Welcome to Xbox Classics Revisited. In this new series we aim to take a look back at the previous three generations—the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One—of Xbox games. These mini-retrospectives serve as a tribute to some of the best gaming that Xbox has given us over the last 20+ years.
For those who were lucky enough to have been there for all of it, read on and savor the nostalgia. For those Xbox fans too young to remember Maude Flanders or Pepsi Twist: get ready to meet your Xbox gaming backlog.
July 2004 (Microsoft Game Studios)
Sudeki could be called the only real JRPG on the original Xbox. It breaks the genre mold somewhat however, in that the combat employs a real time battle system in which the player has the ability to slow time to a crawl as they handle party commands. This was quite a novelty for a JRPG back then and was only possible thanks to the Xbox’s hard drive, as were the game’s graphics—Sudeki was quite the looker in its time.
Sudeki was decidedly more influenced by JRPGs like the Star Ocean and Mana franchises than by genre juggernaut Final Fantasy. Unfortunately the game did not enjoy great sales numbers (and thus never got a sequel) although it is remembered today an Xbox classic.
Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)
February 2008 (Microsoft Game Studios)
From legendary Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi came this, one of the most unexpected roleplaying classics to hit the Xbox 360. It was one of the first games from Sakaguchi’s Mistwalker Studios, and featured veteran Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu handling the soundtrack. The story of Lost Odyssey was co-written by Sakaguchi and popular Japanese author Kiyoshi Shigematsu.
While the gameplay of Lost Odyssey relies on traditional JRPG mechanics—random, turn-based battle encounters, an intricate leveling/ability system, over-the-top magic spells, and a mind-bending fantasy narrative that is utterly epic in scope—it has earned praise for how well it executes all the aspects. It is considered one of the best JRPGs of this era of gaming.
Nier: Automata (Xbox One)
March 2017 (Square Enix)
This action RPG is the sequel to the original Nier released in 2010. Set in the year 11945, in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a proxy war pitting alien machinery against manmade androids, Nier Atuomata carries on the dark atmosphere of its predecessor. Both games are spiritual successors to the Drakenguard series of roleplaying games.
The game combines hack and slash combat with nonlinear exploration. Nier Automata has received accolades for its story, soundtrack and design. As with all the games featured here, this modern classic carries on the rich storytelling tradition of the JRPG genre, and proves that the genre is anything but dead.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these mini-retrospectives. What are some of your favorite classic Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games? Are any of them on this list? Let us know about your favorite Xbox gaming experiences in the comments below. And thanks for reading.