As part of our TrueAchievements Game Of The Generation Awards, it gives me great pleasure to bring you the first in a series of articles as we ‘TA Top Five’ time warp through the Xbox 360’s best games.
Now sit back whilst we take you back to 2005 / 2006 and to the launch of the 360; back then achievements were a new concept and developers were still getting to grips with the new console.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved Achievements - Bizarre Creations - November, 2005
Community Rating – 3.7 | Metacritic Score – 86
A minute to learn, a lifetime to master, Geometry Wars has you flying through space whilst trying to shoot and avoid neon shapes; it’s simple, addictive and very difficult. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved was the most downloaded XBLA game until it was supplanted by Uno. Not bad for a game that started its life as a Project Gotham Racing 2 mini-game.
Fight Night Round 3 Achievements - EA Chicago - February, 2006
Community Rating – 3.2 | Metacritic Score – 86
Simply put, in Fight Night Round 3 EA had created the best sports game around at the time. As well as the expected improvements from the previous Fight Night, popular new gameplay elements, such as career mode and classic fights, were introduced. As it’s an easy completion, it’s still popular today.
Saints Row Achievements - Volition - August, 2006
Community Rating – 3.5 | Metacritic Score – 81
The first of the Saints games was an unexpected success. Whilst initially viewed as a Grand Theft Auto wannabe, it soon became clear that the Volition game surpassed the Rockstar games in many ways. Loved for its silly activities and fun open-world gameplay and with over 2 million copies sold, another trip to Stilwater became a question of when and not if.
Viva Piñata Achievements - Rare - November, 2006
Community Rating – 3.5 | Metacritic Score – 84
Released to positive reviews, Rare’s Viva Piñata is possibly one of the best life development simulations ever. Players are tasked with maintaining a plot of land to attract Piñatas and then getting them to interact with one another. Easy to control and brimming with replay value and cuteness, it’s hard to put down once you’ve started.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas Achievements - Ubisoft Montreal - November, 2006
Community Rating – 3.7 | Metacritic Score – 88
The third Tom Clancy game of 2006 was comfortably the best of the three. Excellent graphics and gameplay didn’t go to waste when they were combined with an exciting story and perfectly balanced multiplayer. Rainbow Six Vegas was the shot in the arm the series needed, much to the delight of its fans.
The Fine Five
Condemned: Criminal Origins Achievements - Monolith Productions - November, 2005
Community Rating – 3.6 | Metacritic Score – 81
In this first-person game, you play as Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent on the hunt for a serial killer. Condemned is a scary game from the offset; minimum lighting, spooky sounds and enemies that jump out at you all contribute to a very disturbing atmosphere. The tension is further raised by limiting guns / ammunition and putting the focus squarely on melee combat. The forensic investigations may be a bit of a distraction and the story a touch crazy, but played at night in a darkened room, the experience is well worth the nightmare about mannequins that you’ll soon be having.
Call of Duty 2 Achievements - Infinity Ward – November, 2005
Community Rating - 3.8 | Metacritic Score - 89
This is the game that, in many ways, started the XBL multiplayer ball rolling on the Xbox 360. Graphically superior to any of the other launch titles, it was widely used as the face of the console, and this resulted in more than three-quarters of gamers buying it amongst their launch titles. An exciting action-packed campaign was expertly blended together with next-gen sound and brilliantly addictive multiplayer. The result? Infinity Ward had created what today is the best-selling franchise of the generation.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Achievements - Bethesda Softworks - March, 2006
Community Rating – 4.4 | Metacritic Score - 94
A return to Tamriel was Bethesda’s first foray into the generation and what an adventure it turned out to be, winning the Golden Joystick Ultimate Game of the Year Award in 2006. Oblivion delighted gamers with impressive graphics, massive open-world gameplay and Patrick Stewart. Stories don’t get told much bigger or better than this Elder Scrolls outing. You start in prison and end up saving the world from a Daedric invasion. Be it as a wizard, warrior or thief, time spent in Oblivion was time well spent.
Dead Rising (Xbox 360) Achievements - Capcom - August, 2006
Community Rating – 3.7 | Metacritic Score - 85
In the first zombie game for the Xbox 360, you play as Frank West, a photojournalist who sneaks into a Willamette mall to investigate a zombie outbreak. Armed with only his trusty camera and whatever else he can find, can Frank save all the shoppers from certain death and solve the mystery? An open-world game that is both praised and hated for its save game system and steep learning curve, it probably involves several restarts before Frank is levelled up enough to make it to the other side of the mall. Fun achievements and a fun concept are just some of the reasons it has spawned three sequels.
Gears of War Achievements - Epic Games November, 2006
Community Rating – 4.1 | Metacritic Score – 94
In the fastest-selling video game of 2006, Marcus Fenix’s Delta Squad faced off against a Locust Horde hell-bent on destroying humanity. It had an exciting co-op campaign and addictive four-on-four multiplayer action, complete with well-designed maps that took advantage of the game's cover mechanic. Epic’s gorgeous third-person shooter was possibly the best looking game on the 360 so far and, with excellent controls, multiplayer, chainsaw guns and carnage, Gears has everything a shooter fan could ever want and more.
The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five for each year of the 360 era until we hit this year. Did we miss a game you loved? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments!