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Best Xbox 360 games of 2012

Best Xbox 360 games of 2012

It was a huge year for Microsoft. Despite the age of the hardware, Microsoft continues to record respectable sales figures for the Xbox 360. In November, the Xbox 360 moved an impressive 1.26 million units in the US alone, and remained in first place in console sales for the 23rd month in a row. 

But the end is near for the aging system. And while most (read: us) think there will be a new Xbox under the tree next holiday season, or early into 2014 at the latest, Microsoft’s gaming system continues to show that it still has plenty of life left in it.

This year has been a good one for the Xbox 360, with some great exclusives both through traditional retail releases and digital downloads. Her is our list of the best from 2012.

Dust: An Elysian Tail

Both Sony and Microsoft have been putting a huge emphasis on their digital downloads, and it is paying off. Some of the best games of the year can be found coming from smaller developers with lower budgets but higher creativity, and Dust: An Elysian Tail is among them. The game is essentially the love child of a single developer, Dean Dodrill, who won Microsoft’s “Dream.Build.Play” challenge in 2009. From those humble beginnings, we have one of the best success stories – and one of the best games – of the year.

 Click here for our review.  

Fez

Another Xbox Live Arcade title, Fez is a puzzle/platforming game that offered puzzle fans something that was a bit unusual and bizarre, but also entertaining and appropriately challenging. It combines 2D and 3D environments in an M.C. Escher style, and took nearly five years to develop. That development cycle, featuring legal problems and budget delays, was even featured in the documentary Indie Game: The Movie. Good controls and a solid soundtrack help to make this one of the best games available to Xbox 360 gamers.

Click here for our review.  

Forza Horizons

The Forza series continues to impress fans of driving games, and Forza 4 Motorsport offered the best racing simulator on the market last year. Although driving games by their nature offer a very predetermined style of gameplay, they are constantly improving and new physics are continually pushing the boundaries of what the genre can be. But beyond the physics, there are also new ways to present driving games, including a whole new world to explore. Forza Horizons takes the physics that made Forza 4 what it is, and introduces it into a whole new setting and style. The result is an incredibly addictive and attractive experience that makes it a must have for Xbox 360 driving fans.

Click here for our review.   

Halo 4

The best known exclusive franchise in Microsoft’s arsenal returns with one of the biggest games of the year. Featuring a new developer made up almost entirely of former Bungie employees that chose to remain with the franchise, Halo 4 debuted this year to great fanfare. With an original story that marks the first part of a new trilogy, a massive co-op section that features 10 hours of additional gameplay, and the familiar multiplayer that has made converts of millions, Halo 4 is among the best of the year.

Click here for our review.   

Skyrim DLC

Calling this an Xbox 360 exclusive is a bit of a debate waiting to happen. Sure, Skyrim came out last year, and sure it was released on PC and PS3 as well, but the DLC is a different story. Technical issues have doomed PS3 owners to stare enviously as the 360 received all the DLC without issue, while they are still waiting and may never actually receive it. PC fans haven’t fared much better either. And with Skyrim’s DLC, that is a shame. The most recent DLC, Dragonborn, was more than just a minor little addition. It offered up to 30 hours of additional gameplay, plus a whole new section of the world to explore. The Dawnguard DLC isn’t quite as big, but it isn’t far off. Combine those and you’re talking about anywhere from 20-50 hours of gameplay that PS3 fans still aren’t sure they will ever get. That is significantly bigger than many full retail games, and earns it a spot on this list.  

 Click here for our review of Dragonborn.