In case you missed the news, Microsoft finally launched its Xbox Originals program for Xbox One, allowing players to rediscover a number of original Xbox classics to play on their new console. So far, the program has only introduced a handful of games – 13, to be precise – but it’s a key opportunity to rediscover some old-school favorites.
So where should you get started? We have a few recommendations on what games you should begin with, and while they’re likely to look better on the Xbox One X when it launches next month, that shouldn’t stop you from getting a jump start on some genuine classics. Besides, you know that KOTOR isn't going to play itself, right?
This is simply a given, because it shows the kind of gameplay that BioWare has become known for in its prime. Knights of the Old Republic is a timeless classic, one that puts the Star Wars franchise to good use as you partake in a number of memorable battles, eventually shaping your destiny as you make crucial decisions alongside your teammates. The game looks even dreamier on the Xbox One, with enhanced visuals that bring its world even more to life. And best of all, you can score it on the Xbox Live Marketplace for just a few bucks – or track down a physical version and save even more. The Force is strong with this one. (C’mon, you knew we were going to say it.)
Whatever happened to the Crimson Skies franchise, anyway? This would’ve made for a key release on Xbox 360, and we know a new edition for Xbox One would hit the spot. For now, though, we have High Road To Revenge, a satisfying and action-packed adventure where you take to the skies, completing missions for your friends while shooting down enemies using different weapons. The controls are spot on, and the graphics look great on the Xbox One – and will be even more enhanced for the X. Who knows, with enough purchases of this version of the game, Microsoft may bring this franchise back for another go-around. Please.
Okay. You thought Dark Souls was hard? You thought Cuphead put up a challenge? Welcome to Ninja Gaiden Black, a souped up version of Tecmo’s incredibly tough ninja hack-and-slash game. This version goes the extra mile with a number of new challenges that will leave you sweating like nobody’s business, as enemies step up to hack you down like a tree in George Washington’s yard. But this game is so worth it, thanks to its beautiful visuals, abundant extras, and the ability to hone powerful weapons as you turn monsters and soldiers into dog food. Step up and prepare for a beating.
It’s been years since Ubisoft has released a game in the Prince of Persia saga, with the last one, the self-titled open-world adventure, faring pretty good. But if you really want to see the series in its heyday, take a good look at The Sands of Time. Ubisoft’s adventure is chock full of platforming challenges, skillful combat and plenty of sand-weaving magic, as you work your way through intricate settings, all the while avoiding mistakes by using limited time-rewinding powers. The graphics still look great after all these years, and the gameplay holds up significantly well. But, really, we need a new adventure like this, Ubisoft. Pronto.
It’s not often you see a fun pirating adventure come along, which is why we’re so excited for Rare’s Sea of Thieves to set sail next year. In the meantime, though, you can easily enjoy Sid Meier’s Pirates! from 2K Games, a title that really makes you feel like you’re in charge of a ne’er-do-well crew, dominating the high seas through ship battles, sword fights and other pirating decisions that will make you want to throw on an eyepatch and let out a hearty “ARRRRRRR!” The game is still a great deal of fun, with replayability built around your decisions that will have you conquering the high seas over and over again. This game deserves a re-release, but we’re content with this Xbox original.
Criterion Games has become known for its Burnout games over the past few years, as well as with its work with the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise. But in-between all those releases, it tried its hand at a first-person shooter called Black, in which you take on a number of undercover missions while using whatever weapons you could get your hands on. While it lacks the nuance of some of today’s better shooters, it’s still a great run-and-run title, especially if you just want to create some wanton destruction after a tough day’s work. Download this and get to trashing stuff!