SB Recommends Xbox 360 Games

360cookie.jpg Microsoft's successor to the Xbox. Due to faulty hardware, nearly all units made from 2006 to at least 2008 have experienced or will experience what is affectionately known as the “RRoD”, requiring servicing or possibly replacement. Save a couple of notable exceptions, the 360 is the console du jour at the moment. This is largely due to its excellent third-party support, key exclusive franchises, and role as a (generally shit) indie development platform.

360 units can be classified into three groups: the early original model without HDMI, the original model with HDMI, and the slim model with built-in wifi and a Kinect port.

Backwards compatibility with the original Xbox is extremely iffy, with all games played through software emulation. Playability and accuracy vary wildly between games, and many aren't supported at all1). Several “Xbox Originals” are available for purchase and download on the Marketplace, but Microsoft ended online support for all original Xbox games in April 2010.

selectbutton member luvcraft has developed two games for the 360, In the Pit and Crosstown, using Microsoft's XNA development tools.

  • 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (also on: PS3)
    • mothmanspirit: Something I really admire about this is it plays its badassery totally straight. There are kids out there who played this and then joined the Marines. But it's also joyfully absurd and if you want to admire it that way, it's an equally valid interpretation. Real similar to Gears of War and Neo Contra in that regard I think.
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (also on: PS3)
    • costel: A Reeses Cup of Modern Warfare and Ace Combat, audacious and utterly familiar, it has consistently surpassed my expectations for it. Even if those expectations were rooted in deep skepticism for a series I adore beyond all recognition.
  • After Burner Climax (also on: Arcade, PS3)
    • Felix: Very short, explosive, Sega-gorgeous rail shooter that might be too fast the way that modern Sonic might be too fast. Honestly not very replayable, but it evokes Outrun 2 and that's more than enough. Also, the world needs more AM2 ports.
  • Alone in the Dark (also on: PC, PS3 (an updated version))
    • Rudie: The PS3 version, while amazing, is a buggy mess. It was an improvement of the buggy mess this game is according to reviewers.
  • Alpha Protocol (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Tulpa: I played Alpha Protocol twice and had a riot of a time the second time through. I loved the first time through as a totally ridiculous game, but the second time showed me how versatile the game was.
    • space_jam: Alpha protocol is a mess but it's a totally fucking amazing mess
    • costel: Alpha Protocol is at times, one of the most engaging games I've ever played. A purely stealth based character has been somewhat difficult to manage, but more than anything I find myself at odds with what to do regarding the characters I interact with. Faced with meaningful choices and consequences, is an experience that I was completely unprepared for.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: It's a hideous buggy mess with some intriguing ideas buried inside. Maybe on PC it's had some of the technical shittiness patched/modded out.
    • * Tulpa: I played Alpha Protocol twice and had a riot of a time the second time through. I loved the first time through as a totally ridiculous game, but the second time showed me how versatile the game was.
    • space_jam: alpha protocol is a mess but it's a totally fucking amazing mess
    • costel: Alpha Protocol is at times, one of the most engaging games I've ever played. A purely stealth based character has been somewhat difficult to manage, but more than anything I find myself at odds with what to do regarding the characters I interact with. Faced with meaningful choices and consequences, is an experience that I was completely unprepared for.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: It's a hideous buggy mess with some intriguing ideas buried inside. Maybe on PC it's had some of the technical shittiness patched/modded out.
    • CubaLibre: The more I think about Alpha Protocol the more I believe it is the shit. It's a criminally ignored and underappreciated version of the “choices & consequences” gameform that is completely narratively coherent and completely shits all over Bioware's inexplicably vastly more popular efforts.
    • Mr. Mechanical: Everyone should play Alpha Protocol. Always go for the “be a jerk” dialog option. Every time.
      • boojiboy7: PROTIP: Almost every dialogue option is “be a jerk”. It's just a matter of choosing what kind of jerk you want to be.
    • Tulpa: Alpha Protocol's pretty much the best kind of mess, the things it does good it really does better than any other game and the things it does bad are mediocre to bad but not so bad that you want to stop (unless you are a weenie)
    • scratchmonkey: Really, I have no arguments with anybody who suggests that Alpha Protocol is one of the great misunderstood games of our time.
    • Guillotine: Alpha Protocol is brilliant. The smallish-medium scale (for a videogame anyway) probably helps mantaining its strong cohesion, The are tons of variations and it really feels your choices matters - even if the story doesn't really change much, how you go along for the ride does significantly.
      I remember this little detail, sadly I'm a bit fuzzy about it: There's this big ex pro boxer guy, and in a dialogue your character will say something akin to “yeah? well I got first place in my college tournament”. Later you can fight him, and by defeating him unarmed just after the fact your character will briefly talk to himself: “…told you so…” or something to this effect.
      And yeah Mike is the best jerk.
  • Armored Core For Answer (also on: PS3)- forum thread forum thread
    • drobe: When correctly handled, AC:4A is a game that makes you feel that mankind is capable of so much more, largely because the physical dexterity and visuomotor reaction speed required to play the game is something so much more than man should be capable of. A must for a lonely individual in a dark, lonely room.
  • Battle Fantasia (also on: PS3)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Around the same time they experimented with the ambitious RTS/action game Guilty Gear 2, Arc System Works debuted a friendly, accessible 2.5D fighter with gorgeous graphics, set in the world of a Tales-esque RPG. Neither of them sold, so they went back to over-complicated 2D anime wankfests with characters like soggy cardboard cutouts. Truth be told, Battle Fantasia isn't particularly unique or remarkable in the genre, but its sheer playability, satisfying crunchiness, and undeniable charm are enough to secure its place as an unsung classic. It's always a treat to play a fighter that doesn't belong to an established series, anyway. Many of the characters' movesets are interesting variations on the SFII cast: Guile is a shotacon altar boy, Ryu is a spunky kid with a chainsaw-motorcycle, and Balrog (Boxer) is a pirate captain with a move called HEAT MY JUSTICE. The 360 version got a retail release in America, the PS3 version is PSN-only.
  • Battlefield 3 (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Rudie: Has probably the best sound design of any game. Playing it on a good sound system is an amazing experience. The single player is shit. If you can get a friend or two the multiplayer will give you many many hours of giggling.
  • Bayonetta (also on: PS3, Wii U) - forum thread forum thread
    • Loki: An obscenely fun 3d beatemup about a witch killing angels.
    • Rudie: It also really makes you feel awful for dying and I kind of resent the game for it. I enjoy it when I played it then I die and it pretty much kills all my interest again and again.
    • gatotsu2501: I wish Hideki Kamiya had played Ninja Gaiden instead of God of War. Oh well, it's still a decently fun character-actioner.
    • diplo: Was a time when I thought this was fun. Not anymore! Returning to it last year (2013) was the most cheerless thing. Really not into the Perfect Dodge = COMBO TIME mechanic, the chances for instant failure offered by the QTEs, enemies' rococo makeup that make reading their movements unnecessarily hard, or the finger-hurting button mashing and joystick twirling required by the contextual Murder Moves.
    • Felix: It was Platinum's flagship title in their only genre and it's not quite as good as anything they've done since (Revengeance, Vanquish, Anarchy Reigns) or for that matter anything Capcom/Clover did immediately prior (DMC3, God Hand), mainly due to the dumb mechanics catalogued by Diplo. It's not a bad representative of this type of game, and no other developer could really even pull this off, but it's also not that super great.
  • Bionic Commando (also on: PC, PS3) - forum thread
    • Ketamine Kazoo: Multiplayer is where it really shines, and I imagine this was lost on people when the servers were saturated at launch to the point where you couldn't get your hands on any weapons without grafting yourself to item spawns. It's a traditional Quake deathmatch setup with 5 weapons, shields, health and quad damage- the player who wins is going to be the one who knows how to dominate resources, which puts special emphasis on mobility. Maps are intelligently designed to squeeze as much out of the grappling as they possibly could, bread and butter weapons are placed at specific heights so that a skilled player can grab them without losing any momentum, which is important because the floor is lava and touching it can be fatal. You can even grab items with your hook, so you can snag shit off platforms in freefall.
      When you really get a grip on the controls, the game takes on a kinesthetic flair that I haven't found in any other competitive game. It has a unique cat-and-mouse dynamic to it where the objective is to outmaneuver the other player, blindside and ground them so you can swoop down like a majestic predator hawk and eat them. At a high enough skill level, you can play and win without firing a single shot, but the weapons are effective and all have their place (except for the gimped grenade launcher which is only good for knocking people around).
    • Toups: I loved this game a lot after finally getting around to playing it last year. I really dug the boss fight against a huge mechanical worm thing. I felt it really was an awesome translation of bionic commando to 3D and was just underappreciated for whatever stupid reasons. Kind of like Blaster Master for PSX
    • cassievania: 3D Bionic Commando is one of my top favorite games from this generation.
    • The Blueberry Hill: I'm really enjoying swinging about in multiplayer, to the point where I wish there was a racing mode with no guns. I just want to swing forever~♥.
    • Felix: The physics (particularly on the weapons) feel totally one of a kind, the game has really nice colours, the game encourages you to diversify your weapons in order to level up, and getting all up in the level geometry is just terrific (when the game allows you to do it, which isn't always). The production is all over the place (not atypical of big studios contracting smaller devs with cashflow issues right around the era when Japanese companies were finally starting to get the hang of PS3-gen development) and I think that's where the game's negative impressions come from.
  • Blue Dragon
    • nickperson: There's nothing else quite like it. If you're not feeling it by the time you get through the Ancient Hospital, it might just not be your kind of game. It absolutely does not reward you for spending a lot of time exploring, talking to NPCs, doing side quests, etc, so try and blow through it as quickly as possible and don't let it overstay its welcome. And for the love of god, set the voice track to Japanese.
  • Brutal Legend (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Rudie: This was a pretty good way to spend 12 hours! It definitely IS an RTS though.
    • dongle: Ever feel that the mouse is too convenient for controlling RTS games? Want to go through pains to make mentally-incompetent troops execute basic tactics in a watered-down RTS? Plus the writing in the second half devolves into boring melodrama which is a dramatic step-down from the early radio-heavy-metal theatrics of the early game. For the record, I don't care for Jack Black. If you're a fan of Jack and his humor, you may be more willing to overlook the game's usability shortcomings and World of Warcraft-style filler in between battles.
  • Bullet Witch
    • drobe: When you need an erection, accept no substitutes. Bullet Witch is the Godhand on the 360, but before Bayonetta, which is the real Godhand on the 360.
    • Rudie: I have no clue what drobe is talking about up there! In the game though the Bullet Witch cartwheeled between two flaming buses that were being hurdled at her by a floating brain. She then proceeded to unleash a tornado that tore down the nearby buildings and sucked up the brain. That wasn't a cutscene either!
    • nickperson: Legendary game. The level design will expand your brain (horizontally?) and the setpieces are as carefully crafted and abundant as in any classic 16-bit game. The thing that pushes it completely over the top is the jaw-droppingly hilarious, endearingly idiosyncratic physics engine.
  • Burnout Paradise (also on: PS3)
    • gatotsu2501: Have you ever wondered what GTA would be like if the car physics were actually good and Rockstar wasn't so fetishistically focused on enabling the player to mass-murder pedestrians? It'd probably be something like this. Zooming around the city just for the hell of it is really a joy, and trying to wreck your car in the most spectacular way possible never gets old. I've played it for hours and hours now and barely even done any races.
    • Felix: Pretty bad if, like me, your favourite part of Burnout 3 was the Crash Mode. Otherwise a really swell achievement, though I think the open world tone/pacing is all wrong for Burnout.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (also on: PC, PS3, Wii)
    • P1d40n3 : It's MW! A crunchy and well-paced campaign, enjoyable multiplayer…what's not to love? Consensus puts the best difficulty at Hardened; Veteran degenerates into memorization of enemy placement (no Halo style dynamic combat here; one mistake is death), and everything else is far to easy. That being said, Mile High Club (Epilogue mission) on Veteran is the providence of the Elite, and almost worth the price of admission. (Guess who's beaten it? → THIS GUY ←)
    • nickperson: You can be too cool for Call of Duty but you will never be cool enough for this game.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Rudie: It's MW2! The predictable less filling, but bigger sequel to Modern Warfare 1. The online is occasionally great despite what others may say. It's not perfect, and at this point it's probably filled with hackers.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (also on: PC, PS3, Wii)
  • Call of Duty: World at War (also on: PC, PS3, Wii)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Mainly noteworthy for introducing the world to Treyarch's flagship Zombies mode, and by extension many hours of dumb arcadey co-op fun. Speaking of which, it's also the last CoD to feature a fully co-op integrated campaign.
  • Catherine (also on: PS3)
    • Rudie: The block pushing adult drama by the Persona Team. The story can take wildly different paths based on your actions and responses. Everyone on SB should definitely give it a try.
    • gatotsu2501: “Adult” is a relative term. The writing is pretty eyerollingly animu, and the plot takes a regrettable turn for the retarded in the third act. That said, it's still worth playing simply for being completely different from any other current-gen game, a throwback to a seemingly bygone era where console publishers were willing to experiment with offbeat and conceptual premises in their big-budget games.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (also on: PC, PS3)
    • gatotsu2501: Renders “Butcher Bay” irrelevant, as the entire game is included here with updated graphics in addition to the shorter but entirely competent sequel. Both games are so aesthetically masterful that I'm willing to forgive the fact that their gameplay is fairly dated and the stealth mechanics often quite frustrating. You will probably enjoy the story more if you have seen the movies, and thus are already familiar with the character of Riddick, because otherwise he just comes off as a sadistic asshole. It's not a necessity, though.
  • Crackdown
    • Loki: crackdown is one of those free-roaming murder simulators, but you get to be a super-powered policeman in a horrifying police state. still good, though.
  • Crysis 2 (also on: PC, PS3)
    • gatotsu2501: Crysis gets Call of Dutified so hard as to render it virtually unrecognizable as a sequel were it not for the familiar suit powers. That said, it's still an above average shooter on its own merits: the level designs may be corridors rather than open fields, but they're exceptionally large and winding corridors; the gameplay may be built around setpieces rather than emergent experiences, but they're setpieces that almost always allow you multiple means by which to tackle them. That's more flexibility than a good 99% of shooters in the CoD mold.
  • The Darkness (also on: 360)
    • gatotsu2501: Rough and unpolished shooter with some really neat ideas and excellent presentation - the voice acting is some of the best I've heard in video games, the environments are beautiful, twisted and haunting, and there are some truly unforgettable event sequences thrown in there. The 360 version looks better and runs smoother.
    • Youpi: Dark Souls makes me wish the internet didn't exist so I could only get my information about it from the other kids trying to sort out the useful strategies from the ludicrous playground rumors.
    • Adilegian: When I got to the first boss, that guardian drake thing of the crypt, I thought, “Oh, haha From, this is where I die and get taken somewhere or something. You can't fool me!” And then I just died!
      • Adilegian: Holy crap this game is hard.
    • TXTSWORD: I would certainly not say it's perfect — there are valid complaints… but the positives so far outweigh any problems that I just can't bring myself to care too much. A lot of their ideas were so ambitious that there are bound to be problems and to me this only shows great promise for the future of the souls games. More refinement on solid ideas and probably more ambitious ideas that maybe don't work perfectly but so fucking what. It's progress and it's daring and it's brilliant.
      Last weekend I decided I'd Dark Souls'd out after making 3 new character to completion in less than 2 weeks time. I made it almost a week before I started Generic Knight and I've had as much fun as I've ever had. I'm sitting on several more character ideas I'll want to make. Sometimes I'm freshly aware and appreciative of how bizarre and wondrous the world design is and how interesting and gorgeous the environments are. I'm so appreciative of a game that isn't trying to be “bad ass”. I mean reading2) the game's producer talking about his refusal to include gratuitous blood and gore seems so refreshing. It's not so much the exact subject — blood and gore — as the mindset. It's a sort of desire for refinement, for quality, for a cohesive and unique vision and direction. For having principals. It's as if the game has respect for itself and refuses to lower itself to people who want a hard ass protagonist spouting one liners (as an example). It's the kind of thing I'm not used to seeing and I don't think it's occurred to me just how deeply I appreciate and respect that. It's kind of difficult for me to articulate, and for that I'm sorry.
    • spectralsound: Both Souls games are amazing even if only for the fact that they're content with keeping quiet about some things, and leaving it up to the player to determine what that character's history is or what his motives are or where he's going. It's honestly about a much of a selling point for me as the gameplay is, especially in this era of Skyrims and Mass Effects, where every random villager or space tourist has this dense backstory that is presented to you in text dumps with such frequency that it becomes suffocating. Playing Dark Souls after playing those games feels like zen meditation.
    • remote: Dark Souls is a bit more ambitious than its predecessor and is thus more engrossing (or just as engrossing, but perhaps with greater longevity) despite a couple of late areas that feel like big ideas with disappointingly very little to be seen or explored. I can't really bring myself to say that Demon's Souls was hands-down the better game, but “more graceful” might be an apt enough way of putting it. It feels more elegant and complete in its simplicity, whereas Dark Souls has left me wanting more, driving me to keep playing and experimenting with covenants, new characters/classes, PVP and co-op, narrative aspects I have not yet discovered, etc. I'm definitely consumed by it as well.
    • Tulpa: Tulpa: I think one of the most aesthetically appealing things about Dark Souls, especially compared to other fantasy games, is the way it taps into a mythopoeic style of fantasy as opposed to an ersatz medievalism+monsters.
      Within Dark Souls, the player character interacts with gods and demons from the very start and fights to change the cosmology of the world instead of wandering around a traditional and ultimately unsatisfying fantasy setting that feels like pop culture medieval earth plus orcs.
  • Dark Souls II (also on: PC, PS3)
    • CubaLibre: it adds some mechanical improvements at the expense of thematic depth. In other words they improved the stuff that I didn't really think needed improving at the expense of the one thing D'Souls did better than anyone. It's still a good game, it's just not a great game. You play it through once and you don't feel a whole lot of pull to experience it again.
    • mauve: DS2 is one step forwards two steps backwards. It does some things really well (the aforementioned mechanical issues, which are unfortunately marred by ridiculous hitbox issues and perhaps an over-nerf of sprinting), but the overall world is simply not as compelling and the level design has fewer moments of greatness. And soul memory is off-putting to playing characters for long periods of time, as you can't simply designate a cut-off point for your character anymore without becoming wildly outclassed in multiplayer.
      It's still a good game. It's just, well, it's not the Dark Souls 2 of Dark Souls, it's the Dark Souls 2 of Dark Souls 2. It's doing its own thing, and overall it is not as good for it.
  • Dead Rising
  • Dead Rising 2 (also on: PS3, PC)
    • P1d40n3: Like Dead Rising, only playable.
    • boojiboy7: Actually, it is like Dead Rising, minus any challenge, plus a character that is nowhere near as interesting as Frank West, and a plot that has probably the dumbest premise in quite some time. Still worth playing, and yeah, if you whined too much about the first Zombie Survival game making you actually, you know, have to work to survive, this game is for you. The first is by far the better game though.
    • Felix: I have to admit that I was always pretty ambivalent about the original's pacing, and this one provides a bit more reassurance in that department (sorry, Booji; the idea of trying to do a good run through the first one always seemed to me to be a little at odds with the game design). Speaking as someone who's always a little put off by both a) one-button combat and b) zombies, I'm surprised at how well the weapon finding/breaking mechanics work with the hordes of dumb enemies. That said, this game is functionally just “Dead Rising, on PC” in my mind.
  • Deadly Premonition / Red Seeds Profile (JP) (also on: PS3, Windows)- forum thread, strategy section
    • Rudie: Looks like I need to man up and talk about DP here. It features one of the best characters in a game, FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan. That guy has the world's most perfect smirk! The game is half awesome Shenmue but set in Japan's version of the town from Twin Peaks and half limp wristed trudging survival horror. I strongly recommend you buy a copy of this game right now, even with how much of playing it made me groan. It looks like the world's best Dreamcast game + bloomlighting.
    • This Machine Kills Fascis: Man, I hate that all the positive reviews for Deadly Premonition reduce it to some kind of so-bad-it's-good midnight movie game.
      It's more like the sort of midnight movie that you see and you realize, “Oh wait, this is doing stuff I've never seen in a big studio movie. I mean, clearly they had no budget, but there's actually a spark of unbridled creativity and a thoughtfulness here.”
      I mean, at no point during Deadly Premonition did I feel like I was condescending to the game or its creators. Y'know, when I'm playing something like Gears of War I'm forced to try and enjoy the game's mechanics despite feeling like I'd avoid the people who made the game if I saw them at a party. I've said before that I don't want to play Mass Effect, because I don't want my “open world” choices constricted by the biases of developers who seem to have an outlook on the world that grosses me out. I don't want to climb into someone else's fucked up head. With Deadly Premonition, I didn't feel this same tension. It felt like a game made by people that are actually interested in exploring what kind of game they could get away with making.
      And, c'mon, you have to respect their chutzpah. They basically decided to make Shenmue with a thousandth of the budget and probably improved on the formula (offering a more obvious central story thread to focus on).
  • Deathsmiles (also on: arcade, iOS)
    • Rudie: I could probably write an essay on why this is a great game. I will say that the game is gorgeous despite the loli/moe aesthetic. It perfectly straddles (hah!) the line between pick up and play and ultra hardcore. The US/UK Version has 3 completely different game modes that each require extremely different playstyles.
    • Rudie: Deathsmiles is creeping into being my favorite shooter alongside Imperishable Night and Ikaruga. The bullet patterns and the music are such a gorgeous mix in IP, and Ikaruga requires just the right amount of route memorization that any more makes me hate Megadrive-hori shooters so much.
  • Devil May Cry 4 (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Rudie: When you want 1/3rd of a video game.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: “1/2 of a video game, played forwards then backwards” seems more accurate. I actually enjoyed it (on 360) quite a bit until the blue-balling “puzzle” stages, Nero's got a genuinely interesting moveset even if it was obviously unfinished.
    • P1d40n3: There is no reason to play this if you can play DMC3 or Bayonetta.
    • boojiboy7: I would play this over Bayonetta any day of the week. DMC3 is still better, though having the ability to switch Dante styles on the fly in DMC4 is pretty interesting, and makes me hope for a full game of it sometime. Nero is more interesting than people give him credit for though, as Sniper hinted.
  • Devil May Cry HD Collection (also on: PS3)
  • Dishonored (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Steampunk-themed spiritual successor to Deus Ex, by some of the original designers (unlike the more popular Human Revolution). It's an unexpectedly slow-burn sort of game, and probably the more faithful successor to Deus Ex when all is said and done, lacking the big-budget frills and streamlined mechanics of AAA gaming in favor of more choices, more playstyle flexibility, more freedom. I really don't dig steampunk at all, but the writing is honestly pretty good in a graphic novel sort of way.
    • nickperson: I liked this one a lot more than Earth Defense Force 2025. There's no Havoc physics, no individual human bodies getting gored by ant mandibles, no innocent bystanders screaming actual words. Witness the screen filled with bug juice, frame rate in the single digits, and feel the power of true love.
    • Rudie: It's EDF with an online mode! EDF! EDF!
    • The Blueberry Hill: The only member of the series I'd advise you to avoid.
    • nickperson: From the makers of Yogi Bear: The Video Game. (Do not ever play this game.)
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (also on: PS3) - forum thread
    • Rudie: A gorgeous adventure, then they ran out of time/money.
    • gatotsu2501: I'm tempted to make a joke about Evangelion, Xenogears, and the curse of Japanese pop entertainment based on the Bible, but I just can't seem to tie it all together.
  • Eschatos
    • Sniper Honeyviper: I found myself loving this game with a passion I hadn't known since ever. It distills everything joyous and crunchy about scrolling shooters, while cutting out all the scoring claptrap and fan-pandering that's plagued the genre as of late. Even the “Advanced” mode takes no explaining at all. Not that I don't also like recent Cave titles, but Eschatos' purity and straightforwardness is really a breath of fresh air. The fact that the game was made by a team of five people attests to this. For good measure, it includes the Wonderswan indie classics Judgment Silversword and Cardinal Sins, which Eschatos is a re-envisioning of.
  • EspGaluda II Black Label (JP)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: It's really, really hard and you'll never understand the scoring system unless you're a misogynist shmupsforum/dmxworld hard dude. You probably won't be able to justify the hefty import price unless you're a shmup collector or willing to put some serious effort into it. If you can track down the original, it's a much more forgiving game with a smoother learning curve. UPDATE: Cheaper platinum release on the way.
  • Fallout: New Vegas (also on: PC, PS3) - forum thread
    • CubaLibre: It's ok. The way the story branches and accommodates you is probably as good as the first Fallout, but the atmosphere is still a little too themepark and the FPS mechanics just suck compared to old action point tactical stuff. Plus it's still a goof-glitchy Bethesda halfdisaster. Their best effort since Morrowind though certainly.
    • Tulpa: So long as you don't use VATS (or play with the realism mod3) I keep recommending) the FPS mechanics work pretty fine (or better than most shooters). One of the big things about the realism mod is that it makes the AI act intelligently. They take cover, they flank, they use grenades. They don't charge you. If you stealth kill an ally of theirs, they will look for you. Even if they just find a dead body a little while later. Your companion doesn't step in the way of bullets anywhere near as often.
      While I can kind of see the theme park criticism, it's a lot less present than in Fallout 3. Mostly comparable to Fallout 2 (which makes sense, it's by the same guys.). There's a weird diversity to environments like in FO2 (the disconnect between the old west feel of most of the world and the New Reno feel of New Vegas was jarring and certain factions feel out of place), but there's some attention paid to how these people live. There are farms, people herd cattle. There aren't untouched abandoned convenience stores fifty feet away from a town with a food shortage. The world actually feels lived in, at times. The game is just very similar to Fallout 2 but with a more interesting plot.
      I don't think there are any generic respawning shooting gallery enemies other than wildlife. There's maybe two patches of feral ghouls in the entire game and only one group of unfriendly super mutants which can be dealt with without any ridiculous fucking bossfights (OR AVOIDED ENTIRELY). Everyone else actually has a place in the world. I kind of want to try a pacifist stealth/diplomacy run of the game but that might be near impossible.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: It's 2017 and this is my first Fallout game, effectively my first Bethesda (or pseudo-Bethesda) game, and one of my first WRPGs. Coming from that super-naive perspective, I uh… I like how many little variables you can tweak to approach the game in different ways! My choices largely do not feel trivial but also not railroaded into an obvious “right/wrong” or “good/bad” dichotomy. I actually like VATS, it makes the clumsy action mechanics feel less like a flaw and more like an element of strategy (because the limitations on AP and variability in accuracy between VATS and real-time combat make for occasionally interesting tactical dilemmas). I'm playing on Xbox One and I have yet to encounter any major technical issues which I guess means they've mostly been patched out at this point? Apart from there being slightly too much menu busywork, my main criticism is how tragically fucking ugly and stiff the game engine is, which I gather is ubiquitous to anything with Bethesda's name on it.
  • Gears of War (also on: PC; remade for XB1)
    • P1d40n3: Nice as context for GoW2's brilliance.
    • boojiboy7: If you were around for the heyday of this game on SB, it was an experience few will forget. The campaign is still better than 2's, I think, barring the shitty last bossfight.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: So like half a year after formally leaving SB and just over a full decade after its original release, I finally got around to playing one of SB's all-time sacred cows (via the Xbox One remake) and it's… good, but not mind-blowing for me. I can appreciate that the level design is some really conceptual and clever stuff and the game is clearly optimized for splitscreen. But the controls feel kind of clumsy and dated - I prefer the faster-paced combat encounters and more fluid movement of Uncharted to the stop-start progression and bullet sponge enemies in Gears - and the whole space marines vs. aliens thing is done with considerably more charm and aesthetic appeal by Halo.
  • Gears of War 2
    • Dracko: I think you're better off jumping onto that one and forgetting about the first game. It hasn't aged well at all and it's definitely hard to get back into after having seen the vast improvements and additions at work in the sequel.
    • Ronk: yeah, skip gears 1 and play gears 2's horde mode all day every day
    • boojiboy7: Personally, horde mode didn't work for me. It needed something more than what it had, but I don't know what that is. Still, Gears 2 is a good game, though I spent a lot more time with Gears 1. The campaign in Gears 2 also has some REALLY SHITTY BOSSES. Just terrible stuff that sometimes overshadows the rest of the (pretty wonderful) campaign.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: if you can ever figure out how to play it and get a friend to do the same. And it's like $15 now. It's probably a pretty amazing tribute to Herzog Zwei! I just always get overrun by the computer or occasionally some ridiculously good Japanese guy before the first round's even over. Still kind of boggles the mind that a Guilty Gear RTS was ever made.
    • death parade: This game is someone's dream game. Someone thought about making this game a long time. It's got elements of 2D fighting, elements of Herzog Zwei (if any game deserves to be considered Herzog Zwei's modern descendant… Herzog Trei? it is this game), elements of the dream Sonic game in your head (the run → drift mechanic) and elements of straight up brawler. Someone at ArcSys wanted to make this game so bad they didn't give a fuck about money or marketing or fighting game orthodoxy. Someone willed this shit to be, and it shines though. I like that, it's very charming.
      I guess what I'm saying is this — Guilty Gear [2] is a very, very, very SelectButton game. It's nowhere near perfect but it does a whole bunch of things excitingly and in a way that makes you feel nostalgic while you look ahead to a sparkling blue skies future of genre-bending.
    • notbov: GG2 is DOTA Warriors Reigns Coast 2 Coast.
  • Halo 3 (also on: XB1)
    • boojiboy7: Get three other people, get to the twin Scarab fight, and come up with the stupidest way you can pull it off. Good times ensue.
    • Reed: Didn't like it quite as much as the previous ones. Too much Cortana interrupting the shootmans. But it's still Halo, it's still great, and it adds interesting wrinkles (equipment, the hammer, the triumphant return of the AR). Crisp all around.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: I don't mind Halo having a story and cutscenes; the setting and dialogue are just thoughtful enough to be endearing, in a James Cameron or George Lucas sort of way, and the voice acting is good enough to sell that schlocky space marine melodrama with a (mostly) straight face. (Contrast to Gears of War, which I find a whole lot less charming and witty about the whole “bros vs. aliens” thing.) What I don't get is how Bungie managed to drop the narrative ball so severely about halfway through the second game, after putting together a near-perfect campaign the first time around (Library level notwithstanding). Halo 3's campaign does little in narrative terms to remedy what Halo 2 already screwed up, and in fact somehow manages to get even more convoluted, incoherent and unfocused. Maybe it needed more cutscenes, if the alternative is having enough weird fragments of a story to get you to wonder what the fuck is going on, but not enough to actually answer that question without making you read a dozen hokey spinoff novels. Mechanically, at least, it dodges a number of 2's low points (the bullshit boss fights, the maddening arena-like combat scenarios) while making some nice tweaks to your moveset and weapon/vehicle selection. So while they're pretty similar overall, I'm prepared based on first impressions to say 3 has the better campaign of the two, though neither holds a candle to Combat Evolved.
  • Halo 3: ODST (also on: XB1)
    • P1d40n3: Imagine one GLORIOUS Halo level. Now fill it with quasi-random Covenant patrols, and the best soundtrack to any Halo game. Now weaken your character. Welcome Halo: The Roguelike.
    • boojiboy7: Gotta disagree with the Roguelike comparison. First off, the levels themselves aren't Roguelike. Secondly, the weapon caches aren't random at all, and can make the overworld entirely different for an experienced player. However, this game is still really good for a few reasons. Mostly, I find the way the story is told to be a major evolution for Bungie, mostly due to the audio logs and how they end up relating to the single player game and the shifting world thereof.
    • Reed: If you only get one Halo game, get Halo: CE. If you only get two, get CE and ODST. Knocks on this game: Legendary is piss-easy; the level design is lacking and mostly of the “run in a straight line” variety. I still really like it for: the VISR, the audio logs, the general ambience.
  • Halo: Reach
    • P1d40n3: A somewhat by the numbers single player, the the multiplayer is just gorgeous. The Halo series is the evolution of the FPS, in miniature…there's an ABDN article in that statement.
    • boojiboy7: Actualy, the single player (and multiplayer, as it should be) campaign is far from by the numbers. Some of the level design incorporates a degree of verticality generally unused in Halo, and really works to offer non-linear combat areas without relying on vehicles. The addition of the “powers” or whatever greatly effects the way a story level is approached. Storytelling takes a bit of a backseat, but the “universe” of Halo gets fleshed out a bit. Also, Firefight is a lot more playable than its initial (neverending) ODST version.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: This fixed literally every issue I had with Halo 3, and supplemented it with massive amounts of added creative potential and gameplay dynamism. The ability to craft custom maps from scratch, without having to learn the intricacies and jargon of a complicated editor or know anything about programming, is something that the FPS genre as a whole really needed. It's more or less the ultimate GI Joe playset of your dreams.
    • tiburon: Reach is really close to really great. I think it's let down by the latter half of the game getting bogged down in Firefight-esque wave-based encounters, especially those when defending Halsey and in the last level. It doesn't seem like they have much encounter design or emergent potential, unlike say the dropship encounter in the second level of Halo 1. Not that big a deal for a first play, but rankles on subsequent playthroughs. Also, bloom sucks.
    • Rudie: Okay, maybe I am retarded for games set in East Asia. I still liked this game a lot more than either Gears. I think the level design is fantastic for encouraging co-op flanking maneuvers. It has two levels that I had been wanting to see in action movies forever. It is an excellent 5 hour affair that I have now replayed several times over, just because I enjoy it that much.
    • Broco: I got Dog Days on the recommendation of folks here, played for 10 minutes and was pretty meh about it. It certainly has a distinctive visual style — the title screen in particular is really cool — but that style collapses as soon as the camera starts tracking your character in the usual videogame way. Then it's just a pile of jerky and imprecise third-person shooting, and it doesn't help that the first mission feels like it's already padding for length with repetitive, story-irrelevant content. May not bother playing further unless someone tells me it really gets better. I think it's the kind of thing where you know in advance whether you really like the style and that makes you forgive the rest.
      • CubaLibre: I feel like you are way off the mark here. the guns are imprecise on purpose, none of the content is story-irrelevant (well; none of it is theme-irrelevant). it's one of the most coherent games I've ever played in terms of every single element being bent towards a singular emotional goal, as good or better than valve's best.
      • CubaLibre: The effect it's going for is to be as much like a shitty digital Youtube cam as possible while still allowing you to play a cover shooter. The fact that it's a playable cover shooter is very important, because the point of the game is that any protagonist of a cover shooter is a fucking maniac. it's taking the old http://actionbutton.net/ABDN “drake kills too many people” argument and putting it front and center.
        It's also a hellaciously tense and busy shooter, in part because the guns are fairly inaccurate. Lead is spraying everywhere and chewing through the scenery. getting up close is very dangerous but also rewarded in that you can hit things much easier. The game wouldn't work if it wasn't good, for obvious reasons (no game works if it isn't good). You get a kind of dull grinding feeling for lack of variety of weapons and attacks that's offset by some great variety in level design. And it's all extremely short, playable in one long sitting. Pretty delicious.
    • Dracko: The point is, the first level is significant. It's part of the story. So is the second, the third and so on. Every element of the game is purposeful, and not just from a story stand-point.
    • gatotsu2501: I guess I'm one of the few Dog Days skeptics on SB. I played it all the way through - just to be sure - and I just don't see anything there besides an average cover shooter with a moderately interesting aesthetic.
    • Reed: I played it, I appreciate it, but I don't necessarily like it.
  • Lost Odyssey
  • Lost Planet 2 (also on: PS3, Windows)
    • Rudie: Another game of 2010 that got slammed by critics but was especially great. The problem is you need people to play with. Which should be relatively easy, because a lot of SB has a copy. Also: Space Mexicans.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: This game's co-op definitely has some real depth that rewards investment. To get at it, though, you're going to have to look past a surface layer that's fairly shitty and frequently infuriating: awkward controls, clunky combat, and a spectacularly bad interface. There's merit here, but I can see why people didn't like this game.
  • Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (also on: PS3, Vita)
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (also on: PS3)
  • Metal Slug 3 (also on: Arcade, Neo-Geo, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, XBox, Wii)
    • Broco: Everything is a bullet sponge, even the first crab enemies in Stage 1. Most of the bosses don't give you any weapon drops so you need to kill them with the pistol if you die once.
      There sure is a lot of great artwork in it so it's worth playing once or twice for that. But Metal Slug X is definitely where the most fun is to be had in general.
    • Loki Laufeyson: 3 would be the best if the final stage wasn't such absolute bullshit
    • allensmithee: 3 is fucking tiresome but it has the most sights to see so i feel it is worth playing for that purpose. it gets really fucking ridiculous
  • Mirror's Edge (also on: PC, PS3) - forum thread
    • drobe: It's a game that really tries to convince you that you're running along a mile-long A4 drawing beautiful calligraphy with wallruns and rolls. At times it actually feels like that, but it usually ends up feeling a lot like riding a runaway train while being chased by an even larger, angrier runaway train. The construction site was quite fantastic, I think.
  • Mushihime-sama Futari (JP)
    • Loki: a really, really good shooting game, but it's an expensive import, so get your friend to bring his copy round your house or something.
    • Rudie: Not anymore. The Platinum Edition was under printed but is signicantly cheaper!
    • Loki: A couple of years after the above comment, now that I own my own copy, I can say that if you have a 360, you need to buy this game.
  • NieR (also on: PS3)
    • Rudie: A great Zelda-like from Cavia that killed said company when it didn't sell. It features great genre mixing with bullet-hell bosses and a visual novel dungeon as examples. The characters are wonderfully entertaining. Also: Boar Drifting.
    • nickperson: The mechanics and design, while as great as any other Cavia game, don't add up to anything significant on their own. But this game is absolutely drenched with a sense of uncanniness and millenarian dread. Even the fetch quests are meaningful in this context.
  • Ninja Blade (also on: PC)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: The game's subtitle should have been “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The QTE.” And it pretty much has nothing to do with Ninja Gaiden gameplay-wise. Much closer to Shinobi PS2 (without the rad combo system, unfortunately.) The demo is shit and gives a really bad impression of the enormous scope of the stages and setpieces.
    • Rudie: This was a pretty great 5 hours.
  • Ninja Gaiden II
  • Ninja Gaiden III: Razor's Edge (also on: PS3, Wii U)
  • The Orange Box (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Reed: The PC mustard race will whine, but this is a totally viable way to experience Half-Life 2, its episodic sequels, and Portal. Never touched Team Fortress 2.
  • Phantom Breaker
    • Sniper Honeyviper: This got delayed due to the quake, but the demo was released. It's a cheap and sloppy reboot of Asuka 120%'s cancel-crazy fighting with a liberal dose of moe, and a lot of the old Fill In Cafe team was actually involved. In contrast to how it looks, it's actually quite the reactionary step away from Arcana Heart and Blazblue's aerial insanity. Movement is weighty and combos can't continue for long. One of the girls fights with giant chunks of rebar and concrete. The sprites are pre-rendered digital anime cels, which I don't believe we've seen since the Saturn era. Could be a neat curiosity if you've got a J-360 and find a copy cheap down the road.
  • Raiden IV
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Uhh, it's a little bland, and the jarring difficulty escalation in stage 3 is some bullshit, but this is a really solidly put together modern shmup (non-bullet hell, in the sense that bullet speed is emphasized over density) obviously nourished with care and affection. Noodle laser!
    • Rud13: Yeah it's pretty boring.
  • Raiden Fighters Aces
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Lovingly arcade-perfect ports of Raiden Fighters 1/2/Jet with tons of extra settings and graphics tweaking options. Really cheap now, and a must-buy for shmup dudes, just for the love of god don't use the overpowered cheese ships (Judge Spear etc.), survival becomes a joke.
    • boojiboy7: Hell no, play with the fairy and the slave! Do it! It's a lot of fun! And the only way to the top of the boards, ha.
  • Remember Me (also on: 360, PC, PS3) - forum thread
    • Jaihson: Imagine the simpler hang and jump sections of a modern Prince of Persia game. Now add a giant yellow arrow pointing at every possible interactable surface within a certain distance of you at all times. Intersperse encounters that are pretty much a stripped down, less impactful version of the pattern recognition fighting in Rocksteady's Batman games. Defeat 90s movie Lawnmower Man at the end. That's pretty much it.
    • Talbain: From my experience, rather the concept art looks nice, and the game's a terrible mess. Weird lighting, visual discontinuity, and for some reason a fighting game when it could have been a pretty cool spy thing. And that combo system has to be the dumbest thing I've seen thought up in ages. Play the dumbest version of Simon Says, but only when Simon Says that you can play a certain version of Simon Says. Yeah. Radical.
    • meauxdal: this game does pretty much suck ass, yes. i've been trying to muster up the motivation to play more of it, but… nah
    • Mikey: I have to say I really like this. It's the sort of cyberpunk dystopia stuff I eat up. Playing this in French with subtitles is pretty great, too. The memory-remixing is way too paint-by-numbers, but the funky combo lab stuff is kinda fun. I don't mind the icons that show you where to climb as, honestly, it's not like most other games of this type don't make it absurdly easy to do that kind of stuff, anyway. Gonna keep playing.
    • Gironika: it's kinda like an Irem game, really.
      You just cannot honestly recommend it to anyone, because you need to have a certain amount of enthusiasm to ignore issues that can be dealbreakers for most people.
      It's like advising someone to buy a vintage car instead of a new one — like you'll pretty much have more problems running it, it's less safe, less powerful, hasn't got the bells'n'whistles of ipod connectivity bluetooth integration disc changers, you might not even get spare parts easily … can you seriously recommend buying such a car to anyone? Your 18 year old daughter that might break down with it at 1am in the morning?
      You need to be an enthusiast that can enjoy the moments when it works — this must be enough for you to put up with the rest. Are you such a person? Then yeah, go ahead and try it!
  • Resident Evil 5 (also on: PC, PS3)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Another game expressly designed for co-op to the extent that there's really no point in playing solo. Of course, the fact that co-op is non-incidental means that all the levels are built around the two-player dynamic, so it's a pretty satisfying cooperative experience. Sure it's no RE4, but RE4 (regrettably) didn't have multiplayer.
  • Resonance of Fate / End of Eternity (JP) (also on: PS3) - forum thread
    • Rudie: THE REAL FINAL FANTASY XIII.
    • boojiboy7: It's a really strange game from a lot of fronts. It is a jRPG with a pretty decent little story, except it doesn't shove the story down your throat and relies on you making a lot of connections that aren't explicitly stated. The combat system is ridiculously complicated and meat-y, and even 20 hours in, I was figuring out some new tricks with it. There are some random bouts of anime humor, unfortunately, but they are somewhat isolated, and almost comedic for how little they fit the tone of the rest of the game.
    • Felix: There is a lot of good to be said for this game's presentation: Bishonen Nolan North and his gang have mostly non-embarrassing dialogue, and while I thought that there'd been a lot of jockeying competition in the un-jRPG genre around the time of this game's release (none of which I'm aware of having played, mind you), the aesthetic is immediately unique (the forum thread claimed it looked/felt a lot like a Squaresoft PS1 game rendered on PS3, which isn't far off, though it's somehow better than that sounds). I'm always somewhat uncomfortable with quasi-realtime SRPG combat, and though I'm not that familiar with most of Tri-Ace's work this one somehow manages to be both complex and repetitive. The biggest complaint I have is that there's isn't really much/any room for creativity within the Actraiser-style elements – it's really easy to tickle my brain that way but in this case it's just a gussied-up RPG carrot and stick.
  • Samurai Shodown Sen
    • Sniper Honeyviper: the best 3D fighter since VF5.
  • Senko no Ronde/Wartech
    • Loki: Senko no Ronde is like psychic force, but with more bullets and better controls. unfortunately, it replaces the cool 90s Japan action cartoon aesthetic with a lame 00s little girls in space Japan cartoon one.
    • Felix: The controls are a little more sluggish than I was expecting, mainly because most games like this are manic dodge-fests. It's no Twinklestar Sprites but it's pretty fun and unique if you can find someone else who's good at it.
  • Shadows of the Damned (also on: PS3)
    • Rudie: Better than we were all expecting. Akira Yamaoaka's soundtrack carries the game though.
    • gatotsu2501: Disappointingly bland, which is just about the last shortcoming you'd expect from the talent involved.
  • Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (also on: PS3)
  • Stuntman: Ignition (also on: PS3)
    • Rudie: Pass the Controller game of the year 2008. By the makers of Beetle Adventure Racing!
    • gatotsu2501: Fun fact: the scriptwriter for this game, Jared Hedges, also did script adaptations for No More Heroes 2 and the English dubs of several anime including YuYu Hakusho, Fullmetal Alchemist and Crayon Shin-chan.
  • Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition (also on: Arcade, 3DS, PC, PS3)
    • Rudie: SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV YOU FUCKERS.
    • P1d40n3: Not the greatest fighting game of all time, but it will doubtless prove the be an important one.
  • Under Defeat (also on: Arcade, Dreamcast, PS3)
    • nickperson: This game was released outside of Japan via Games On Demand years later, in case you missed it!
  • Vampire Rain
    • boojiboy7: Liked Deadly Premonition? Want to see another game that similarly has no clue what the hell is going on in North America, and has an endearingly wonderful voice cast and dubious character design? Also want bad Splinter Cell with Vampires? GO GO GO.
  • Vanquish (also on: PS3) - forum thread
    • gatotsu2501: Level and enemy design are a bit bland and the story, even as little of it as there is, is jarringly atrocious. That said, the controls and core mechanics (shooting, dashing, using your suit powers, etc.) are solid as steel, and it's still a better action game than just about any other you're likely to play.
    • CubaLibre: It's a pretty good game with a couple of very crippling flaws. It could have been truly great, but instead it's just pretty fun.
    • TORUMASUTA: It's not the THIRD PERSON SHOOTER BY THE MAKERS OF GOD HAND AND BAYONETTA that you think it's going to be, but it's hella fun for a single playthrough. Of course, I got the game for less than 20 bucks, so one playthrough of the campaign got me my money's worth—your appreciation might vary.
      • There's a DLC weapons pack that costs something like three dollars which adds in three weapons. It's one of the few DLC packs that I can wholeheartedly recommend; one of the weapons is this giant Laser Cannon and it's a lot of fun to use. The other two weapons in the pack aren't too different from what's already there, but the game pretty much forces you to use the Assault Rifle for most of the game, and having the Boost Machine Gun to mix it up occasionally is great. Never got much use out of the Anti-Armor Pistol, but it's cool because it's an ANTI-ARMOR PISTOL.
    • Baseballkappe: I think I saw Dracko comparing it to MDK here and it's absolutely true and it's great fun and I kind of really love the game.
      If anything it's the most cheerful militaryish shooter on the market.
      Also boosting right through enemy lines and trying to attack them from the rear while being showered with bullets is cool.
    • Reed: I really like this game and hope it gets a sequel. It's got a hell of a lot of pure style potential.
    • kiken: It's very much a 3rd person version of [game:ESPGaluda]] (sans gender-swapping). I think it stems from the fact that Sam's combat movement options are always available from the word “go” (there's no gaining of new abilities) and that learning to play the game well boils down to effective utilization and meter management. The weapon upgrade system may seem a tad counter-intuitive at first, but it actually strikes a nice chord with the movement system as managing weapons requires you to prioritize between ammo conservation and the usage of upgrade icons. All of this combines into a very tight and smooth flowing combat system.
      In a nutshell, Vanquish fixes every awkward mechanic in PN03.
  • Virtua Fighter 5 Online
    • P1d40n3: Good god, why does noone in the US play this? FUCK YOU SEGA.
    • boojiboy7: I would play this more often, but I am terrible at it.
  • Virtua Tennis 3
    • Rudie: Virtua Tennis in next generation Sega hideous. Why would you even consider ever playing [game:Pong]]?
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Ignore the loser above and play this game judiciously with a good arcade stick.
    • Rudie: Hey! I said that because I love Virtua Tennis. Why would you want to play Pong when this exists.
    • boojiboy7: Anything good about the latest version to warrant it over this one?
  • Zone of the Enders HD Collection (also on: PS3)

See also

2) it would be nice to link the quote here
3) should add link
 
 sb/recommended/xbox360.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/28 14:09 by nickperson
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