360 Love – Stocking Stuffer Games

Here are 5 must own exclusive games for the 360 under $30 so they will all make a perfect gift!  Spoiler alert, for the downloadables go buy those discounted point cards from Amazon and Gamestop.

Weighing in at around $10 with approximately 5 hours of gameplay depending on how good a puzzle solver you are, Limbo is the dark.  Disturbing and moody, Limbo provides an atmosphere only seen in early Silent Hill games.  It is a 2D platformer of the likes you’ve never seen.  And its only available as DLC.  Yes its black and white, quit whining.  This is a different kind of black and white.  Like high def black and white.  Maybe a slight sepia tone.  The point is, having all this detail and wonderful lighting effects on a black and white environment creates a tension that is rarely experienced in a game.

Metroidvania.  What a word.  So Shadow Complex is one of those and its really good.  The story was written by a homo-phobic male and I apologize for recommending it because of that.  The simple fact is, that was just one man who has nothing to do with the wonderful graphics and gameplay that are present in this game.  Why there isn’t a sequel to this I do not know.  So lets paint a picture.  You’re a dude in some type of sci fi armor that’s fighting giant mechs.  All the while you’re picking up pieces to this armor that gives you new abilities which allow you to fight better and access new areas.  On top of all this, the game constantly tells you how close you are to beating a friend’s score and there is a score for everything.  My personal favorite score to increase is the one for punching dudes.  So explore a large underground complex, fight giant mechs, item hunt for weapon and armor upgrades, and passively compete with friends.  Did I mention this game looks fantastic as well?

Alan Wake is one of the underrated releases of the year.  This game was released in May and its already selling at $30.  The story in Alan Wake is what makes the game, which is reminiscient of HP Lovecraft’s “In the Mountains of Madness”.  Each character feels real with their own faults and motivations (or lack there of).  Alan himself is massively flawed and shows himself time and time again that he sucks at dealing with people.  Each chapter is done in the style of a TV episode, ending licensed music and all.  And speaking of the music for the game and song selection is fantastic.  Poe and Portishead for example.  The gameplay mechanics are a lot of fun even if they do wear thin by the end of the game.  This is a game that deserves a sequel and the only way that is going to happen is if more people purchase it.  And I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t a fantastic game.

Technically Bayonetta is a multiplatform game but the PS3 version is a port.  And ports are always terrible.  And this port is particularly bad.  Plus I had to bend the rules a bit as there aren’t a ton of good exclusive 360 games under $30 (PC counts as a platform folks).  Halo: ODST was a consideration but Halo: Reach is so much better I couldn’t justify that recommendation.  I also realize opinions will differ but I’m not a Gears of War fan and I feel like I haven’t played enough of Lost Odyssey to recommend it yet.  And really, Bayonetta is a fantastic game.  So decision making aside onwards and forwards.

Bayonetta is the story of two witches, of whom Bayonetta is one.  This is a hyper-sexualized and hyper stylized game.  The action in Bayonetta is so over the top top and crazy I challenge you not to like the game.  What’s that, Bayonetta is in a church when a giant dragon head breaks through the wall?  Then after fighting the giant dragon head the camera pans back for the player to discover that the dragon has ripped the church from the earth and you’re now fighting two giant dragon heads while standing on a crumbling church high up in the sky.  This is chapter 3 folks.  Guns in her high heels?  A Joe Pesci style sidekick?  A weapons dealer from hell?  Do I hear a hell yes?  This isn’t a game to go to for serious story.  This is a game to go to for over the top action you aren’t going to find in Devil May Cry, God of War, Dante’s Inferno, or Castlevania.  This is game to play for humor and genuine fun.

What to say about Crackdown that hasn’t already been said?  The cover art is terrible but this game can be purchased for $10 on Amazon.  Included with that $10 is a three island open world for the player to develop an agent to superhero power status to police.  Jump 10 stories, fire a heat seeking rocket launcher, and throw cars.  Seriously.  Is there a bad part to this?  Well the driving in the game is a little wonky, but that’s almost it.  There’s even multiplayer in the open world.

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About MusiM
Musician, writer, Gundam model hobbyist, video game lover, host of The Carousel Podcast, and all with a day job.

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