5) Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
Professor Pester and his army of sour pinatas are at it again, and it's up to you to turn them over to the side of good and sweetness. Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise is everything great about the series and more. With dozens of new pinata species to coax on your side through various means such as having two flowers of any kind in your garden or have a specific number of a certain type of pinata in your garden, Trouble in Paradise will have you playing for hours. The new sand and snow environments allow for not only new ambiance but also new pinatas to come visit and eventually (hopefully) stay as residents. Then there's all that romance and pinata-on-pinata action that Viva Pinata is known for.
4) Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Many fans of the bear and bird were upset that the Xbox 360 installment of the series drove so far away from the franchise's roots. Instead of being a pure platformer the game was a vehicle-building and riding game. The goal of collecting Jiggies was the same, but the means of doing so was different. They weren't hiding in the various worlds waiting to be collected. Instead, you talked with the numerous characters around the levels and accepted their challenges. There were objectives like transporting a flurry of soccer balls into a goal net, racing against Mr. Fit, and taking to the skies to defeat Mr. Patch. Being creative with your vehicle choices was just the start of the strategic thinking necessary to ace missions. You needed to actually perform well to get top times and be awarded with those coveted Jiggies.
3) Perfect Dark Zero
This choice is not necessarily the most popular one, but I actually enjoyed Perfect Dark Zero more than the Halo games. Yes, Joanna Dark turned from a British spy to an American teenager, but I liked the mission structure with its various objectives instead of Halo's run-through-and-kill-wave-after-wave-of-enemies formula. On harder difficulties you not only had more objectives to complete, but you also took more damage. The multiplayer is the coup de grace as it had huge maps to explore with high-powered weaponry, bots (I love bots), and vehicles including a jet pack. Many hours were wasted jumping in online and playing with friends and total strangers and enjoying almost every moment of it. The hate for this game must stem from the fact that the Nintendo 64 original was so spectacular and the Xbox 360 prequel fell short of that.
2) Tales of Vesperia
In Japan the Xbox 360 was and will always be on life support. To combat this Microsoft attempted to buy support as they had little faith in their first-party studios to create content that would appeal to the East. One of their purchased titles was the timed exclusive Tales of Vesperia (the PlayStation 3 version of the game is only available in Japan), a beautiful anime-styled RPG with clever dialogue, memorable characters, and an engrossing battle system. The colorful areas of Tales of Vesperia come alive wonderfully on the Xbox 360 hardware, and while the system isn't known well for its range of genres, Vesperia helped for at least a week in putting the 360 on the map in the Land of the Rising Sun.
1) Dead Rising
Meet Frank West. He's covered wars, y'know. He's a photojournalist who unwittingly gets caught right smack dab in the middle of a zombie outbreak in the city of Williamette, Colorado. Armed with nothing more than a camera, Frank will have to utilize any and every item available to him inside the mall where he takes refuge in like chainsaws, lawn mowers, baseball bats, trash cans, soccer balls, and even toys such as teddy bears. In his journey to discover the truth behind the zombie epidemic, he comes across men and women who have succumbed to their insanity and have become psychopaths, ready to kill everything under the bloody sun. Did I mention that Frank was timed during all of this? It's something that critics of the game don't like, but while this time system was sometimes overwhelming with having to rescue civilians and meet people at specific times of the three day cycle, it makes Dead Rising one intense and exciting game to play. Note: the Dead Rising series did come to Wii, but the game was so different that I still consider this original version as an Xbox 360 exclusive.
Next week I will be covering the top five PlayStation 3 exclusives, so please look forward to that. As for now, what Xbox 360 games that are exclusive to the system do you love the most? Leave me a comment below and join the debate!