Microsoft is working diligently to expand its backward compatibility program for the Xbox One, and that means seeing a number of original Xbox games for the hardware. In fact, some will also be enhanced for the Xbox One X, looking better than they ever have.
Now, we already know about a couple of the games in the project, including Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge. And it’s probably not possible to bring licensed fare to the system, like Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, due to expired rights.
Still, there’s a lot of room for great first and third party games in the programs. So which ones would work best for it? You’re welcome to leave your feedback, but here are seven essential picks from the original Xbox era that we just can’t be without…
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
We haven’t seen a new Splinter Cell game in some time, since Blacklist came out a few years ago. So maybe it’s time to revisit some of the better games in the original saga, namely with Chaos Theory. That title stands as one particular favorite from the early trilogy, with beautiful animation and stunning stealth-based gameplay.
And, if that’s not enough, along with a robust single player campaign, Chaos Theory comes packing with strong multiplayer, including offline and online play and various modes that will either have you stalking or sneaking like a champ. Bonus: you can’t really go wrong with Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher. You just can’t.
Kung Fu Chaos
Party games are much different these days than they were in the older generation, relying more on online play and trivia more than anything else. But back in “the day”, Kung Fu Chaos was one of the better party games around, having you partake in mad brawls and mini games while proving your dominance on a movie set. The game’s wacky sense of humor, backed by solid controls and wonderful multiplayer options, made it a surprise hit. Sadly, we haven’t seen the game since, but if Microsoft really wanted to play a smart move with this program, it’d bring back Kung Fu Chaos with a vengeance. After all, you can’t go wrong with a good (bad?) kung fu drama.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
This one is just a must. Old Republic showed BioWare in prime form many years back, and 14 years later, it still remains one of the most stupendous Star Wars games on the market. You drive your character’s fate however you see fit – Light Side or Dark Side – as you take on a variety of enemies and endure a number of twists that will help create your hero’s (villain’s?) legacy. Plus, it still looks like a winner, and Xbox One X enhancement would only make it look even better. Even if you’ve played the game a million times, you can always find room for one more go-around.
For that matter, we’ll take Jade Empire, too. Hell yes, we will.
Burnout 3: Takedown
This one may be a longshot, if only because Electronic Arts has already moved on to working on the Need For Speed franchise in favor of Burnout. But it’d be a shame to leave Takedown in the dust, as it’s one of the greatest racing games ever made. The action is fast and furious (no hint to the movie franchise, we swear) as you take down cars with well-timed rams and other vehicular chaos, while at the same time shooting for a first place win. Plus, the Crash mode has never been better than it has in Takedown, as you drum up millions of dollars worth of damage within a matter of seconds. This game deserves a second chance at life, and hopefully EA will allow its revival to happen.
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Yeah, what happened to the Panzer Dragoon franchise, anyway?! Once upon a time, it was one of the hottest brands going for Sega, but then it got dropped like a bad habit. Fortunately, it went out with a bang with Orta, a thrilling flying adventure with some unreal graphics (even for an early 2000’s release), and great gameplay that reminded us of the Sega Saturn games that came out before. The boss battles are really something too, and will test out the best of your flight skills. If Sega were smart, it’d just release an HD version of this game for everyone to enjoy. But we’ll happily take a port of the original Xbox game, and savor the flavor of bumped-up Xbox One X graphics. Yes, please.
Jet Set Radio Future
Speaking of underappreciated sequels from Sega on the original Xbox, let’s point out Jet Set Radio Future. This game really hit all the same high notes as the original Jet Set, and expanded even further with a much bigger city landscape, more playable characters, a robust soundtrack filled with memorable tunes, and enough skating antics to make the likes of Tony Hawk blush. On top of that, the graphics are still amazing after all these years, and Xbox One X enhancement would probably make them shine even further. True fans of the Jet Set franchise can easily “understand, understand” why we want this game to return with a vengeance. Take a skate with it and you’ll see…
Conker – Live & Reloaded
It was a tough choice between this game and Fable, but considering that Fable Anniversary is already playable on Xbox One (per an update that dropped last week), we decided to go with Conker. Microsoft brought back the raunchy N64 hit to life on the Xbox with enhanced visuals and even more crude jokes, making it the perfect revamp that players needed. Plus, the additional multiplayer wasn’t half bad either. Despite the fact it’s very mature-rated, Conker would be an ideal title to welcome onto the Xbox One X, and enhanced visuals could make it look even better. “Hey, that sunflower’s boobies look even more life-like,” someone’s bound to say. (Not us, mind you – we’re still trying to figure out how Conker got so fuzzy…)