Saturday 23 September 2017

Xbox One vs Xbox 360: Then and Now

The dust has settled on the Xbox One launch. Now a week on, how do the games compare with those of the Xbox 360?

Forza Motorsport 5 is one of the key launch titles for Xbox One
Forza Motorsport 5 is one of the key launch titles for Xbox One
The Xbox One console
An XBox 360 console and Kinect peripheral. Photo: Getty Images
Xbox fans play the latest games during the Xbox One fan celebration and launch party in Los Angeles on Thursday
Frank Whelan

Frank Whelan

The Xbox One was released exactly eight years after the Xbox 360. With the longest ever gap between console generations, we compare the two launch line-ups.

The Xbox 360 had eighteen games on launch:

  • Amped 3 - The third installment of the popular serious snowboarding sim on the Xbox.
  • Fifa 06 - Another solid FIFA game with few complaints at the time.
  • Gun - Slightly above average wild west shooter.
  • Call of Duty 2 - Yes, Call of Duty is an old franchise, and here it's still about WWII
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins - Fantastic, creepy first-person action game, unfortunately too short.
  • Kameo: Elements of Power - 3rd person 3D adventure from the legendary RARE studio. OK title, now probably forgotten.
  • NBA Live 06 - EA's basketball simulator update. Felt weak and rushed. Probably the worst launch game in the list
  • NBA 2k6 - Better looking but not much of an update other than that. Solid basketball.
  • Madden NFL 06 - Pretty but simplified addition to the American Football series.
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted - Really fun street racing game, complete with mods and set piece races.
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong - Movie tie-in, nice stylistic ideas, but short and slightly missed the great mark.
  • NHL 2k6 - Fantastic ice hockey game, with nice new mechanics updates. A winner at the time.
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 - Acceptable racer, but lacked the features of other games out at the time.
  • Perfect Dark Zero - Prequel to a much loved game, there was much hype, but ended up as just an above average shooter.
  • Quake 4 - Decent first-person-shooter for the tricky happy out there.
  • Ridge Racer 6 - Arcade racer all about drifting, somewhat stalled in its evolution but still decent.
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 - Better mechanics and controls gave fans a new golfing addiction.
  • Tony Hawk's American Wasteland - Fun urban skateboarding, a return to form for a long running series.

That list is made up of 11 sports sequels. Only 4 of the games on launch day were original and not a sequel. While the big studio series are the safest bet for sales, there's a definite lack of a "must own" Xbox 360 exclusive. Plenty of sports, racing and guns, but little else.

Now, eight years on, we have twenty two launch titles.

FIFA is there, as is a Call of Duty. The latest Madden is present as are the updates of both basketball franchises from eight years ago. 14 titles are sequels, leaving a healthier 8 original games in the launch roster. Unfortunately for "core gamers," these original titles are aim at the more casual end of the market. Of the three original titles that may appeal to "serious" gamers, two (Crimson Dragon and LocoCycle) aren't worth the money. Ryse: Son of Rome is an Xbox One exclusive and the big epic game used to display the power of the console. Unfortunately Ryse is all flash and little substance and falls out of favour once given a decent play. 

The Xbox One launch had far more variety in games than the Xbox 360, but there are questions about quality. While it's healthy to see more diverse styles of games on the launch day, certain products like Zoo Tycoon are just poor games, but sure to sell well with younger gamers.

The amount of games aimed at non-traditional gamers (Zumba) shows not only Microsoft's shift of focus from eight years ago, but also the whole industry's broader scope. Ever since the Wii started capturing brand-new market share with its accessible motion based games, games companies have been sure to tick the necessary boxes to keep these audiences ticking over.

Xbox One sees Microsoft going even further down the media centre route (they were slated for their launch announcement featuring more TV aspects than games,) which isn't a bad thing if it cuts down boxes in front of TVs. But, if you forced me to play through every single one of the Xbox One's launch titles and all of the Xbox 360's, I would definitely go with the older consoles offerings. Yes, many of the Xbox One games are incredible, but then others are just plain bad.

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