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One of the best parts of Xbox Game Pass is that not only does it offer current-gen games, but games that go all the way back to the original Xbox as well. While original Xbox games barely exist on Xbox Game Pass (at least for now?), there are plenty of Xbox 360 games that are still fantastic to play.
That’s why we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on a few of our favorites! Here are the best Xbox 360 games you can play on Xbox Game Pass.
One quick note: There are some great Xbox 360 games available on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate via EA Play, but for this list, we’ve stuck to games that don’t rely on EA Play just in case support for it is dropped from Xbox Game Pass at some point.
1. Alan Wake
If you’re a fan of Control, you owe it to yourself to go back and play at least some of Alan Wake. Developer Remedy’s penchant for the weird is fully on display in this game following a writer who is definitely not inspired by Stephen King.
The hook in the gameplay is that the enemy is immune to your attacks in the dark, so you need to strategically light up areas, whether with gas generators powering lamps or just your trusty flashlight. This is survival horror without the cumbersome inventory management which is part of why it’s so good.
While this game didn’t do well when in came to sales and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, Brutal Legend was one of the more unique games on the Xbox 360. While at the start it looks like an open-world brawler, it’s actually a hybrid real-time strategy game in disguise.
Then of course, there’s the metal. The entire game world looks like a heavy metal album cover in the best way. Even if you have no real appreciation of metal or rock music in general, the way the game commits to this is one of the best things about it.
The two previous entries in the Banjo Kazooie series were platformers that debuted on the Nintendo 64. This entry takes a very different direction, making it all about designing and building vehicles.
While this was a weird direction for the series to go, it turned out to make for a great game. It’s a shame we haven’t seen a sequel in this same direction.
4. Fable II
The Xbox 360 had an unusual amount of franchises in which the second was the best game in the series, including Fable II. While the first one was fine and the third was okay, Fable II shined in a way that no other game in the series has to date.
Particularly, Fable II had a way of making its world feel much larger than it actually was. This is anything but an open-world game, but at times it can feel like one in all the right ways, without including all of the dead ends and empty areas.
Fallout 3 was a revelation, taking what had until then been an old-school isometric RPG of exactly the sort you think of when you hear the term CRPG and making it third-person. Yes, this was basically Oblivion with guns, but it absolutely worked.
Then Fallout: New Vegas came along and blew Fallout 3 out of the water. It kept everything that worked and improved the storytelling in nearly every way possible, making a game that is still very much worth playing.
The entire Gears of War series is available on Game Pass, and all of them (aside from maybe Judgement) are worth playing. That said, if you’re going to revisit one, Gears of War 2 is the one to go for.
The gameplay is slightly refined from the original, which was already great. The set pieces are bigger, the battles are more intense, and of course, this is the game that introduced Horde Mode to the series. Even if other games have taken on this type of multiplayer since, it’s still very much worth playing now.
7. Mass Effect
Yes, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is coming, collecting remasters of the first three Mass Effect games, but what if you can’t wait? Many will tell you that Mass Effect 2 is the best game in the series, and they’re not wrong, but there’s no better place to start than at the beginning.
The first Mass Effect is more of an RPG than the two sequels, but there’s still plenty of action to be had.
Before the Souls games were the high water mark for difficult games, there was Team Ninja’s revamped Ninja Gaiden series. While Ninja Gaiden II isn’t much of a step beyond the first game in the series, it’s the only one available on Game Pass at the moment and it’s still very good.
What this game does add on top of the original is ridiculous gore. If you’re a fan of both fast-paced action games and the sort of gore you see in recent Mortal Kombat games, this game is for you.
Shadows of the Damned sounds like a generic action game, but this game from Suda51’s Grasshopper Manufacture is anything but generic. For this game, Grasshopper collaborated with Resident Evil co-creator Shinji Mikami, resulting in, well, I don’t know what to call it.
An action game first and foremost, albeit with some horror elements, Shadows of the Damned stars Garcia Hotspur and his demonic sidekick Johnson. Hotspur can use Johnson as a light source, a gun, and of course, a motorcycle. If this sounds anywhere near something halfway resembling your cup of tea, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
10. Viva Piñata
The Xbox 360 was looked on by many as the shooter console where everything was either brown or shades of gray, and in many ways, this was the case. Why then did it also have a series as fun, colorful, and just plain joyful as the two Viva Piñata games?
The answer is: it doesn’t matter. Both games are absolutely worth playing, but if you haven’t played either before, there’s no reason not to start with the first.
More to Play on Xbox Game Pass
Xbox 360 games are an excellent value add for Xbox Game Pass, but if you don’t think these games are worth the subscription, just know that there are plenty of more modern games you can also play via Xbox Game Pass. The service gets better with every year that Microsoft expands its library.
You can even play Xbox games on your PC with Xbox Game Pass for PC. Learn more about that in our article on why Xbox Game Pass for PC is worth it.
Don’t have it yet? Check it out for yourself: