The Best Xbox 360 games to buy for your Slim
Fashion magazines may tell you that size zero is a thing of the past, but the fact remains in gaming that the Slim is in. Yes, Microsoft's Xbox 360 Slim has hit the shelves all small and smart and wireless and just waiting for the Kinect to come along in a few months' time.
So, if you've just got back in from the shops clutching your new prize, here are some of the very best in Xbox 360 games that you should now be spending your small change on. Let us know which killer titles you'd recommend in the comments below. (Points and general Pocket-lint street cred will be awarded the more obscure you go)
First person shooters
The most popular style of the day is the FPS but, with more games out there featuring an oversized gun grunt with a camera on his head, which are the ones that you really, really need?
Once an idyllic underwater city created for the great minds who didn’t enjoy being constrained by the shallow thoughts that the "real world" could offer, Rapture has become a place descended into anarchy. It's your job to go down there in your deep dive suit and drill and sort it out.
A handful of games come along that simply need to be played. Bioshock is one of these titles. Yes, it's 3 years old, and there's since been a sequel, but the graphics are still great, the gameplay just as stunning and the story will do nothing but enthral.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
MW2 broke all sorts of records when it launched at the end of 2009 and it's still pretty much the benchmark for all other soldier boy FPSes right now. You've heard all the stories about killing hostages in airports, this is what it's actually all about.
While the multiplayer component does deserve a full score the single player campaign is a step below that level. It’s a rip-roaring ride while it lasts, but it’s a touch too short, too hectic, and overly reliant on forcing you to learn enemy routines in order to bag the best piece of cover right away. But the multiplayer is by far the best in the business, and it’ll keep you hooked until well into next year
Role Playing Games
There's nothing like getting your teeth into an adventure, to the level where you're the one calling the shots. So, if you're looking to tell your own kind of story, then these are the Xbox 360 RPGs for you.
Epic is an understatement with Fable II whether you like RPGs or not. It's a must have Xbox game. The Fable series is your classic "hanging round taverns with a sword at your side" adventuring and, while we wait for the third instalment to arrive, you may as well go and play number two.
While the story isn't anything original - avenging the death of a loved one, yawn - the endless possibilities and replay ability to see what would happen if you choose a different path means that RPG fans will want to keep coming back for more.
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 could quite easily be in the FPS category, but at its core it's an RPG title. Genre stalwarts Bioware took a massive risk in fusing their action ideas with role playing roots and came up with a classic that you can't fail to get absorbed by. Discovering the plot for yourself is one of the joys, but suffice to say it centres around an alien race doing its very best to turn humanity into a grease spot on the edge of the Milky Way.
Whether you completed the first game or not, Mass Effect 2 is unmissable. By streamlining and polishing its RPG/shooter mechanics, Bioware has produced a game that will feel just as satisfying to the Gears of War crowd as it will to those who loved Baldur's Gate or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the dialogue-driven story is superb. RPG purists might snort at the more action-friendly bias, but anyone with sense will realise that this is a magnificent game.
There are two obvious sporting titles that most people will jump for, but seeing as it's rather tricky to separate the Pro-Evolution Soccer and FIFA gaming dynasties and seeing as not everyone likes football - shocker, we know - we're going to ignore them both and instead suggest two top notch Xbox 360 games that you'll know a little less about.
Ashes Cricket 2009
The 5-day test classic may be the title star of the show, but that doesn't mean that Ashes Cricket 2009 is just a heavy commitment snore-fest. You can play one-dayers, 20/20 or just step up to the wicket and have dig about for an over or two if you fancy. Lots of nice commentary from the usual cricketing favourites and a few training sessions from Beefy and Tucker at the start to get you in shape.
Ashes Cricket 2009 is a true hit. Not only is it a fun-packed sporting title in both single and multi player options, but it also allows enough realism to keep even the most hardened of cricketing fanatics happy. All around a good slog from Codemasters.
Fight Night Round 4
Ever wondered what might happen if Tyson took on Ali? Well, Ali probably would have won just minus an ear or two but, rather than have a guess, you can play it out for yourself on Fight Night Round 4. Games don't make it to four versions if they're no good in the first place and what this one offers is both excellent cinematic looks as well as in-depth gameplay.
Fight Night Round 4 is a visual masterpiece. With aesthetics this good, even true boxing critics can't fail to be wowed by the sheer technical brilliance on offer here. There are a few minor problems with the controls, and the training system drags things down a point but it's still whole heartedly recommended.
While an FPS may not be for everyone, a good old fashioned action adventure game is something even those who get easily dizzied can appreciate. So, if you prefer your gaming from a third person perspective, these are the ones we recommend for your burgeoning collection.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Heading over to Gotham City's hive of scum and villainy, you/Batman (no need to actually wear a cape while playing) are dropping the dastardly Joker off into the loony slammer when all hell breaks loose on Arkham Island. You then get to spend the next 12 hours or so restoring order with a mixture of gadgetry, some pummelling and your low, husky voice.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is the closest us gamers have come so far to feeling like the Batman. All the detective, fighting, and gadget mechanics are there just as we’d have hoped for. And it’s all wrapped up in such a fantastically brilliant story that you simply can’t fail but fall in love. Highly recommended indeed.
Take a dozen 13-year-old boys, feed them junk food and energy drinks, then bombard them with a steady stream of Ninja Gaiden games, Devil May Cry, soft porn, lounge music, heavy metal and Japanese anime. After a month or two, ask them to design the ultimate video game. Bayonetta, or something like it, would be the result.
Bayonetta is shockingly bloodthirsty, remarkably violent, pitifully juvenile and more obsessed with the wobbly regions of the female form than any game since Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2 but, whatever you think of that, there's no denying the sheer brilliance of its gameplay and imagination.
With Gran Turismo 5 still yet to arrive and the chances of it coming to Xbox 360 at all not looking good, one has to shift the view further a field for petrol head gamers. Fortunately, there's still an embarrassment of riches in driving titles on whatever platform you look at.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Game of the year in 2008 according to just about any publication you care to read, you have to have GTA IV somewhere in your collection and there's little excuse now that you can pick it up for next to nothing. There is, of course, a lot more to the experience than just cars but, if you select the right viewing angle it really does turn into an excellent and challenging driving game in its own right with some serious bells and whistles attached.
Buy it. Play it. Experience it. The hype was all true. Grand Theft Auto IV is the single best game of its time. If any other title manages to beat this in terms of excitement, aesthetics, atmosphere, and story telling, then it deserves its own religion.
Forza Motorsport 3
400 cars, 100 tracks, some top end car-gazing graphics and as much time as you've got to learn how to drive.
Variety, options, customisation and glorious graphics and sound. There is little that Forza 3 can really do wrong. It's a racing game that will appeal to all manner of racers. If you've never enjoyed the precision of F1 racing sims, then Forza has plenty to offer you, before you get to those more demanding requirements. So much fun, we were too busy playing it for a year before we remembered to review it.