One of the Xbox One’s greatest advantages is its backwards compatibility. Starting with the Xbox 360, the Xbox One has steadily added to its library, and this week marks a big jump. The first original Xbox games will be available to play on the One, starting tomorrow. But which should you start with? Here they are, ranked from best to still pretty good.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Really, how could we not lead with Knights Of The Old Republic? The one prequel fans really wanted, KOTOR launched both BioWare into the top tier of development teams and delivered one of the most beloved bits of Star Wars in the fandom’s history. And if that weren’t enough, it’s pretty fun to play to boot.
A close second is the wacky cult platformer from Double Fine. Psychonauts debuted to vast critical acclaim and enormous fandom disappointment as it failed to find an audience. Over time, relentless fan pitching of the game and more than a few ports have built up its reputation, so if you somehow haven’t played it, now you finally can.
Yes, we know, the pirate craze is very Naughties. But Sid Meier’s strategy game holds up as a lot of fun, and it’s a good refresher course before Sea of Thieves arrives to steal your booty.
Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time
Before Jake Gyllenhaal soured everyone on the franchise, this revival, mixing combat, platforming, and screwing around with time, was one of the best games of 2003.
Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge
Oddly, this hugely popular air combat game never spawned a video game franchise. But it’s still a heck of a game, and there’s nothing like blasting your friends out of the air.
Ninja Gaiden Black
This insanely hard 3D brawler, arguably the moment the brawler genre was finally cracked for modern consoles and releasing a flood of butt-kicking heroes, has been outpaced since. But on its own, it’s a lot of fun and a welcome revival.
Black is a bit of a throwback. At the time, it was a big deal for its environmental destruction effects and its graphics, which were cutting edge. Now it’s fascinating as a time capsule of what first-person shooters were like a decade ago.
Red Faction II
Way too short, alas, but still one of the more fun, and off-beat, FPS games of the era.
Neowave: The King of Fighters
If you’ve got friends over, you can never have too many old-school fighting games. And this was one of the best of its time.
Yes, the sexy leather-clad vampires are a hugely embarrassing reminder of how ridiculous pop culture was just a decade ago. But the game is still fun!
Dead to Rights
Notorious for its bad minigames, the main gameplay of this action game, with a gun-toting hero and his faithful dog, is still a blast, right down to the bullet time every game cribbed from The Matrix for a while.
Grabbed by the Ghoulies
This game has a strange history. It was originally intended for the GameCube before Rare was snatched up by Microsoft, leading to an unusual feel and a bad taste in the mouths of critics. The game is still fascinating, though, especially in light of what Rare went on to do for the Xbox.
One of the Xbox’s launch titles, this seems mostly to have been thrown in as a party game and as a curiosity. Think of it as Microsoft’s version of Mario Party.
Any disagreements? Any games you want next? Let us know in the comments!