Microsoft adds 25 games to Xbox One backwards compatibility
Yesterday’s Inside Xbox show revealed a major expansion of the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility feature, which lets owners play games from older Xbox generations on their Xbox One consoles. Many of the games now compatible with the feature could be considered classics, and we have a full list for you below, along with a brief description of each title.
Each of the games listed can be played through the Xbox One by using a retail disc, or can be purchased through the Microsoft store. April’s updates will add support for six Xbox 360 games and 19 games from the original Xbox. The Xbox 360 games have been enhanced to look better on the Xbox One X, with the option to run them at a higher resolution if desired.
The Xbox 360 games now playable after the update include:
This grim game lets you play as War (one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) as he attempts to discover who set off the war between Heaven and Hell before humanity was ready. It combines mechanics from several genres, but plays most like a darker version of The Legend of Zelda. The game was remastered for current-gen consoles and PC a couple of years ago, and still holds up quite well.
- Gears Of War 2
The midpoint of the original Gears trilogy, this game sees Marcus and Dom heading beneath Sera to protect the city of Jacinto and attack the Locust directly. Unlike its predecessor Gears 2 never made it to the PC, so before now you could only play it on the Xbox 360.
- Portal 2
Valve’s sequel to the original Portal brought back GladOs, Chell, and the Weighted Companion Cube, but also introduced new favorites like Wheatley, Cave Johnson, and the Space Core. It’s a simple formula—do a puzzle, get a joke—but it still works. Don’t forget there’s an entire cooperative campaign included featuring the same level of polish as the single-player.
- Red Dead Redemption
This cowboy themed open world title is one of the prettiest to release in the last generation, and the protagonist has one of the most compelling arcs ever portrayed in a Rockstar game. Since the sequel has been delayed, why not take the opportunity to refresh your memories?
- Sonic Generations
This game let players choose between “classic” and “modern” Sonic, and was well-regarded by fans of both.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
This title puts you in the shoes of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller, and allows players to wreak havoc using a variety of Force powers much stronger than what we’ve seen in the movies. This game’s story isn’t considered canon, but it’s still a lot of fun flinging Stormtroopers out of airlocks and slicing AT-STs in half with your lightsaber.
In addition to the 360 games, 19 Original Xbox games will soon become playable on Xbox One consoles. Eight of these titles will become available on April 17, and the remaining 11 will release on April 26. The games coming on the 17th include:
- Blinx: The Time Sweeper
This game featured time manipulation as a game mechanic, and was a throwback to mascot platformers from the 16-bit generation. The idea was later put to better use in Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
A first-person action game with an emphasis on realism, despite the plot revolving around an alien invasion. Breakdown was inspired by Halo and Half-Life but featured first-person fistfights in addition to gunplay.
- Conker: Live & Reloaded
Rare’s naughty squirrel was bizarrely censored in this Xbox remake of the Nintendo 64 platformer. As a result, this title is tough to recommend; you’re better off playing the original version in the Rare Replay collection.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Fans of Skyrim should consider going back in time to try out an earlier game in the Elder Scrolls series. The area depicted in Morrowind was at one timed rumored to be DLC for Skyrim, but it never came to fruition.
- Hunter: The Reckoning
Based on the White Wolf tabletop RPG, this game has more of an emphasis on shooting and brawling, sort of like a more modern Final Fight or Streets of Rage in a 3D environment. The game features a 4-player cooperative mode, and was popular enough to spawn two sequels.
- Jade Empire
An early BioWare RPG, featuring a version of the morality system players had experienced the previous year in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Based on Chinese mythology and folklore, the player can choose the way of the “Open Palm” or the “Closed Fist” when dealing with moral quandaries.
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
One of the most unique results of Microsoft’s partnership with Sega after the latter company ended Dreamcast production and became a third-party studio. Panzer Dragoon began as a Saturn title, a rail shooter where the protagonist flies on the back of an enormous dragon. Orta was the final game in the series and featured several different types of dragons to ride.
- SSX 3
EA’s third extreme snowboarding game was the first in the series to sell more than 1 million copies, and it’s still lots of fun to shred down the game’s ridiculous mountainsides. If you enjoy driving down Mount Wario in Mario Kart 8, SSX is almost certainly one of that track’s inspirations.
Tons of THQ and Star Wars games headline the titles releasing on April 26. The full list is as follows:
- Destroy All Humans!
A playable version of Mars Attacks! where you control a small grey alien with a ray gun and a bad attitude. As Crypto, you’re tasked with harvesting human brain stems to keep your race from going extinct. It doesn’t go well for the humans.
- Full Spectrum Warrior
This tactical game’s story mode lets you take command of two separate fireteams which must provide covering fire for one another while they move. The Xbox version also includes a cooperative mode where two players each control a single fireteam and have to work together.
- Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
An early open world title that plays out like a Michael Bay movie. Nearly everything can be blown up, and it’s not hard to see the DNA of games like Just Cause. This game’s sequel is best remembered for the song from its commercial, and you still might hear it occasionally during sporting events.
- MX Unleashed
This Motocross game came between ATV Offroad Fury 2 and MX vs. ATV Unleashed. It looks like fun for folks who like getting their wheels dirty.
- Panzer Elite Action: Fields of Glory
A World War 2 tank simulation title, it’s a type of game you see more frequently on PC. Fans of World of Tanks might be interested in trying out a more historically accurate game.
- Star Wars Battlefront
The 2004 LucasArts original, not the 2015 relaunch. It’s tough to go back to games like this one since the multiplayer servers were shut down in 2010. Still, there’s a significant amount of single-player content to play through, and no loot boxes.
- Star Wars Battlefront II
Much like its predecessor, the console servers have been offline for this title since 2014. But multiplayer for the Windows version has been re-established for Steam and GoG, so it’s possible Microsoft intends to do something similar for the Xbox version.
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
A descendent of early FPS Dark Forces, this title lets you play as a Jedi-in-training studying under Luke Skywalker and Kyle Katarn. Choosing the female character adds an unintentional degree of humor for those who’ve played through Mass Effect as FemShep; both characters are voiced by Jennifer Hale.
- Star Wars Jedi Starfighter
This Star Wars inspired flight simulator came out between the first and second episodes of the prequel trilogy, and features levels based on the second movie’s Geonosis battle. Every level features a cooperative option, with the second player firing either a turret or piloting a second ship.
- Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
The sequel to BioWare’s breakout game was actually developed by Obsidian, who are probably best known for their work on Fallout: New Vegas. Much like that game, The Sith Lords is buggier than its predecessor, but has much deeper moral choices to consider.
- Star Wars Republic Commando
Set between the second and third Star Wars prequels, this game tells the story of a squad of elite Clone troopers who perform a series of missions for the nascent Empire. The story mode is brief but enjoyable, and it’s interesting to play through a Star Wars title that doesn’t focus on space wizards for a change.
The Xbox One is the only current-gen console to embrace backwards compatibility, and it’s something Microsoft doesn’t get a lot of credit for. Nearly 500 titles can now be played in this way, and that’s great news for anyone coming to gaming now who wants to brush up on older games.