Welcome to Xbox Classics Revisited. In this new series, we aim to take a look back at the previous three generations – the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One – of Xbox games. These mini-retrospectives pay homage to some of the best games Xbox has given us over the past 20 years.
For those lucky enough to have been there for it all, read on and savor the nostalgia. For Xbox fans too young to remember Maude Flanders or Pepsi Twist: get ready to meet your backlog of Xbox games.
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Burst Cell (Xbox)
November 2002 (Ubisoft)
When Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell was released in 2002 as an Xbox exclusive, it helped redefine the stealth genre (just as the box art promises) and ushered in one of the biggest franchises of the decade. He also introduced gamers to steel-voiced Sam Fisher and his arsenal of gadgets, which are the stuff of a tech-geek’s fantasies: sticky shockers, heat vision goggles, and more.
Originally developed as a James Bond-style Metal Gear Solid Killer, the game was ported to other platforms the following year to make waves again, with one review joking (about using the game of light and dark and sound), “If this game were more realistic, you would have to hold back your farts.”
The Xbox version of Splinter Cell currently has a Metacritic rating of 93.
Dishonored (Xbox 360, Xbox One)
October 2012 (Bethesda)
Dishonored is a first person stealth action game. As such, it breaks the mold of the genre. It also gives players more freedom than is sometimes seen in stealth games, and on almost every turn the player has an array of choices available to them as to how to proceed.
Set in Dunwall – a dark analogue of Victorian London – Dishonored puts players in the figurative shoes of a royal bodyguard turned assassin by the name of Corvo Attano. Corvo has a wide range of weapons, gadgets and supernatural powers at his disposal. These include the ability to slow time to crawl or summon plague rats.
Dishonored was widely praised for its storytelling, and its level design was called one of the best in any game.
A Plague Tale: Innocence (Xbox One)
May 2019 (Interactive Focus Home)
A Plague Tale: Innocence combines stealth gameplay with puzzle solving, survival horror elements and, above all, an exquisite narrative to create one of the most memorable games of recent years.
The game is set in 14th century Aquitaine (a historic region of France), during the Hundred Years War and the Black Death. In the vein of games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and The Last of Us, A Plague Tale Innocence strives to be a story-driven experience, and the team really went to great lengths to ensure that the player gets involved in the characters of the game. The voice actors of Amicia and Hugo also participated in the writing by suggesting modifications to the dialogues.
All of this attention to storytelling detail has earned the game numerous accolades for its narrative design and made it an unquestionable modern classic. A sequel titled A Plague Tale: Requiem is set to land on Xbox Game Pass in October 2022.
So what are your favorite Xbox classics? Do you have any particular memories of the games presented here? Share them in the comments below.