Xbox 360 Launch Line-Up - Five Years On

How does the initial batch of games hold up now?

Okay, so technically speaking it's not quite five years on from Xbox 360's launch.

But it's close enough and we can definitely have a look back at the greying software with a new appreciation, given what games have arrived since those heady days brimming with potential we didn't know and innovations we couldn't have predicted.

Oddly enough, it's not the expected choices that have aged as well while other games have grown old gracefully. We look at all the release games and see if they're worth digging out today...

Kameo: Elements of Power


Commendable for its ambition but rememember for its failure, Kameo: Elements of Power seemed a little too keen to please. The garish colours and busy design reeked of an overeager attempt to show what Xbox 360 could do, and the keen attempt to show technical progress clashed with the archaic gameplay. Not worth bothering with these days. If you want a 3D platformer by Rare, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts fits the bill better.

Perfect Dark Zero


It was supposed to be the crown jewel in Microsoft's launch line-up but Rare's FPS was a limp, uninspiring affair. It shared the same gameplay as the original Perfect Dark on Nintendo 64 but had none of its charm. The result was a boring, drawn out affair that was saved only by the highly customisable and surprisingly fun multiplayer. Even so, nothing about Perfect Dark Zero has endured, and its superior predecessor is available on Xbox Live Arcade.

Condemned: Criminal Origins


The mixture of melee violence, horror and detective work ensured Condemned would stand out in any line-up at any time of the year. As part of Xbox 360's launch line-up, it was sensational. There have been plenty of survival horrors on 360 since then not to mention its own sequel, but none of quite captured the visceral violence married to the up, close and personal horror that Condemned did. Even now, it still has the power to send a chill up your spine. And that department store level... cripes.

Call of Duty 2


This was the HD showcase for what Xbox 360 could do. The action on screen, the crisp visuals and the billowing, towering clouds left by smoke grenades lent themselves to the first not-possible-on-Xbox visual moment. Revisiting it now, post-Gears of War, post-Halo 3 and post-Call of Duty, it's not quite as impressive. Likewise, the gameplay didn't make the visual strides. Still, it's a damn fun FPS and if found cheap, well worth playing through.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted


With its reputation at a low following its mediocre last-gen output and with little known model Josie Maran roped in to flutter her eyelids at you during the cutscenes, there didn't seem to be much purpose or poise for Most Wanted. Yet it proved the hidden gem of the line-up, building solid gameplay around its strong structure. Now it's a little dated and rough around the edges, not to mention the game's length demands full commitment rather than a casual race around. Still, it remains the most pleasantly surprising Need For Speed title on 360.

Project Gotham Racing 3


One of the standout titles at the time of its release, PGR3 has been made redundant by the wealth of racing titles that have followed since including its own sequel. Still, it has earned its place in 360 folklore by popularising the concept of DLC, replay channel and Geometry Wars Retro Evolved, a hidden bonus in PGR3's garage. Not worth a purchase now but its importance can't be denied.

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