As Xbox celebrates its 15 years of existence this week, we all cannot help but sit back and think about all the awesome games we played throughout the years.
We all know Halo, Gears of War, and Forza, but what other epic games made it to the console that forced players to stay up all night long?
Here are the best 15 games in the 15 years of Xbox history:
2001 – Halo: Combat Evolved
We all love the Master Chief, and it all began back in 2001 when he made his debut on the Xbox.
If you think about it, the original Halo was actually revealed for Mac first, on stage at an Apple event. Steve Jobs stood on stage and revealed that Halo would be a cross-platform game between Windows and Mac.
To make matters worse, when Microsoft showed off the gameplay a year later, after booting Apple off the project, the game as a third person shooter. It was not until late in 2000 when Microsoft bought Bungie, that the game finally took form as the FPS we know today.
Halo: Combat Evolved released alongside the Xbox in 2001, and changed the console gaming landscape with its great action and multiplayer.
2002 – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Although the PS2 was the hottest console in 2002, receiving more than one hundred releases, the Xbox slowly caught up with it and even had a few console exclusive games that Sony missed out on.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was one of these titles, and it proved the power of the Xbox, as the game was only on PC before.
To have such an immersive RPG experience on a console really added a new layer of fidelity to the Xbox, and gave console gamers a reason to invest in a console rather than a PC in order to play one of the best RPGs of its day.
Although the game saw multiple delays in 2002, as its release date moved from March to April, only to release in June, the game was a huge success.
2003 – Beyond Good and Evil
Still one of the most iconic games ever made, Beyond Good and Evil graced the Xbox in 2003.
Its awesome platforming and deep story kept players intrigued at all times as they explored the world of Hillys.
We all remember Jade and Pey’J as they teamed up to take down the strange alien forces that suddenly invaded the wold, and all Jade’s epic karate-like attacks.
It was a truly great game that made the Xbox even better.
2004 – Fable
Although Fable has lost the plot over the past few years, it was the original that stood out among the RPGs of its day.
Fable was set in a beautiful world, with a new combat system that changed the way we looked at RPGs.
The game’s deep decision making and balance of good versus evil made for an epic adventure. We will never forget Albion.
2005 – Forza Motorsport
Make way for the first ever racing simulator on Xbox, Forza Motorsport. Back in 2005 the original Forza was a huge success. With 231 cars in game, over 20 tracks, and online multiplayer, the game was a step in a new direction for racing games.
Its simulation racing was born, and it did not look half that bad. Actually, Forza Motorsport stood out among other racing games of its day, thanks to its gorgeous visuals and fantastic graphics.
Sure, you could probably run it on your cellphone today, but it was a benchmark back then, one which the series has been built on.
2006 – Gears of War
As the console generation moved into the PS3 and Xbox 360 era, along came Gears of War. We all remember sawing enemies in two using the Mark 2 Lancer, and let us not forget that bone-chilling “Mad World” trailer.
Gears of War also meant that online multiplayer moved in a new direction. Bigger map, more players, more details, and different game modes. It was a true start of a new generation of gaming, and I have fond memories of this era specifically.
Gears of War has been a staple now for years, but it was thanks to the original’s impact it had on the industry that it is so successful today.
2007 – Mass Effect
PlayStation gamers all over the world were very envious when Microsoft announced that Bioware’s latest RPG would be on Xbox 360 only, but it was not until 2007 when the game released, that the FOMO really set in.
Mass Effect came and demolished other RPGs that came before it with its deep story, great characters, and unforgettable decision making.
It was something new and fresh, something that we needed to move players over from the older consoles to the new ones. It was a system seller, and it came and conquered.
So much so, that 10 years later we are still loving the Mass Effect series.
2008 – Dead Space
2008 was a dry year in gaming, but it was not without its jewels, one of which was the highly-acclaimed Dead Space. It was the beginning of a new genre, sure survival horrors have been done before, but not to the extent that Dead Space was.
We all remember that chilling eye scene where we had to aim up the laser to a specific part of Isaac’s eye. Miss, and the drill would tear his eyeball apart.
One eye for the rest of your life with some brain missing? No big deal.
Dead space was an epic experience, one which we will all remember forever.
2009 – Bayonetta
In a world filled with men and their guns, Bayonetta came along and mixed up the game.
The game was a collaboration between Platinum Games, and acclaimed Hideki Kimaya, creator of Devil May Cry. Bayonetta was a sexy heroine who was being hunted by the angels for being a Witch.
Armed to the teeth with weapons, even on her high heels, she kicked demonic ass in one of the most enjoyable experiences in gaming.
It was her arsenal and the way she handled herself that made her one of the most iconic characters in gaming. I mean who else wears rocket launchers as boots?
2010 – Bioshock 2
2010 was one of the biggest years in gaming, and everything that came out of the year was memorable. One of the best games to hit Xbox 360 that year, had to be Bioshock 2.
After the highly acclaimed original, Bioshock 2 had big shoes to fill, and it succeeded.
This time around, we played as a Big Daddy with various new game features like the ability to wield a weapon and Plasmid at the same time.
The game also introduces new enemies like the Big Sister, who was a faster, more deadly female version of the Big Daddy. We also all remember one of the best DLC releases in gaming, Minerva’s Den.
2011 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2011 came along and it brought some of the best games in years, so much so that most of the games released in 2011 are all remastered and playable on today’s hardware.
The best console to play Skyrim on was the Xbox 360. It was stable, had less bugs, and got the DLC on time – no offence Sony.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of the biggest RPGs on the Xbox 360, and whisked players away to the frozen lands of Skyrim in an adventure we will never forget.
2012 – Halo 4
After four games, Bungie moved onto the development of Destiny, and 343 Industries took over the Halo series.
Halo 4 was the first game in the series from the new studio, so they had some big shoes to fill.
Halo 4 came along and set the bar for FPS games with its gorgeous visuals, stunning story, and fantastic multiplayer.
The game dived deeper into the story of Master Chief as the series rebooted itself into a new trilogy.
A tie-in live action series also expanded the universe even more to turn Halo into a global phenomenon. Everyone knew Halo, and everyone had seen it.
2013 – Forza Motorsport 5
As the Xbox One released in 2013 there were many great games to accompany it, but one that stood out was Forza Motosport 5.
It was a benchmark game and true to the Xbox family. It just showed how far the series and hardware had gone to produce a game of that standard.
It was truly the next step in gaming as we slowly transitioned into the next generation of games.
2014 – Sunset Overdrive
When Insomniac Games announced an Xbox One exclusive, fans of the Ratchet and Clank series felt betrayed, as Sunset Overdrive was one of the best open world action games on Xbox One.
An energy drink has turned people into crazy mutated creatures, and it is now up to you to find the root of all this as you wield an arsenal of crazy weapons and mow down these awesome, but deadly creatures.
With a fountain that spits out acid, a teddy bear that explodes, and a vinyl disc launcher that dices enemies in two, this game had it all.
2015 – GTA V
Although GTA V released on Xbox 360, you cannot forget its mark on the Xbox One. Visual improvements aside, the fact that we could play GTA V on our modern consoles made it all worthwhile.
The move to the modern consoles meant that the online side of the game would run better, and it did.
The game is still being supported by Rockstar, as the online community has been showered in gifts and content for months.
It proves that you just need a massive open world and some crazed online lunatics to make an online game a success.