The best backwards compatible Xbox 360 games to play on the Xbox Series X

Microsoft's commitment to backwards compatibility has given these Xbox 360 games new life on the Xbox Series S/X.


One of the biggest issues with gaming on consoles is that upgrading to the latest technology usually means that you're going to have to say goodbye to your older titles. Because of this, you can no longer play your older games unless they are remade or remastered for the newer console.

Playing Saints Row: The Third on the Xbox Series S/X makes you think of just how much better the world would be if all older games were backwards compatible with new consoles.

The good news, however, is that Microsoft knows how big of an issue this is. The Xbox Series S/X, and previous Xbox consoles, have a built-in backward compatibility feature that lets you enjoy decades-old games on new tech.

Below, we've put together a list of the best Xbox 360 games to play on the Xbox Series S/X.

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

It's a shame that the next two Lords of Shadow games weren't as good as the first one.

Technically, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow doesn't get an FPS boost nor a resolution boost on the Xbox Series X. But, even without those graphical improvements, Lords of Shadow is still worth playing the game on the Xbox Series S/X if only to experience one of the biggest "what ifs" in video game history.

It's easy to see how Lords of Shadow turned off longtime fans from the franchise. It's not a side-scrolling adventure that most were used to do. Not to mention, it attempted to reboot an entire series with decades worth of lore. To top it all off, it used a formula more commonly associated with the likes of God of War. However, if you look past all those minor flaws, Lords of Shadow was an excellent game that subverted common genre tropes and featured standout voice acting performances from Robert Carlyle and Patrick Stewart.

In terms of gameplay, there was a lot to love in Lords of Shadow if you're not blinded by hate. The game had several memorable bosses with huge levels that hid secrets within secrets, as well as a good variety of skills that you could upgrade and combo together.

Unfortunately, the next two Castlevania reboot games were a letdown compared to Lords of Shadow, which is probably why Konami decided to re-release the GBA Castlevania games instead of a third if not fourth Lords of Shadow game.

Crackdown

Crackdown doesn't feel like it's over a decade old on the Xbox Series S/X.

Crackdown was arguably every Xbox 360 owner's guilty pleasure back in the late 2000s. The game put players in the shoes of a hero-like cop, in a far-future setting, that can leap over buildings and ran faster than, well, a speeding car. In a way, it's kind of like playing RoboCop, complete with an unintentional (or maybe it was intentional) commentary on how the police use excessive force.

The main issue with Crackdown on the Xbox 360 was that the console just couldn't keep up. On the Xbox Series X, this isn't a problem. The game runs at 60 FPS and everything loads instantly. It's as if playing Crackdown on the Xbox Series X is exactly how the studios wanted the game to be enjoyed.

Just Cause 2

It's a toss-up between Just Cause 2 and 3 for the best game in the series.

Similar to several other Grand Theft Auto clones, Just Cause 2 took where the original game tried to separate itself from Rockstar's seminal series and doubled down on it. Forget about story and realism, Avalanche Studios knew full well that the main strength of the Just Cause franchise is that it gives players a massive virtual island to use as their playground and that's exactly what they did.

You can find anything you can think of in Just Cause 2 and with a grappling hook as well as a parachute as your modes of transportation, you'll enjoy zipping across valleys and mountains much more than you'd like to admit.

Make no mistake. Just Cause 2 does have a single-player campaign. However, it feels more like a tutorial on how to play the game than anything else. Sure, you could finish it and it's still quite fun, but the game is best played when you're left to your imagination. The best part is playing Just Cause 2 on the Xbox Series X lets you enjoy the game in a way that was never possible back in 2010.

Lost Odyssey

Playing Lost Odyssey on the Xbox Series S/X is the next best thing if you've been asking for a PC port of the underrated title.

Lost Odyssey is what you'd get when you take two people from Final Fantasy (Nobuo Uematsu and Hironobu Sakaguchi), a best-selling author in Kiyoshi Shigematsu, and Slam Dunk's manga artist, Takehiko Inoue, and let them create a game. Perhaps the name attached to it is the reason why Lost Odyssey is so criminally underrated. Most must have had impossibly high expectations for the game. But, while Lost Odyssey is not a perfect title, the epic JRPG is an ambitious game that suffered due to the technology available at the time.

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Lost Odyssey took up four dual-layer DVDs worth of space at the time of its release, which made it Microsoft's largest console game in 2007.

In 2021 on the Xbox Series X, Lost Odyssey's size is no longer that big of an issue. The long loading times are a thing of the past as well. This means that fans can now enjoy their time as Kaim, an amnesiac immortal sent to investigate the mechanical creations of the warring kingdoms of Gohtza and Uhra.

Dead Space

Despite its age, Dead Space looks amazing on the Xbox Series S/X.

Make no mistake. We're all for the Dead Space remake. The only problem is that it's still a year away from releasing, at best. At worst, it might not release until 2023, which is a long time to wait if you already have an Xbox Series X right now. The good news is that the original Dead Space trilogy is available to play on the Xbox Series S/X. If you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, that's even better.

If you haven't played Dead Space before, we recommend that you do it as soon as possible. It's a nightmarish third-person action game with fantastic art and a gun that can slice enemies apart. Mind you, your enemies are no slouch. They are malformed humans with elongated limbs that will continue to haunt you in your nightmares when you sleep.

There's a reason why we included Dead Space in our list of the best horror games of all time, and you'll quickly find out why as soon as you give it a try.

Halo: Reach

Many consider Bungie's swan song with the Halo franchise as the series' best outing yet.

Bungie's last outing as the developers of Halo was a big one. Following the success of Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach tugged at the heartstrings of players with a story revolving around a group of Spartans who, within the day, will die anyway regardless of what you do. However, despite the seemingly futile end awaiting them, it's the story of how each Spartan fought valiantly that makes this game so memorable.

As a bonus, Reach has some of the best online multiplayer of any Halo game ever. To date, thousands of players continue to queue up on the servers of Reach, so after you're playing through the single-player campaign, you can rest easy knowing that there are others to play with and against online.

Skate 3

Playing Skate 3 on the Xbox Series S/X should tide fans over until Skate 4 arrives.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 was a love letter to skateboarding fans who grew up playing the classic skateboarding sims back in the 90s. However, if you're looking for a series that tried to further the genre, it's Electronic Art's Skate franchise.

Skate 3 was the culmination of all of EA's efforts over the years. Even today, the gameplay hasn't aged one bit, and playing it on the Xbox Series S/X will let you enjoy the game at 4K resolution. Unlike Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, Skate 3 requires you to replicate tricks by using the right stick as opposed to pushing a random set of buttons and hoping that it will stick.

Until Skate 4 drops whenever EA decides to release it, Skate 3 is easily the best skateboarding sim available out there.

Saints Row: The Third

Many still consider Saints Row: The Third as when the series peaked.

Saints Row is another series of games that spawned from Grand Theft Auto. However, whereas the likes of Just Cause and Crackdown doubled down on the action and mayhem, Saints Row was just plain silly. The third game was arguably when the series peaked as the Third Street Saints had become celebrities and found themselves at odds against the Syndicate, resulting in a war that would decide the future of Steelport.

Goofier, silver-er, and a lot more enjoyable than the first two Saints Row games, The Third is the only game on the market where you can pummel your enemies to death with a phallic toy.

Here's to hoping that next year's upcoming Saints Row game is just as good.

Red Dead Redemption

Rumor has it that Rockstar is going to remaster 2010's Red Dead Redemption. Until this happens, this will have to do.

As far as games that have stood the test of time, Red Dead Redemption is right up there among the best of them. Despite being released back in 2010, Red Dead Redemption remains just as fun to play on the Xbox 360. It also helps that you can play it on 4K on your Xbox Series S/X.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the Xbox Series S/X feels surprisingly good to play for a game its age.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was released at a time when BioWare was still trying to prove itself in the industry. As a result, the game has some of the boldest and bravest twists in gaming history, complete with a charming cast of characters that helps make the entire journey more memorable.

With a remake for the PS5 on the way, now is as good of a time as any to enjoy the original game.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.