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The 50 Best Original Xbox Games

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The Best Xbox Original Games

What are the best original Xbox games of all time?

The original Xbox was game-changing when it first launched, and many games that debuted on it remain fan favorites today.

However, some games stand out more than others, and today we are counting down the top 50 games released for the original Xbox that we still can’t get enough of.

 

The Best Original Xbox Games of All Time

The original Xbox had a lot of great games, but some stood out more than others and remain beloved by fans. Each of these games was chosen based on its overall popularity and ratings given by both fans and critics. 

Here’s our list of the 50 best original Xbox games of all time:

 

50. Burnout Revenge

 

Kicking off our list, we have Burnout Revenge, a racing game in which causing destruction is just as important as crossing the finish line.

Serving as a sequel to Burnout 3, this game included some new features that improved car damage, combos from crashes, and added rewards for vengeance against other drivers.

Different game modes ranged from standard races to purely destruction-oriented courses based in real-world locations like Rome and Detroit.

 

49. Shenmue II

 

Initially released for the Dreamcast, Shenmue II came to the original Xbox as an enhanced port to the original Xbox in 2002.

This game was positively received for its storyline and scale, consisting of fantastic open-world environments, quick-time events, and brawler-style battles. However, critics spoke negatively about its graphics compared to other titles on the console.

While you can still play the original game using one of the best Dreamcast emulators, the Xbox port made it more accessible and available to a broader audience, leading to its prevailing popularity.

 

48. ESPN NFL 2K5

 

Sports games have always been a hit across every console, and football is, without a doubt, America’s favorite sport, hands down.

This game introduced all-new moves and the ability to earn points to customize your crib, which could lead to a celebrity match to win access to a new venue.

Players could also build their own team and create a custom logo, name, stadium, and unique custom players to control.

 

47. Star Wars: Battlefront II

 

Like sports games, Star Wars games have been a fan favorite since Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1982 for the Atari 2600.

This Star Wars game started as a sequel to the first game but provided improved AI, 16 new battlefields, and a more significant emphasis on the story.

Although single-player was fun on its own, the multiplayer in this game was some of the best, and facing off against your friends was a highlight of this game that we still remember fondly today.

 

46. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

 

Before Fortnite, players on the original Xbox had Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction to blow off steam after a long day of school or work.

Set during a war between Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and the Allied Nations, this sandbox game allowed players to select missions, take on side quests, hijack vehicles, and cause loads of destruction across the map anytime they wanted.

While the main goal was to prevent nuclear war, something that hits a little close to home these days, players had an outrageous amount of freedom to screw around and do whatever they wanted, even leveling all the buildings in the game world.

 

45. NBA 2K2

 

For basketball fans on the original Xbox, NBA 2K2 was the game to grab when it was released.

This game not only had fantastic AI, but it had loads of moves and skills for your players to take advantage of to win any game.

The graphics were also remarkably vibrant and crisp for their time, and even by today’s standards, they look outstanding.

 

44. Madden NFL 2005

 

This Madden installment introduced loads of new features, including quick-turn tackles, defensive pre-play options, and enhancements to the AI of NPC characters.

Also new was the addition of an in-depth story mode that featured weekly radio talks that discuss your team and league specifically, which provided an incredible amount of immersion.

If that wasn’t enough, NFL 2005 also saw hundreds of new animations, modes, and a brand-new Create-a-Fan feature, which helped elevate this game to a whole new level.

 

43. MVP Baseball 2004

 

Baseball fans weren’t left out when it came to the best original Xbox games, and MVP Baseball 2004 elevated the series to new heights.

Not only did this game reproduce the fundamentals of baseball realistically in-game, but it gave players control over every aspect you could imagine.

There was little you couldn’t do to live out your MLB dreams, from swinging to protecting the plate.

 

42. NCAA Football 2003

 

For fans of college football, this original Xbox game brought the hype in the stadium to the comfort of your living room.

With realistic gameplay that included rivalries, schools from different divisions, and loads of new moves, this game had everything you could hope for and more.

Players could even create their own teams and take on the coach’s role through various game modes.

 

41. Top Spin

 

Even if you weren’t a die-hard fan of tennis, there was no denying that Top Spin was an addicting game that was easy to lose hours playing.

In this game, you could create your own characters and travel the world to work your way up the ranks, facing off against top Tennis pros like Lleyton Hewitt and Anna Kournikova.

There was a load of customization options, and the gameplay was straightforward but engaging, offering you new challenges in every area.

 

40. Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30

 

Developed by Gearbox, this game in the person shooter genre is often considered one of the best World War II games ever developed and one of the best tactical shooting games of all time.

Much grittier than even the best Call of Duty Games of all time, this game was set during the airdrop before Normandy and told the story of paratroopers scattered across the French countryside.

As opposed to being a run and gun type game, Brothers in Arms challenged players to use actual military tactics to flank and take out enemy forces.

 

39. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4

 

While Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 ranks higher on our list than this fourth installment, we still have to give Pro Skater 4 its due.

The precursor to Tony Hawk’s Underground, this game boasted loads of massive free play levels and no time limits to hinder your progression.

By taking on pro challenges, you can rise in the ranks to more exciting levels, and with online play, you can compete against up to eight other players to show off your skills.

 

38. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

 

While Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain may be one of the best Xbox One games to play right now, this game was a must-play back on the original Xbox.

Bringing back fan-favorite, Solid Snake, this game tasked players with stopping top-secret weapons technology from falling into the wrong hands by taking advantage of unique infiltration techniques.

On top of its incredible story, there were also 350 virtual reality missions you could play through to hone your skills, all of which were incredibly fun.

 

37. Doom 3

 

Doom 3 was one of the best Xbox games for survival horror first-person shooters fans, and it even earned a remastered version for the Xbox One.

Putting players in control of one of the few survivors of a demonic attack on the Mars Research Facility, this game made you fight to hell and back to survive against waves of demonic creatures.

Fortunately, there was no shortage of chainsaws, grenades, pistols, and more to help you stay alive.

 

36. Steel Battalion

 

Steel Battalion was a truly unusual game that came with its own colossal controller that featured 44 input buttons, five switches, two joysticks, a throttle handle, an eject button, a radio dial, and three foot pedals.

Only a very limited number of copies were sold, quickly making this game a collector’s item, but if you were fortunate enough to play it, you’d understand why it was one of the best.

In-game, players controlled a first-person mech in which you would try to navigate through the campaign using the custom controller.

However, if you ever failed to hit the eject button before your mech was destroyed, the game would punish you by deleting your save data and forcing you to start the campaign all over again.

 

35. Blinx: The Time Sweeper

 

As an agent of the Time Factory, this game gave players control of Blinx, a cat who can fast-forward, rewind, and stop time.

As Blinx, you had to take out glitches before they mutated into timeline-threatening monsters.

This platformer game was insanely addicting, and it’s no wonder that Blinx was even suggested to be the Mascot for Xbox before Masterchief took that unofficial title.

 

34. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

 

Developed by Obsidian and released by LucasArts, Knights of the Old Republic II was set five years after the first game and followed the story of a Jedi exiled from the Jedi Order.

As one of the best Star Wars RPG games, Knights of the Old Republic II was warmly received for its story, characters, and writing.

While its mechanics were very similar to its predecessor, this installment tasked players with mastering more than 30 new force powers to take on the Sith on seven different worlds.

 

33. TimeSplitters 2

 

This first-person shooter not only had a great art style, but it was ridiculously fun to play.

There were ten different levels in the story mode, each set in a different time period, where you needed to defeat your enemies to gain the crystals required to seal the rift opened by the aliens trying to destroy humanity.

While it sounds crazy, it was an all-around great game that has even been compared to GoldenEye 007.

 

32. Conker: Live & Reloaded

 

As a remaster of the beloved N64 game, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, this game was an immediate hit with fans and critics alike.

Following the antics of an alcoholic greedy squirrel trying to get home to his girlfriend, this game has no shortage of puzzles, enemies, and obstacles to get in your way.

The only real letdown was that the Xbox version censored some of the obscenities present in the N64 versions, despite having an M rating clearly identifying it as being made for adults.

 

31. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath

 

Following the third game, Stranger’s Wrath follows the story of a feared bounty hunter who must capture enough outlaws — dead or alive — to earn money for a lucrative operation.

There were loads of great environments to explore, from forests to old west towns and fascinating weapons that used small creatures as ammunition.

This game was definitely odd, but that didn’t stop it from being something we sunk tons of hours into.

 

30. Panzer Dragoon Orta

 

This rail shooter was the fourth and final game in the series, and it followed the story of Orta, a girl recused by a dragon who must assist in a rebellion against an oppressive empire.

Along with Orta’s dragon, players could take part in some seriously epic battles and impressive boss fights that tested all of the skills learned throughout the game.

While you can still play its predecessors using one of the best SEGA Saturn emulators, Panzer Dragoon Orta has since been made compatible with the Xbox One and Xbox One X.

 

29. MechAssault

 

Before Pacific Rim gave us dreams of piloting giant mechs and taking on kaiju, MechAssault let players control giant robots back in 2002.

This third-person shooter allowed players to upgrade their mechs and venture through dynamic levels to complete action-filled missions.

For fans of a futuristic version of warfare, MechAssault was one of the best games of its time.

 

28. Beyond Good & Evil

 

Developed and published by Ubisoft, this action-adventure game was considered one of the greatest video games ever made at the time of its launch, and critics praised its animation, story, and design.

Giving players control over Jade, a martial artist and investigative reporter, the story revolved around solving puzzles gathering evidence, and fighting enemies to expose a sinister alien conspiracy that seeks to destroy humanity.

While this game never became as widely regarded as some other original Xbox games, its loyal cult following was well deserved, and it certainly earned a solid place on our list.

 

27. Madden NFL 2004

 

Madden NFL 2004 took the already successful franchise and added loads of new features that made it even better than its predecessors.

This installment allowed players to create their own unique plays and jump into Owner mode to create their own team and stadium.

With EA Sports Online multiplayer, you could compete against other players and further improve your team to be the best in the league.

 

26. Forza Motorsport

 

While Forza Motorsport 4 is one of the best racing games of all time, as the first game in the series, it was this game that paved the way for all of the incredible games that came after.

As one of the best racing games on the original Xbox, Forza Motorsport allowed players to collect, customize, and race their own unique cards.

You could collect over 60 car models and win money for upgrades by placing high during races.

 

25. SoulCalibur II

 

SoulCalibur II brought the next chapter of the series to the original Xbox, treating players to its broad array of gameplay modes that included arcade, versus, team battle, survival, and more.

You could collect 200 unique weapons for the 13 characters to use, improving their effectiveness and broadening their distinct fighting styles.

Specific consoles also received an additional unique character, with Xbox players gaining Spawn, GameCube players earning Link, and PS2 players gaining Heihachi.

 

24. SSX 3

 

This snowboarding game built upon the success of its predecessors and added new challenges, more slopes, and exciting new challenges for players to conquer.

In single-player mode, players could test their skills on slopes in various locations, performing tricks and winning races to upgrade their character.

There was also an online multiplayer mode that allowed players to compete against others, though this has since been discontinued, much to the disappointment of fans who still love this game.

 

23. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3

 

This tactical shooter series is one of the most prolific on the original Xbox, and many of its installments find a place on our list.

However, this installment, the third game in the series, is set after a series of attacks in the U.S. and Venezuela escalate, leaving the player to lead the defense.

In this game, players had to lead a top-secret force to tackle missions in 14 locations worldwide and compete with 15 other players online to test their skills and wits.

 

22. Dead or Alive 3

 

As one of the best-selling Xbox games and arguably one of the best fighting games of all time, Dead or Alive 3 was one of the launch titles for the original console, and fans praised its attention to detail.

This installment brought new characters, new lighting effects, and new interactive environments to the series while also providing a four-player competitive multiplayer mode.

The destructible environments particularly stood out to fans, and it was a nice inclusion that made this game stand out from others at the time.

 

21. Half-Life 2

 

After earning 39 Game of the Year awards, it’s no surprise that Half-Life 2 earned a rightfully deserved place on our list.

Building upon the action of the first game, Half-Life 2 adds even more realism and immersion, allowing players to explore an alien-infested earth as Gordon Freeman.

As Gordon, your main goal was to undo the damage released from his work at Black Mesa 20 years ago, but there was no shortage of diverse enemies standing in the way that constantly kept players on their toes.

 

20. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell

 

As the first Splinter Cell game, this stealth action-adventure set the franchise in motion, and fans couldn’t get enough when it was first released.

Controlling Sam Fisher, a specially trained secret operative, players had to infiltrate terrorist-controlled potions, acquire intelligence, and get out without being seen.

This game was challenging for those of us who struggle with stealth but still provided hours of fun living out our fantasies of being a super stealthy badass.

 

19. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

 

This flight-based combat game combined the areal combat with the style of an old Hollywood movie.

Set in an alternative version of the 1930s, players could pilot their planes and take to the skies to combat air pirates and armed Zeppelins.

There was even a split-screen multiplayer option or a 16-player Xbox Live multiplayer that allowed players to test their flight skills against others in multiple different modes that ranged from deathmatches to capture the flag.

 

18. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

 

Despite spawning a lackluster movie that was plagued by whitewashing, this reboot of the original Prince of Persia game was released to high praise from both critics and fans.

Taking the player on an adventure through the scorching Persian sands to reverse an ancient curse using the sands of time to rewind and slow time and see into the future.

The aerobatics and parkour mechanics quickly won players over, and it was easy to lose hours playing this spiritual predecessor of the Assassin’s Creed series.

 

17. Psychonauts

 

All psychonauts possess incredible psychic powers, but when an evil scientist begins abducting them, it falls to the newest member, Raz, to save the day.

As Raz, players had to develop their psychic abilities and enter into the minds of others to collect parts of their imaginations, solve problems, and unlock memories.

The more you progressed, the more powers you would unlock to help you on your journey, and every ability was incredibly fun to use.

 

16. Project Gotham Racing 2

 

Project Gotham Racing 2 was one of the best racing games on the original Xbox, and it rewarded players based on how well and how fast they could drive.

There were also loads of real-world maps that took you to places like Chicago, Edinburgh, and Florance, making this game even more impressive.

Players could also jump on Xbox Live to challenge other players online or test their skills against friends via the System link.

 

15. Jet Set Radio Future

 

Set in 2024 Tokyo, this game featured unique anime-style graphics and loads of open-world environments to skate around in.

As a sequel to the original Dreamcast game, Jet Set Radio Future added new tricks, better graphics, and improved mechanics that made it an immediate hit with fans and critics.

Its cel-shaded graphics and engaging gameplay still hold up today, and we kind of miss this in-line skating game that was a nice break from the more traditional skateboarding titles.

 

14. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

 

Speaking of skateboarding, we have to give Pro Skater 3 kudos points as one of the best games in its franchise, and the roaster of pro skaters in this game was some of the best.

In this installment, players could create their own skaters, now including a female option, and make their own skate parks to practice the new tricks, such as the Revert.

Outside of customization, players could also explore locations from L.A. to Tokyo and complete challenges to become the best-ranked skater.

 

13. Grand Theft Auto Double Pack

 

If you look at the complete GTA games list in order, it’s easy to see how prolific this series is.

This double pack combined GTA III and its sequel Vice City into one bundle for fans to enjoy, and it was an instant favorite.

In GTA III, you can go where you want, hold up anyone you want, and navigate the seedy crime world of Liberty City, while Vice City threw players back to the 80s in a free-roaming, cinematic experience in the GTA universe.

 

12. Burnout 3: Takedown

 

As another of the original Xbox’s acclaimed racing games, Burnout 3 stood out from others due to its emphasis on damage.

Players didn’t just have to drive well, but they needed to cause spectacular crashes to earn as many points as possible.

With more than 100 events and 40 fictional tracks, Burn Out 3 was ludicrously fun, and players loved being able to create massive firey pile-ups.

 

11. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow

 

Serving as the sequel to the first Splinter Cell game, Pandora Tomorrow once again let players control Sam Fisher, but it added all-new prototype gear to make infiltrating dangerous locations even more immersive.

In online multiplayer mode, players could also face off against three other players as either a mercenary or a spy to see who is the ultimate infiltration master.

 

10. Jade Empire

 

Developed by Bioware, Jade Empire takes place in a mystical land inspired by China, where you train to learn powerful martial arts moves and master mystical powers.

However, when evil begins to threaten the land, it falls to players to venture to the Imperial City to make things right.

Packed with loads of awesome moves, powerful supernatural enemies, and dark secrets, Jade Empire was a game many players couldn’t put down.

 

9. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

 

Set before the first two movies, Escape from Butcher Bay showcases Riddick’s escape from the maximum-security prison of the same name. A place that housed the most dangerous criminals from throughout the galaxy.

Players had to control Riddick as he battled through numerous enemies, shooting, sneaking, and fighting his way to freedom.

Using Riddick’s unique eyes, players could easily see through the darkness to take out foes left blinded.

 

8. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

 

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was many fans’ first introduction to this incredible RPG series, and it set a high bar for the games that came after.

The alien land of the Dunmer is incredible to explore, and there is no shortage of interesting characters, exciting locations, and epic dungeons to make your way through.

Coupled with its expansions, Tribunal and Blood Moon, Morrowind was one of the best RPGs of its time, and even today, fans love revisiting this fantastic game.

 

7. Ninja Gaiden Black

 

Ninja Gaiden Black, as a sequel, gave players tons of new missions, more difficulty settings, and a brand new story for Ryu Hayabusa to experience.

With this game, players could live the life of a world-class ninja and even take on other players over Xbox Live to become number one on the leaderboards.

 

6. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

 

One of the most popular video game characters of all time, Sam Fisher, returns in Chaos Theory to investigate and illuminate a new threat from North Korea.

In this installment, players can utilize brand new hand-to-hand to neutralize threats and take advantage of new prototype weapon skills to complete each mission.

Chaos Theory builds upon everything that made its predecessors great and manages to rise to a whole new level.

 

5. Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic

 

Set way before the Galatic Civil War, Knights of the Old Republic is set during the golden age where Jedi and Sith numbers are equally robust.

To combat the Dark Side, players needed to customize their own Jedi character to venture through 10 different worlds to take out the Sith and secure victory for the Jedi and the Republic.

Knights of the Old Republic set the stage for modern Star Wars games, and today it still maintains a strong fan following, becoming available on the Nintendo Switch in 2021.

 

4. Halo: Combat Evolved

 

Regardless of your feelings about Paramount’s new Halo show, Halo: Combat Evolved introduced a new gaming revolution and forever changed the first-person shooter genre.

Introducing Master Chief, Combat Evolved gave players control of this super soldier and talked them with taking on the alien threat of the Covenant.

The maps were vast and detailed, and the story was engaging and filled with unforgettable characters that helped catapult Halo into immediate fame.

 

3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

 

As one of the best Grand Theft Auto games of all time, San Andreas revitalized the GTA series and stood out as one of the best original Xbox games of all time.

Set in the early 90s, players control Carl Johnson as he navigates through his old neighborhood to try and save his family, clear his name, and take control of the streets.

San Andreas had something for everyone to enjoy with an engaging story, a memorable protagonist, and loads of classic GTA charm.

 

2. Fable

 

Fable was a phenomenon when it first debuted, and it was chock full of memorable characters, locations, and creatures for players to interact with.

While Fable III dropped the ball on the franchise with terrible gameplay and story decisions, the first in the series was an absolute gem. 

From childhood to adulthood, it was up to players to live up to the tenants of the Heroes Guild and fight back the darkness threatening to consume Albion or give in to temptation and become the ultimate villain.

There was so much to do, and watching your action affect the world around you was a totally unique experience that set this game apart from any other of its time.

 

1. Halo 2

 

Of course, Halo 2 takes our number one spot, and no one can deny that it took the foundation that Combat Evolved laid down and built the franchise into a titan.

Raking in $125 million in first-day sales, this game was the best-selling Xbox game and arguably the best in the Halo franchise.

Giving players control of Master Chief once again, the Covenant threat is even more significant, the locations vaster, and the story even more engaging.

You could dual-wield weapons, hijack vehicles and give the Covenant back their bomb in this incredible game that we could never get tired of, even after playing it over again in the remastered Master Chief Collection.

 

Summary

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best original Xbox games of all time!

While not everyone’s favorites will be included on this list, we did our best to pick the most unforgettable video games.

Each of these games stood out from the rest and paved the way for the most remarkable modern games released today.

Here’s a quick recap of the 50 best original Xbox games of all time:

  1. Halo 2
  2. Fable
  3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  4. Halo: Combat Evolved
  5. Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
  6. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  7. Ninja Gaiden Black
  8. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  9. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  10. Jade Empire
  11. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow
  12. Burnout 3: Takedown
  13. Grand Theft Auto Double Pack
  14. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
  15. Jet Set Radio Future
  16. Project Gotham Racing 2
  17. Psychonauts
  18. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  19. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  20. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
  21. Half-Life 2
  22. Dead or Alive 3
  23. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3
  24. SSX 3
  25. SoulCalibur II
  26. Forza Motorsport
  27. Madden NFL 2004
  28. Beyond Good & Evil
  29. MechAssault
  30. Panzer Dragoon Orta
  31. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
  32. Conker: Live & Reloaded
  33. TimeSplitters 2
  34. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  35. Blinx: The Time Sweeper
  36. Steel Battalion
  37. Doom 3
  38. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
  39. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
  40. Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30
  41. Top Spin
  42. NCAA Football 2003
  43. MVP Baseball 2004
  44. Madden NFL 2005
  45. NBA 2K2
  46. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
  47. Star Wars: Battlefront II
  48. ESPN NFL 2K5
  49. Shenmue II
  50. Burnout Revenge

What’s the best original Xbox game of all time, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.

Shawna Schofield is a professional freelance writer and part-time YouTuber. When not writing or recording she spends her time playing Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Dragon Age.

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