There are plenty of yardsticks by which to measure a console’s greatness. We’ll be forever indebted to the original NES, for example, for dragging the industry away from the abyss in the 80s, bringing forth a new generation of gaming defined by strict standards of quality control that (for the most part) exist to this day. We’ll always look fondly upon the Dreamcast for delivering unprecedented gaming horsepower at the time, and a host of revolutionary features that just weren’t fully appreciated until about 10 years, following its demise at the hands of Sony’s all-conquering PS2.
Conversely, we’ll probably never really appreciate Panasonic’s 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, even though it kicked off the sixth console generation.
Still, we live in a time when the idea of the console exclusive is becoming tainted with the ‘timed’ prefix, and when remasters and ‘HD’ updates are seemingly the best this generation has to offer, so let’s reflect on which consoles got it right when it came to offering game libraries you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Here’s the definitive rundown of the greatest ever video game consoles – measured by their exclusive titles.
10. Xbox 360
Best exclusive titles: Gears of War 1/2/3, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Forza Motorsport series, Viva Pinata, Fable 2, Alan Wake, Perfect Dark Zero.
The slightly dubious privilege of kicking off this list goes to Microsoft’s crowning console, and one of the greatest of all time thanks to its ease-of-use for developers, a pioneering role in online console gaming, and excellent digital marketplace. Yet, for all its achievements, the 360 boasted little in the way of exclusives.
Of course, what it did have was nothing to scoff at. It solidified how we think of cover shooters thanks to the spectacular Gears of War, which was also among the first console games to become a huge online multiplayer hit. Halo 3 brought the iconic shooter series to the seventh generation in style, but Reach really took things to another level, introducing breathtaking new gameplay features like jetpacks, a gripping campaign and a range of new multiplayer modes – making the game a great reason in itself to get yourself an Xbox Live Gold membership.
It’s when you go beyond these core futuristic-shooter franchises that things start wearing a little thin for the 360. While Microsoft’s deal with Rare ensured that we got a couple of solid off-the-wall offerings like Viva Pinata and Banjo-Kazooie: Nut Bolts, as well as Perfect Dark Zero, none of these were console-sellers comparable to Rare’s N64 library.
The Twin Peaks-inspired oddity that is Alan Wake seemed to be a love-it-or-hate-it deal for most people, but the fact that it’s still receiving sequel buzz to this day speaks volumes. Rounding off the console’s best exclusive offerings are Fable 2 – the pinnacle of Molyneux’s RPG saga before it tapered off a bit for the third outing – and Forza Motorsport, the straight-down-the-line car-porn driving sim to rival the PlayStation’s Gran Turismo.
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