Almost two years ago, in the months leading up to Xbox One's addition of the backwards compatibility feature, we set out to create a wishlist of games we most wanted to see on the program. In the months since then all but one of them on that list have been made either backwards compatible or has been given the re-release treatment, thus finding an alternate route to the Xbox One. With so much of that wishlist cleared, in addition to other major releases that we didn't include, like Black Ops II, Fallout 3, and the Mass Effect trilogy, it's safe to say the team at Xbox has pleased a lot of people. But, of course, there are still holes to fill. Here are what we feel are still missing. We're keeping fingers crossed, you let us know what else you're hoping for.
Blacklist is the only holdover from our original wishlist because it surprisingly hasn't been ported or remastered. Ubisoft hasn't been too busy in the remastering scene but they are one of the most well represented publishers with games on the back compat list. Blacklist is now almost four years old and doesn't have a sequel, which in Ubisoft years is roughly two and a half decades. Maybe they're waiting for an E3 reveal of the next Splinter Cell before they offer it up as a pre-order bonus.
Neither before nor since Volition put out SR3 has the series ever been more comfortable in its own skin. Preceding The Third were two games trying to crib Grand Theft Auto, and since then the series has gone down the weird rabbit hole of trying to be a superhero game. SR3 is Sants Row at its best: overperformed, dumb characters telling cringeworthy and usually dirty jokes surrounded by dozens of — above all else — fun things to do. It throws everything that looks like fun at the wall to see what sticks, which, as it turns out, is most everything.
Let's get the bad out of the way: These remasterings were not done well. That's the widely held opinion that's tough to argue against. Konami didn't put the care into these that they deserve and the result is some audio and visual bugs in both games included in the collection. However, these games were also never technical marvels to begin with and they've always been beloved, especially Silent Hill 2, which to this day is still arguably among the top five stories in games of all-time. If Konami is nearly done with console gaming, the least they could do is give the Xbox team the green light to port these to the Xbox One. Horror fans who missed them until now deserve the chance to see a pair of the best in the genre.
Our features get called out for including Enslaved often, but it's not our fault the game is so damn good. With skillful melee combat, a beautifully rendered lush apocalypse, and a pair of forever memorable characters, Enslaved is sort of a cult classic, severely underplayed but deserving of so much more. If you didn't have the ending spoiled for you in a recent feature about futurism in games, don't start now. If it ever comes to the back compat list, trust that it's well worth your time.
Disappointingly absent from the Batman Return To Arkham collection was the prequel handled by a separate studio than Rocksteady, WB's own Montreal game house. The villains utilized often feel like the C-team, and the multiplayer has since been shut down, but Origins still manages to tell a worthwhile Batman story. It's part of the overall Arkham thread and is even alluded to several times in Arkham Knight. Xbox One owners can't get the whole story right now and that's a shame, because no one in the superhero business is better than Batman. No need to argue about that, right?
Probably more popular than Enslaved but still carrying a cult classic air about it is The Line, a surprisingly heady military shooter. In some ways a retelling of Conrad's Heart of Darkness, The Line does what few other wartime shooters do — it considers the soldier. Over the course of the story, the Nolan North-voiced Captain Martin Walker and his squad go through full-bodied hell — physical, emotional, and psychological. It doesn't glorify the violence like other shooters. These guys aren't the do-it-all rah-rah heroes we know from before. They're troubled, Walker most of all. It's another of those games that so many missed last time around and getting it on Xbox One would be a new opportunity to display the power of games as storytelling devices.
Speaking of good narrative-driven games, how about the apparent finale to the Max Payne series? What was born as a Remedy-made, Rockstar-produced two game series was later handed off to Rockstar in full so that they could close it out with their own signature take on the character. New bald head, same self-medicating, poetically depressed anti-hero. Sure, it makes no sense that Max can do all he does so addled by painkillers and booze, but don't let that distract you from an exceptional story, tight gameplay, and still active online community. The shooting mechanics in this game were later mostly copied and pasted into GTA V because they work so well too, so if you like them there, know that they are just a bit better in Max Payne 3.
Like always, this is only meant to be the start of a list. It's our take on the subject — what's yours?
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