Xbox had a pretty big announcement to share with us recently: some of the Original Xbox games have been made Backwards Compatible, and I’m pretty excited about it as I’ve been publishing a lot of Reviews of BC games this year.
(You can check them here) – Links at the bottom
The first batch of OG Xbox games was announced on Twitter and Major Nelson’s site, but he also mentioned that a new batch of games will be made available Spring 2018. Here are 15 games we would love to see being made Backwards Compatible:
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
This third entry of the famous western RPG series has won many awards when it first released for Xbox and PC, among which “Game of The Year” in 2002. It was well known for having a huge map (the largest seen in a game at the time of release) and lots of player customization options. Another record in its name was the amount of text available in the game as it contained over 300 books. While it looks dated compared to today’s standards (15 years will do that to a game) it could receive a significant overhaul by being rendered in 4K on the Xbox One X. Bethesda has been known for making such improvements and supporting the Xbox brand, as they recently announced having Xbox One X enhancements for Fallout 3 and Oblivion, two of their Xbox 360 titles.
Burnout 3: Takedown
Here is a game I personally love and will forever list in my top 10 of best video games of all time. This Arcade racer perfected the feeling of speed when you’re boosting your way through traffic and it was immensely satisfying to see the slow-motion takedowns when you sent your opponents flying into an oncoming bus. Besides the addictive racing formula the game also had a crash mode in which you had to rack up points by damaging as many vehicles as possible. Furthermore, the game had a pretty amazing music track. Seeing Black, Criterion’s shooter, being part of the original batch of games has increased the likelihood of this one being part by a significant amount. I can only hope!
SSX3 or SSX Tricky
SSX is one of the most successful snowboarding franchises out there, a genre that has sadly been left on the side slopes these last few years. The Xbox One hasn’t seen an entry in the series yet and the Xbox 360 game, while fun and great-looking, missed a bit of its arcade goofiness that made the series so well known. The 3rd entry is my personal favorite in the series and something I still play every now and then (albeit on my playstation 2). You could explore entire mountains and discover a lot of shortcuts and the multiplayer was spectacular! Just like the Burnout series, I was also a big fan of their music track list, just writing about this game got Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky” stuck between my ears again.
It’s a Bioware developed Action-RPG set in Imperial China. You play as an orphan who had been trained in martial and spiritual arts and you’re set on a quest to save your master. If you’ve played a Dragon Age, Mass Effect or Knight of the Old Republic game you’ll know what to expect. It has its own kind of combat, but the story progresses mainly through dialog and you’re allowed to pick your own path. They’ve remade the game on Pc and Mobile devices, so I guess it’s not too much of a stretch to expect them to release this with upgraded graphics as well. I’m pretty certain we’ll see this one down the line, as Bioware games have always been on the forefront of Xbox Backwards Compatibility, with Mass Effect being on the Original list, Mass Effect 2 being among the first of the multidisc games that supported it and lastly: Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic being one of the 13 OG Xbox games made Backwards Compatible.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Speaking of which, I see no reason why they wouldn’t eventually bring the second game in the series to the program as well. It’s a direct sequel, starting 5 years after the events of the 1st game. The Jedi order has been wiped out almost completely by the Sith and you’re sent out to seek the last few remaining Jedi. The gameplay is nearly identical to the original but contrary to it, this one had some complaints: The Xbox version was on a tight release schedule and had some bugs in it and wasn’t entirely finished. Obisidian even had to cut a complete planet (the droid planet M4-78) to release it in time with LucasArts’ demands. Dare we hope that they finally manage to include it? (via DLC?)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
Splinter Cell is an award-winning video game with stealth gameplay? It won IGN’s “Xboxgame of the year” in 2002. You play as Sam Fisher, a highly trained black ops agent who has become an icon in the stealth genre with his well-known “Trifocal Goggles” which he uses to see in the dark. An often effective approach in the game was taking out any light source so you’d be the only one left with vision and the enemies would be easy pickings. While not exclusive to the Xbox, the game has been an important element of its line-up ever since it was published on it. It would be a shame if they don’t manage to bring a single one to the BC program.
Conker: Live and Reloaded!
When Microsoft purchased Rare, they had them release this remake of Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64). It’s a platformer with action elements and while the single player remained untouched (outside of some censorship – which was strange on a more “adult” console) they also added multiplayer. The game is most well known for its foul mouthed protagonist, Conker, and its random potty humour. Outside of the (mostly nonsensical) censorship it was positively received but the original Bad Fur Day is arguable the better version and was chosen to be included in the Rare Replay bundle for this reason. Maybe they decide to make this version BC though, but it would mainly be for the Multiplayer. Not to mention that people who owned the game already would also be rewarded being able to play it on their Xbox One. I think this one is very likely as that one being in Rare Replay hasn’t stopped it from being in the first batch of 13 games.
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Panzer Dragoon is an on-rails shooter developed by SEGA. In this game you play as Orta, a girl who’s been imprisoned her whole life until she’s suddenly released by a dragon. On the back of this mythical beast you fight against the empire who’s trying to kill you. Your dragon is able to shift between different forms with varying speeds and power and you’ll have to master these as the game is no pushover: Even the normal mode presented a decent amount of challenge. The game was very well received upon release, but the PAL version of the game was prone to crashing at certain points and they have never been able to fix this. The BC program would allow them to finally release this product without any flaws.
Jet Set Radio Future
This sequal to Jet Set Radio (DreamCast) was another game SEGA released for the Original Xbox. Your character is part of a gang who inline-skates around a futuristic version of Tokyo trying to cover up rival gangs’ graffiti. Outside of the fun, fast paced traversal the game was also well known for its electric soundtrack and cell-shaded graphics. Especially the latter usually ages well as there is less chance for pixels to show up on our (now bigger) screens. The game was received very well by critics and those who played it, but somehow didn’t have stellar sales results. If they make this BC and offer a digital purchase, perhaps some new life can be breathed into this series.
Otogi: Myth of Demons & Otogi 2
These hack and slash games from FromSoftware (yes, the Dark Souls devs) put you in a Japanse setting and tasked you with recovering your clan’s stolen sword. To get it back you’d have to fight through an army of demons. It had flashy, quick-paced combat and still holds up decently in the graphic department. Some spit and shine from the BC team could actually make this a decently popular game as it looks fun to play (haven’t gotten to experience it myself yet). This is another entry in the list that got decent reviews but didn’t manage to sell well. Most likely because it’s so similar to Ninja Gaiden and that ended up being the more popular game. Perhaps that’s why FromSoftware started making such difficult games after this, thinking that it was the difficulty of Ninja Gaiden that made it the more popular franchise.
MechAssault & MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf
For me and many of my friends, the MechAssault games were synonymous with the Xbox brand (along with Halo). In these games you play as a Battlemech pilot, fighting against other mechanized robots. It was praised for its realistic control scheme, especially if you used the controller they developed specially for these games. Unfortunately I find it hard to believe these controllers could in some way be supported on the Xbox One family, so you’ll have to miss out on the full experience this time around.
Armed and Dangerous
It’s a third-person action-adventure shooter with a lot of humoristic elements, mostly from parodying other media (movies, books and games). The game was fully voice-acted and had some hilarious cutscenes. The gameplay itself was kind of forgettable as I thought they should have used more silly weapons to change things up. It seems to be forgotten these days and would be interesting to see if new people would feel like picking this up if it was made BC.
Blinx & Blinx 2
In Blinx you play as an anthropomorphic cat who acts like a time sweeper: Whenever there is a glitch in time somewhere (or is it sometime?) he has to go and fix it. In the sequel you have to make your own feline TimeSweeper. Your character comes equipped with a vacuum cleaner that had six different abilities: Rewind, Fast Forward, Pause, Record, Slow, and Retry and you use these in addition to basic platforming to get around and solve puzzles. Opinions are divided on them though; some people praise the game for the time controls (which aren’t all that new as we’ve seen those before in other games) while other people found it boring. It’s also become somewhat of a laughing stock as non-Microsoft fanboys mock the failed attempt at creating a console mascot.
The Original Xbox really liked the word Crimson huh? In this futuristic third-person shooter/slasher you are a member of what amounts to being the space CIA, you have to investigate different planets and check if nothing out of the ordinary is going on. I never got to play this game, but I enjoyed the sequel on the Playstation 2. There are even some RPG elements in it, as you can talk to NPCs when you’re not on a mission and you can increase your skills and improve your equipment. It’s a bit of a grindfest sometimes but people who played it usually speak highly of it.
I kept one of my personal favorites for last. Sudeki is an action RPG published by Microsoft themselves and I’ve always been hoping for some kind of sequel over the years. I played it on the PC originally and my only complaint was the mouse and keyboard controls so I look forward to playing this from the couch with a decent controller. The game has some beautiful settings and interesting gameplay: most of it is played in third person but it switches to first person if you have to aim and shoot using your abilities. Much like the Tales series you control one character while the rest is controlled by AI but you can switch who you play as on the fly. Outside of combat you also had to use your skills to solve puzzles or to get to out-of-reach items.
Did I forget a game you really enjoyed? Let me hear in the comments!