Top 10 Backward Compatible Games You Should Play on Your Xbox Series X or S

Tags: #BackwardCompatibility ,   #XboxSeriesX ,   #Xbox360 ,   #RedDeadRedemption ,   #GrandTheftAuto

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2021-08-12 16:00:53

One of the best reasons to own Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S is backward compatibility. Unlike PS5, which supports only PS4 titles, Microsoft's latest consoles allow you to play games from all previous generations of Xbox. While not all original Xbox and Xbox 360 software is available on Xbox Series X/S, the library is still extensive. As the compatibility continues to grow, we'll make sure to update this list. Be aware that we won't include any Xbox One games, as all of them work on Xbox Series X/S, except for titles requiring failed Kinect technology. The same goes for the games such as Darksiders or Dark Souls, which received remasters.

10. Daytona USA (Xbox 360)

Daytona USA still looks gorgeous with its unique visuals

For decades, gamers were begging Sega to port their arcade hits to home systems, but they rarely listened. That's why it was surprising when they launched Daytona USA for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Even better, instead of a simple port, we've received a visually enhanced product. This includes widescreen support, full HD resolution, and cleaner textures, making it look great on your gaming TV. There are also new modes, including unique challenges and online multiplayer.

Despite its age, Daytona USA looks attractive thanks to its bright colors, detailed environments, and incredible sense of speed. While this is an arcade game, the handling still requires lots of skill. As cars are heavy, it's an effort to control them while sliding. Also, the manual transmission significantly improves your chance to come first or set a new lap record. Three tracks and only two cars don't sound like much, but there's a ton of fun here.

9. SSX 3

SSX 3 requires you to make insane moves

To be honest, we still think that SSX Tricky is the best game in this long-abandoned Electronic Arts series. However, SSX 3 is also a fantastic game that will test your snowboarding skills. Unlike the later reboot for the Xbox 360, this original Xbox game is an arcade title, encouraging you to make insane moves to earn an additional boost. While it's easy to control your rider, you still need to learn many tricks to succeed.

Despite being set on a single mountain, courses are still varied and have numerous shortcuts which will help you take the lead. The SSX 3 is an old-school game where a lot of content is initially locked. However, the progression is enjoyable, so you'll feel immense satisfaction. Even though it was released in 2003, SSX 3 remains the best snowboarding game you can play on your Xbox Series X/S system.

8. Fable II (Xbox 360)

Fable II is nicely enhanced on Xbox Series consoles

The Fable series reached its peak on the Xbox 360, and Fable II stands as the best among them. In this role-playing action game, the focus is on the choices you make. Thus, you can be good, bad, or neutral, which will define your look and the gameplay. Interestingly, being an omnivore is considered evil, with a plant-based diet encouraged. This time, you'll have company, as your dog will follow you everywhere. Taking a page from The Sims series, you can also get married and have children, with an option for divorce.

To emphasize the open-world nature of the game, you can partake in many optional activities. Taking jobs is the only way to earn money, but you are also encouraged to explore the map for hidden content. Also, you can be joined by another player for cooperative action, either on a single console or online. 

7. Driver: San Francisco

More people need to know about Driver: San Francisco

After a brilliant start, Driver games had a massive downfall that finally stopped with the release of Driver: San Francisco in 2011. What makes this title so unique is teleport, which actually makes sense as you progress through the story. While the developers took liberties with the map of San Francisco, they created a fun environment with over 200 miles of roads.

Once again, the emphasis is on spectacular chases, all while avoiding police and numerous obstacles. Thankfully, controls are generally terrific, balancing between arcade and simulation. This means that you'll quickly notice the difference between vehicles. Driver: San Francisco introduces real cars to the series, including McLaren, Lamborghini, or Chevrolet. Unfortunately, as the licenses expired, this means that you'll need to grab the physical copy of the game to play it. We'd love a remaster, but that might not happen anytime soon.

6. Grand Theft Auto IV

The improvements over the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV are easy to spot

Grand Theft Auto IV pushed the Xbox 360 to its limits, as it struggled to maintain a stable 30 frames per second. Luckily, the power of the latest generation of Xbox consoles makes this problem disappear, as it runs at locked 60 fps. Unfortunately, there are no further enhancements, so don't expect the PC version's level of details. Yet, if you can disregard that, you'll find that old, brilliant gameplay set in Liberty City as a fictional version of New York.

As an Ex-Yugoslavian immigrant, Niko Bellic, you'll struggle to find your place in a cruel society which puts you up against local mobsters. Luckily, you also have a city to explore and enjoy side activities next to standard main missions. Even driving around and causing chaos is incredibly fun! Of course, compatibility includes both expansion packs for the game, packed as Episodes From Liberty City.

5. Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge is such a unique and visually appealing experience

Mirror's Edge is a timeless classic set in a dystopian future where people traded their freedom for a false sense of security. Taking the role of runner Faith, we must use the best parkour skills to survive. Even though you can use weapons, the game encourages you to simply outrun your opponents or neutralize them with your fists and legs.

Because of its unique visuals, Mirror's Edge still looks amazing, and on the Xbox Series X, you receive a 4K upgrade with auto HDR. While the PC version still looks better, you are not missing much. Even though the reboot Mirror's Edge: Catalysis further improves the graphics, the atmosphere and the flow are still so much better here. There's a bit of trial and error, but it's doubtful you'll ever feel frustrated.

4. Forza Horizon

The original Forza Horizon is the best Xbox 360 racing game

Released close to the end of the Xbox 360 life cycle, the original Forza Horizon redefined open-world racing games. Set somewhere in Colorado, this title allowed us to drive hundreds of cars, including the best from Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, or Chevrolet. However, the most exciting are Showcase Events, where we need to beat atypical opponents, such as airplanes! There's so much to race and explore here, even though sequels offer even more content.

Forza Horizon looks brilliant on the Xbox Series X as it runs at 60 fps and supports 4K resolution. There's not much off-road action, but you'll find plenty to like if you are into open road racing. Forza Horizon shouldn't be viewed as inferior to its sequels, as it's a unique, timeless classic. You won't hear that a lot about racing games!

3. Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 would still benefit from a 60 fps upgrade

Honestly, it's such a surprise that Gears of War 2 is still an Xbox 360 exclusive, especially as its predecessor received a remake. To many, this title remains the best in the series, representing a massive upgrade over the original. However, we're not talking only about graphic improvements that pushed the hardware limits, as the gameplay was much better. Best of all, there's a split-screen campaign mode that works better than anyone could hope for.

Unlike the original, Gears of War 2 is a balanced game, leading to a much less frustrating experience. The gameplay is further enhanced with the ability to ride various vehicles. Gears of War 2 also added the popular Horde mode, now a series staple. As Gears of War 3 is also playable on the Xbox Series X and S consoles, you should check it too!

2. The Orange Box

The Orange Box games never lost their appeal

Since Valve is incredibly lazy, The Orange Box is still available only on Xbox 360. This compilation consists of Half-Life 2, its two expansions, and adds Portal and Team Fortress 2. The whole package was an incredible value, as all these titles are excellent and still very playable even today. Among them, Portal was the biggest surprise because of its creative, physics-based puzzles.

But it's even more impressive that Team Fortress 2 still has active servers and a decent amount of players. The only thing that won't impress you are the upgrades on the Xbox Series X. While the 4K resolution is welcome, the frame rate still stays locked at 30. Maybe, just maybe, Valve will at least do the remaster, or god forbid, give us sequels.

1. Red Dead Redemption

The best way to play Red Dead Redemption

As Rockstar is remastering Grand Theft Auto V for the second time, it sounds incredible that Red Dead Redemption is still a PS3/Xbox 360 exclusive. One of the best games of this century provided us with an incredible Wild West experience, though we didn't expect any less. This includes bounty hunting, dueling, gambling, hunting, being attacked by various animals, or encounters with strangers. There's also a morality system, which affects the relationship with non-player characters.

Still, the main story is the most impressive element here, as we control a deeply flawed character in a desperate situation. While the plot can drag a bit, the epilogue is one of the best in gaming history. Unfortunately, while the game works flawlessly on the latest generation of Xbox consoles, expect nothing more than a 4K resolution. This means that the frame rate stays locked at 30 fps, with no auto HDR.

There are over 500 Xbox and Xbox 360 games you can play on the latest Microsoft console, and some of the honorable mentions include Alan Wake, Bayonetta, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, or Panzer Dragoon Orta. While they are graphically inferior to native Xbox Series X/S titles, their gameplay is what makes them so appealing and timeless.

What are some of your backward compatible games? How vital is backward compatibility for you? Let's discuss it in our comments section.

Photo: Raghavendra V. Konkathi/Unsplash


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