The Weekly Worship [XBOX 360 Face-Off]: Super 8.
Xbox One comes out Friday at midnight. Are you as excited as a good portion of this clergy? Are you wary? Are you at all concerned about Microsoft’s next-gen console, particularly with the mixed feelings the PlayStation 4 has garnered over this past weekend? Hold that thought. With the video game industry’s “Next Big Things” hitting the Best Buys, Targets, and GameStops this week and last, it’s time to take a retrospective look back at Microsoft’s second gaming console, arguably the greatest video game console ever – the Xbox 360. The 8-year old, seventh-gen system has sold over 72-million worldwide, had its share of red ring deaths, and was by far the easiest system to mod and hack. It was – and it still very much is – awesome!
(For you PlayStation buffs out there, we will soon have our PS4 system and game reviews/outlooks in the coming week, courtesy of our Cardinal, among others.)
“Reverend” Joe Rivera: Moody, after dicing up enemy soldiers 300-(albeit, QTE)-style in Ryse: Son of Rome, and of course, owning your ass at the new, reimagined Killer Instinct, there is no doubt that I am excited for the next-gen console. I just can’t believe it’s almost Nov. 22nd. I mean, it feels like only yesterday that we were streaming the unveiling while trying to conceal nerd boners! Haha!
What game are you planning on picking up as to pop the cherry on your Xbox One? Me, I cannot wait to play Dead Rising 3. I was a huge fan of the series, especially playing as Frank West slaughtering zombies with all sorts of makeshift weapons. It’ll be nice to see the latest Capcom title take it to the next level.
“Monsignor” Travis Moody: As far as Microsoft exclusives go, yes, Joe, Dead Rising 3 is without a doubt the sure-shot. That game looks so good (and has garnered some pretty solid reviews this morning, unlike any exclusives from PS4), that it might just be the Deal One deal breaker for a lot of folks. I’m right there with you.
As for just any game in general, I’d have to say it’s a tie between Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and NBA 2K14. Now, sure, 2K has been on the rack (so to speak) for a good couple months on current-gen, but I purposely stopped playing my 360 press copy just so the X1 version would feel all the more exciting. Those graphics, as you’ll see just below, are to die for.
And, so far, the game is getting much higher marks than the latest Madden transition. AC4, on the other hand, I just did not want to play (or beat) twice, and if I’m going to venture into the vast, wonderful open seas, I’d rather do it on the more beautiful console. And, it’s a lengthy game, so I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth diving into Ubisoft’s enchanted world. Both of those games, along with Need For Speed: Rivals, appear to be getting the best reviews of the 3rd party upgrade bunch. Joe, are you afraid we’re going to alienate any PlayStation peeps out there with this piece?
Joe: As if all your PS4 “failure” shares on Facebook weren’t enough! Honestly, as far as the Microsoft vs. Sony Console Wars go (see the latest episode of “South Park”!), it’s all about preference. I always preferred Xbox because I liked their variety of games as opposed to PlayStation. If I could afford both, I’d get both! The mixed reviews don’t bother me, if I was a PS fan I’d still get it. Back when the 360 launched, we all experienced the dreaded “Red Ring of Death.” Did that make us not want to continue playing it — not this Reverend! I’m just glad that Kingdom Hearts 3 will finally be available for Xbox, after a fucking decade. (Father McPhail and I should definitely go X1vPS4 KH3 Face-Off in this bitch come release!)
Well, I know that’s it’s no question that you’re stoked for launch. We can’t shut up about it. It’s just so weird that the Xbox 360 will soon become a memory, but more-so, a favorite pastime. So, with that being said……what are some of your favorite games/moments from the 2nd gen? I pray it’s time to feel nostalgic!
Moody: WWE 2K14, for literally ending my career with current gen. Say…what? The wrestling game you’ve been raving and ranting about for months? The one you blessed with a 4-Bible review and revered with a follow-up podcast? Well, hey man, my entire TWO WEEKS of Universe preparation – not to mention my “30 Years of Wrestlemania” victory went through the tube today, when the developer’s notorious “corrupt file” scenario returned to the squared-circle. You’d think after several of these games that Yukes would have done something about it by now. How archaic. Maybe if someone develops a hack, I will return to it…returning out of retirement “Nature Boy” Ric Flair style. But, otherwise, it’s been a pleasure, current gen. Let’s hope the Xbox One isn’t marred with as many bugs, glitches and demoralizing game save corruption as the 360. Whooooooooo!!!!!
Jose: Geesh, man! I’m sorry about that. I know how much the new WWE 2K meant to you. I hope you didn’t smash your 360 over your roommates head or try to smash the game with a chair. You know, I remember having a problem with Batman: Arkham City when it first launched, two years back. I remember installing the game and then getting some bug online which took me straight to Xbox Live Dashboard. Several people got this same bug, so I couldn’t even play it for the first week. So frustrating! Damn you, WB!!!!
Moody: Here’s to hoping this brand new technology will fix a lot of the hardware and software issues that have literally plagued this system’s 8-year existence. Thing is, there’s just been no better system as far as games…ever. Speaking of Arkham City, you can add that game to my top 10, alongside Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (since both games came out the same year). Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was far too lengthy and long for my tastes (which to some, was a godsend), but Skyrim gave you the option of beating the primary story in 20-hours (a nice length), or going on for infinity to build colonials and start as many crusades as you can possibly imagine. What both 2011 Game of the Year’s had in common, too, were an assortment of bugs and glitches. But, couldn’t that be said about just about any other great Xbox 360 title? One series that I didn’t notice too many frustrating conundrums swirling the release was The Mass Effect trilogy, which easily stands out to me as the greatest trilogy of all time…and I can only be half as lucky if something akin comes to the One. How about you?
Joe: Yeah, The Mass Effect games were an amazing achievement in video games. Bioware — the guys notorious for the best Star Wars RPG franchise — really blew me away with Mass Effect, one of the most epic storylines in gaming. As far as my best memories with the 360, I would say three game franchises: Rock Band, Soul Calibur IV, and Bioshock. I got to feel like a Rock Star…in my living room, fight my friends with Yoda and Starkiller, and have the piss scared out of me as Splicers jumped out of nowhere, with the lights off.
Moody: Rock Band. Now, how come that doesn’t surprise me? Ha, just giving you shit. The whole Guitar Hero/Rock Band saga definitely amped (pun, superintended) up the interactivity with video games, leading to motion controllers and Wii’s and all that stuff. Rock Band itself was the highest rated of the bunch, and selling just as well to make it a star in Xbox 360’s lengthy history. The Mass Effect trilogy changed the way I looked at video games, such as.. I better not fuck up this decision or 4-years from now I will regret it! I absolutely had no problem with the 20-30-minute ending of M.E. 3, actually liking it, despite the fact I went “Renegade” for just about the entire series. Sure, it should have had some variety (like the much maligned DLC package attempted to excuse), but you surely weren’t catching me writing a letter to Obama about it. Mass Effect 2 definitely stands out of the bunch, in terms of meshing the RPG elements with the FPS satisfaction of a COD or GOW.
Speaking of, the Gears of War trilogy makes the 3rd spot on my list (and 2nd best all time trilogy), as this trio of shooters will go down as the greatest LOCAL co-op experiences ever. Sure, with Halo you could split-screen some aliens for plenty of hours at a time, but how truly close were you to the action with co-op Gears? It’s almost as if nothing changed except how fucking great the teamwork was. With arguably the 360’s greatest looking game at 2006 – as the debut was also the second highest rated that year — one could lead the rush with Marcus Fenix, while a lazy sack like me was able to snipe some Locust as the other COG’s, Dom, Baird, and Cole. I can only hope E-Day continues on next-gen.
Joe: Damn straight, I was all about Rock Band! It was one of those games where I got a lot of my casual and non-gamer friends really into gaming. You have no idea how many parties I had that involved Rock Band, and how much money I spent on songs for The Beatles: Rock Band, alone. But unfortunately, it was one of those franchises that had a short run. A good run, but short.
Moody: Why do you think that is?
Joe: Good question, lol.
Moody: That’s my job.
Joe: Fine, Moody. As fun as the Rock Band games were, and as I mentioned, great for parties, it was just more of a fad. Even if Rock Band 3 let you play at Pro level, with a six string, and also a keyboard, by then I think we all just got bored with the gameplay by that point. And I think people got tired of buying new instruments, and separate games with different songs, when clearly they could have just been put in the Rock Band Network for download. So yeah, spending too much money was an issue — at least for me. But, it’s still fun pastime, and when friends and I are up for rocking out, we go back into Overdrive.
Moody: Shifting gears here… *throws up devil horns*
Joe: Ah yes, Gears of War — definitely one of the best co-op series I’ve ever played on 360. I’ve always preferred third-person view, maybe just because I prefer to see the actual character I’m controlling. And, who could forget the awesomeness of the chainsaw bayonet. It got messy when ripping through locusts, but got the job done.
Moody: Don’t kill me, but I’ve never played the original (or the hearsay sub-par sequel) Bioshock.
Joe: You’re fired! When I first played Bioshock, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The game’s cover just looked ridiculous. However, a close friend told me “No, you have to play Bioshock!” I responded, “Okay, why?” My friend’s response: “You’re a big horror game fan, right? (in which, I nodded) You’re gonna love it!” So, I played it one late night and after the first hour, I will seriously never judge a book by its cover. Not only did enjoy it, but it scared the bejeezus out of me. The entire time, as I was navigating through the game, I was trying to stay on my guard. Those damn Splicers are not only creepy as hell, but they jump out of fucking nowhere. Couldn’t tell you how many times my heart jumped. It’s funny, I thought I was going to be disappointed when Infinite was released, due to the fact that there was no more horror element, but hey the steampunk-driven style made it still an amazing game. Hell, the ending to Infinite still fucks with my head; still couldn’t explain it.
Moody: Speaking of getting fired, at least that’s what we have from The Christian to be thankful for.
Joe: Ha! Another game series which blew me away and still is, has to be the Assassin’s Creed series. Looking back 6-years ago, my first introduction to AC was at San Diego Comic-Con 2007 when Ubisoft was promoting the shit out of this game. The Rev didn’t get to play any demos, but just saw trailers, banners, and actors for hire dressed as Altair. It was yet another game in which I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, it just looked like some epic historical game. So glad I gave it a chance. Playing as a guy who’s reliving his ancestor’s life through DNA memories, in a machine called an Animus? Let’s take our hats off — or white hoods (wait, that sounds so bad!) — to Ubi for the originality. Can’t think of too many other games where I spent countless hours trying to get 100%, just to get the damn secret ending where we see references to the Illuminati. Warped, man….warped!
Moody: The original Assassin’s Creed was surely great for its time, but ultimately redundant. Part II was definitely the highlight of the series, although I am a huge fan of AC3 (didn’t witness any bugs) and have yet to play Black Flag (again, holding off for next-gen). Bioshock Infinite, though — despite coming out just this past year — is one of my favorite 360 titles ever. Loved exercising the greatness of my Vigor magic, skyhooking through an all-too wondrous world of Columbia in search of milk, honey, and Elizabeth. Awesome story, great FPS gameplay, creepy songbirds and accordion driven score, and the talents of Troy “Booker” Baker. Isn’t it funny, how all the craze this year was Xbox One, yet there was still a handful of gems from the current-gen. Rayman Legends was sure-as-shit fun, maybe the best platformer I played since anything Mario. And, yet as awesome as Ubisoft’s impact to the system was, how do we have this conversation without mentioning Rockstar Games…
Joe: I think it’s because GHG has already said so much about GTA, and I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely overwhelmed (in a good way) from Grand Theft Auto V — definitely one of the best games of 2013, if not THE BEST!
Moody: Yeah, Rockstar also made a few tiny little ventures you made have heard of called Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV. But, while I wasn’t so big on GTA 4 like our very own Deacon E, I do share his and your praise for GTA V — the single best game for this system ever, and the only thing I’ve EVER reviewed to garner 10 Bibles. It’s so addicting, I forced myself into retirement at 70% in fear I’d never get any work done for GHG. If that’s not impact…
Joe: Valve made impact and became one of my favorite developers. Half Life was a great sci-fi FPS, where most of the time you’ll forgive the gun for cracking skulls with a crow bar. You da man, Gordon Freeman. And a game like Portal 2 let me branch out of what I’m normally used to (slaughtering aliens and zombies), and lead me to use what little of my brain is now left for trying to escape rooms with mind-numbing physics, particularly the greatest invention of all: the motherfucking Portal Gun.
Speaking of puzzle games, you probably never heard of the survival horror/puzzle/social simulation/anime game (talk about genre’s), Catherine, starring our buddy Baker as the protagonist, Vincent Brooks. It’s not like any game you’ve ever played; it’s hard as fuck, but fucks with you head. Very much a David Lynch story. You’re not trying to save the world, mostly determine Vince’s love life: marry his gf of 5-years, or get with the hot slutty looking succubus? I know it sounds weird, but play it sometime, Moody, it’ll definitely fuck your head.
Moody: I would, as I love me some Lynch, but something tells me I’ll have my handful with next-gen. Maybe if they remake it. I’ll admit I didn’t play much of The Orange Box, or another greatly revered title like Fallout 3. Those years were crazy for me, as most of my days I traded in my gamepad for MMA gloves (other than sports titles like Madden or MLB). This leads me to three sports game that scored more than any other and that’s NHL ’12, FIFA 12/13 and NBA 2K13. Those games were arguably both EA and 2K Sports finest moments. I don’t think I’ll ever play a game as much as I did with 2K13 (I played a full 82-game season with the Golden State Warriors, and when I LOST in the NBA Playoffs to the LA Clippers in 7 games — and practically down to the last few minutes — took over that team to win the title, in, yes, 7 games).
I also can’t forget how awesome the Forza Motorsport series has been. Of course, no Microsoft system can be reflected upon without the mention of Halo, although the best games in the series were previously released on the original Xbox. Halo Reach was definitely my favorite, as it only took the Deacon E and myself no more than 8 measly hours to finish the campaign on Halo 4…after — what — Halo: Combat Evolved took 20, 30? Ridiculous.
Joe: Yeah, the original Halo was soooooo goddamn long. Lost a lot of sleep because of it. I agree with you on Halo: Reach, probably has the multiplayer modes in that entire series. But, we will never mention the atrocity of ODST. Because everyone wants to play some useless rookie, as opposed to a badass Spartan, am I right? One last thing, Moody, since you mentioned Forza, I do miss the Burnout series, nothing was more fun than crashing cars, takedowns, and of course launching your car into traffic and trying to create chaos. Yes, the Reverend loves CHAOS! Please bring Burnout back to next-gen.
Well Moody, it’s been fun reminiscing the old days of 360 with you. God, I’m making it sound as if we played these games 20-years ago! The Xbox 360 brought me so much joy during my post college years. I feel like I’ve grown up a bit. Time to move to the next generation of gaming. 360, it’s been fun. Godspeed, friends, as we’ll be sure to see some of you Friday at midnight!
“Monsignor” Travis Moody’s Best Twelve* Xbox 360 Games Ever
*Forza Motorsport 3
12. Left 4 Dead
11. Halo: Reach
10. NHL 12
9. Borderlands 2
8. Far Cry 3
7. Bioshock Infinite
6. Batman: Arkham City
5. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
4. NBA 2K13
3. Gears of War Trilogy
2. Grand Theft Auto V
1. Mass Effect Trilogy
“Reverend” Joe Rivera’s Best Twelve* Xbox 360 Games Ever
12. Left 4 Dead
11. Batman: Arkham Asylum
10. Soul Calibur IV
9. Rock Band 3
8. Mortal Kombat
7. Fable 2
6. GTA 5
4. Saints Row: The Third & IV
3. Bioshock/Bioshock Infinite (Bioshock 2 didn’t do it for me)
2. Assassin’s Creed II
1. Batman: Arkham City