a flight simulator with the thrill of aerial combat, creating an experience that very few games, even the Starfighter series, could replicate at the time. Plus, the story actually expanded beyond its reach, with all sorts of missions to complete and battles to partake in. It’s still a classic to this day, and available for download – for like $10 or $15 – on the Xbox Live Marketplace. We suggest checking it out, especially since we probably won’t see a sequel anytime soon. Sigh.
14. Fable (Microsoft)
Peter Molyneux and his team at Lionhead Studios may be playing around in Kinect territory nowadays (and yes, we’re aware it just won’t be the same as Fable III), but the team really got off on the right foot with this original role-playing adventure for Xbox. Telling a creative, vivid tale that you could wind in any direction you pleased, Fable really evolved in terms of character, letting you choose your fate, spouse, or even how you came across to people. What’s more, the game is really fun to play, even with two sequels following it years later. We humbly advise you to check it out, even if you have to kill your spouse in order to do so. (NOTE: Do not do this in real life. We meant in the game, stupid.)
13. Jade Empire (Microsoft)
Before Bioware shot into space with its Mass Effect series or hit the medieval times with Dragon Age, it first went overseas to rural China, introducing a fun, exciting role-playing action game where you could guide the destiny of one of many characters. It had you battling ancient enemies and eventually creating a legacy for yourself. Jade Empire is one spectacular looking game, one that really shows what kind of chops Bioware was made of, even back in its glory days of non-EA development. Also, it plays quite well, and you can modify your battle style to your liking, which is a nice touch. This Empire is worth discovering once more, especially if you love all things Bioware. And who doesn’t?!
12. Panzer Dragoon Orta (Sega)
Following the release of Panzer Dragoon Orta and the disbanding of Team Andromeda, we thought we’d never see the likes of Sega’s brilliant shooter/role-playing series again. Silly us. Smilebit, the development studio behind the Jet Set Radio games, was inspired enough by Andromeda’s work that it brought forth its own vision of Panzer Dragoon, fully optimized for the Xbox. As a result, we were introduced to a great, new, multi-directional shooter, taking place in a lush world and featuring enough challenging enemies to make us fall in love with the series all over again. It’s a definite favorite around my house, that’s for sure. Now, ahem, how about an Xbox 360 sequel?
11. Project Gotham Racing 2 (Microsoft)
Where Forza Motorsport helped solidify Microsoft’s reputation as a sim racing publisher, Project Gotham Racing 2 loosened the reigns a little bit, introducing an equally important racing experience, one that leaned more towards the arcade side. What’s wrong with that? Bizarre Creations (now defunct, thanks to Activision) made a superb racer here, featuring a variety of cars and tracks all over the world, which you could challenge your friends to in racing glory over Xbox Live. What’s more, you could earn new stuff frequently, and fill up your garage with some real gems. Let’s face it, this game will always be remembered for introducing us to Geometry Wars, an all-time favorite on Xbox Live Arcade. Gotta love that.
And now, the top ten!