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Many of the best Xbox backward-compatible games are discounted (update: the sale is over)

Many of the best Xbox backward-compatible games are discounted (update: the sale is over)


Load up your Series X or Series S with these digital classics

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Red Dead Redemption

Update January 25th, 2022, 9:32AM ET: Microsoft’s sale on backwards compatible games seems to be over.

Microsoft is hosting steep discounts on backward-compatible digital games from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 eras, as it does occasionally. If you agree with the opinion that being able to play older games on the Series X or Series S (or even the Xbox One) is one of their most appealing features, you’ll probably find at least one game that you’ll want to pick up during this sale.

If you haven’t explored the depths of the Xbox backward-compatible game catalog before, it can be daunting. And in case you don’t really have an idea of what might interest you, we’ve pulled a smattering of deals out of the sale to highlight. Notably, these games currently are not available through Game Pass.

TimeSplitters 2 got amazing cover art outside of the US.
TimeSplitters 2 got amazing cover art outside of the US.
Image: Free Radical Design

Into first-person shooters? Check out the TimeSplitters 2 ($2.49) and TimeSplitters Future Perfect ($2.49), two games made by Free Radical Design that have a similar feel (in terms of gameplay and mission objectives) to Goldeneye on the N64, but they’re a lot weirder. They’re charming in their oddity, in the way that a lot of early 2000s stuff was, and if you have some friends around for local multiplayer, it didn’t get much better than what this game offered back in 2002.

You can catch up on the Red Dead franchise with Red Dead Revolver for the original Xbox ($8.99), which is essentially an arcade game compared to its two open-world sequels. Speaking of its sequels, you can snag Red Dead Redemption for the Xbox 360 for $9.89 — one of the best open-world games made to date (it’s even better than Red Dead Redemption 2 — fight me).

A still taken from Midnight Club: Los Angeles
A still taken from Midnight Club: Los Angeles

Depending on your age, there’s a slight possibility that you might not know that Rockstar Games used to make surprisingly good racing games, among other things. Midnight Club competed with the likes of the Fast and Furious-inspired Need for Speed: Underground, focusing solely on street racing. While Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is usually regarded as the best in the series, Midnight Club: Los Angeles ($10.04) certainly isn’t bad.

Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis, one of the best graphical showcases for the Xbox 360 in the early days of the console, still holds up as a great sports game for $5.99. Bully: Scholarship Edition, another well-regarded Rockstar Games title that hasn’t seen a follow-up, is discounted to $5.99.

Sega released a bevy of interesting games as Xbox exclusives following the failure of its Dreamcast console that have become, at the very least, cult classics, including Panzer Dragoon Orta ($4.99) and Gunvalkyrie ($5.99).

Ninja Gaiden Black
An Xbox easter egg hidden in Ninja Gaiden Black.

This one’s out of Sega’s realm, but I highly recommend picking up Ninja Gaiden Black for $9.99. Originally released for the Xbox, its responsive, satisfying gameplay holds up well to today’s standards, and compared to the recent Ninja Gaiden trilogy released in 2021, this is the definitive version of the Ninja Gaiden remake.

I have praise for a lot more games, but I, unfortunately, can’t wax nostalgic about this all day. Here are some others that I’d recommend checking out: