If you haven’t jumped headfirst into next-gen consoles yet, there’s no need to be sad. The last-gen systems still have plenty of life in them, and developers and publishers know it. Most games launching on the Xbox One and PS4 are still releasing for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and while they’re usually not as robust or good-looking, sticking with last-gen consoles for a bit longer will definitely save you some bucks. While I recommend you at least consider upgrading as we roll into the new year, there are plenty of games to enjoy while you’re weighing your options.
Xbox 360 owners had plenty to look forward to in 2014. Here are the best new video games that launched for the 360.
1. Dragon Age: Inquisition
BioWare is known for its ability to craft deep, intricate, personal stories. Just look at the best-selling Mass Effect series, which, in this humble editor’s opinion, is the best sci-fi universe to be created in any medium ever. The original Dragon Age was a critical and commercial success, with its long and detailed campaign where choices mattered. Dragon Age II didn’t hold up as well, though it’s still a great game. With Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare went all out in an effort to create one of the greatest fantasy RPGs ever. The developer’s track record proves they were capable of handling the task, giving players a sprawling world to explore, a brilliant story where player choice matters and a fun combat system players can tailor to their play style.
- In-game choices matter
- Style combat your way
- Customize your party and hero
- It’s not Dragon Age II
- Say goodbye to hundreds of hours of freetime
- Story is a bit cliche
- Combat could be more strategic
2. Far Cry 4
Do you like first-person shooters set in a giant open world? How about ziplining, hang gliding, big game hunting and killing bad guys? If so, Far Cry 4 is up your alley. The newest addition to the series steps away from the lush environment of the tropics from Far Cry 3 and drops you in the middle of a civil war in the Himalayas. Besides moving your way through the story, there will be distractions to keep your entertained. The most attractive feature is a new one that allows players to invite friends who don’t even own the full game into their world to conquer cooperative missions together. If allowing your buddies to game with you free of charge to them isn’t a great idea, I don’t know what is.
- New wildlife
- Massive open world
- Drop-in co-op
- Free limited edition with pre-order
- Unwarranted cover art controversy
- No bonuses for killing war elephants
- Not much has changed since Far Cry 3
- Server issues at launch
3. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Any The Lord of the Rings buff will feel right at home with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The game is set sometime between The Hobbit and Tolkien’s famous trilogy about Frodo’s quest to Mount Doom as Talion, a Ranger of Gondor stationed near the Black Gate leading into the evil land of Mordor, is forced to watch his family be butchered by Uruks. What follows is a classic revenge action game dripping with Tolkien lore. What sets Shadow of Mordor apart is its nemesis system, which grants military ranks to Talion’s enemies. The Uruks are constantly vying for dominance, and the player can manipulate them to his will using special powers and abilities, making each play a unique experience.
Price: $24.99 (58 percent off MSRP)
- Nemesis system
- Satisfying combat
- Lore, lore and more lore
- Somewhat easy
- Disappointing ending
- Repetitive locales
- Herb collecting
4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty is one series that has withstood the test of time, with releases spanning more than a decade and three console generations. The franchise has tackled everything from World War II-era battles to modern-day combat. The newest entry in the series, Advanced Warfare, takes place in the future, where jetpacks and hovering grenades are staples in military technology. Sure, it might look like Titanfall at a glance, but Advanced Warfare is a title all its own, and it’s bound to be a best seller just like its annually released brethren. I mean, even IGN gave it a 9.1.
Price: $49.99 (17 percent off MSRP)
- Futuristic weapons and gadgets
- DLC drops first on Xbox
- Zombie mode is back
- Kevin Spacey
- $50 season pass
- Average campaign
- Set pieces everywhere
- Same ol’ Call of Duty formula
5. The Evil Within
Anyone who’s played the Resident Evil series knows that horror games are awesome. It seems contradictory, but scaring the pants off yourself is a pretty entertaining way to spend an evening. Shinji Mikami, known for his work on Resident Evil 4, jumped in with a new team to create The Evil Within, a sort of spiritual successor to the iconic survival horror franchise. Mikami is a master of all things scary, so his latest project is sure to surprise, terrify or even emotionally scar you with its claustrophobic locales and disturbing enemies. Make sure you pack your Depends.
Price: $19.99 (67 percent off MSRP)
- Horrifying enemies
- Super gory
- Awesome survival gameplay
- Genuinely terrifying
- Lackluster protagonist
- Unoriginal story
- Genuinely terrifying