The 10 Best Xbox 360 Action Games

Black Xbox 360 on its side


The action genre is so wonderfully vague in its description that anything from straight hack-and-slash to open world sandbox games can fit under its umbrella. We list our picks for the 10 best action games the Xbox 360 has to offer here.

'Batman: Arkham Asylum'

Batman Arkham Asylum


"Batman: Arkham Asylum" is the best "Arkham" game. There, we said it. The smaller scale (compared to the full city in the following 3 games) provided much better, tighter, and smarter level design that made Arkham Asylum a joy to explore instead of a chore. The gameplay certainly got better and more polished as the series went along, but we'll take superior level and puzzle design and a better story here than fancier combat any day. Arkham Asylum is still the best.

'Red Dead Redemption'

Red Dead Redemption

BagoGames/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Take the open world sandbox of GTA and put it in the Wild West, and that pretty much describes "Red Dead Redemption." RDR gives you the full old west experience from herding cattle to hunting wildlife and even shootouts at high noon. It looks and sounds fantastic, too. The middle section (Mexico) pretty much sucks, but the rest of the game is awesome.

'Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance'

Metal Gear

 BagoGames/Flirckr (CC BY 2.0)

"Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance" takes the Metal Gear series in a fantastic fast-paced new direction, and thanks to great presentation, awesome music, and genuinely fun and satisfying gameplay it stands as one of the best action games on Xbox 360. It has boss fights, and crazy combos, and a talking robot dog, and a crazy politician at the center of it all that will leave your mouth agape at the awesomeness at the same time you're shaking your head in disbelief at how nuts it is. Metal Gear Rising is highly recommended.

'Sleeping Dogs'

Sleeping Dogs

 Joshua Livingston/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

"Grand Theft Auto" clones have to do something special to stand out. They either have to go totally nuts, like the Saints Row series, or they have to change enough to make them unique like "Sleeping Dogs." "Sleeping Dogs" takes place in Hong Kong, which makes it unique already, but trades gunfights for fist fights and brutal hand to hand combat all while telling an awesome story. Don't miss it.

'Prince of Persia'

Prince of Persia

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"Prince of Persia" 2008 has a bit of a bad reputation for being too easy (you literally can't die) or having bland combat, but disliking it for those reasons is like missing seeing the forest through the trees. It is absolutely beautiful to look at, has an amazing soundtrack, and offers the best platforming and puzzles in the entire POP franchise. Games are ultimately judged on how all of the pieces come together, and even with some rough spots, "Prince of Persia" 2008 is still one of the best games on Xbox 360.

'Lollipop Chainsaw'

Lollipop Chainsaw

 BagoGames/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Zombies. Cheerleaders. Chainsaws. Humor. Great soundtrack. "Lollipop Chainsaw" has it all. The gameplay us fun and satisfying and actually gets better as you play and unlock new moves, and the high score mentality of the game as a whole will keep you coming back for more. The presentation is also very nice with lots of little touches that will make zombie fans very happy. We loved it.

'Afro Samurai'

Afro Samurai

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"Afro Samurai" is one of the truly underappreciated gems of the Xbox 360 lineup. It looks and sounds amazing and has an incredible hip-hop soundtrack, but it also plays really, really well. It is bloody and gory and stylish and just cool as heck. Definitely check it out.

'Grand Theft Auto V'

Grand Theft Auto V

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After "GTAIV" was a bit of a letdown, Rockstar needed to come back in a big way with "Grand Theft Auto V," and they definitely succeeded. "GTAV" brings back all of the fun stuff to the series but also innovates with three distinct playable characters, a huge open world that is fun to explore, and tons of stuff to do. And you don't have to constantly answer calls from your cousin asking you to go bowling, so it is already miles better than "GTAIV." Toss in great online play, and "Grand Theft Auto V" is a must-play for any Xbox 360 action fan.

'Tomb Raider'

Tomb Raider

BagoGames/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The latest reboot of the "Tomb Raider" franchise was right on the money and it stands as one of the best Xbox 360 games of 2013. With great graphics, a cool story, and fantastic gameplay with some breathtaking set-pieces, "Tomb Raider" 2013 is a blast from start to finish. Some will complain that there isn't much actual tomb raiding going on in this one, but it is an origin story to establish this new version of Lara Croft, so the raiding of tombs came later.

'Saint's Row: The Third'

Saints Row: The Third

 Joshua Livingston/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

"Saint's Row: The Third" is an open world sandbox game that throws out all of the rules. It doesn't have a super serious story. It doesn't have realistic physics. It just gives you a ton of vehicles and weapons and stupid stuff to do, and lets you play however you want. "Saint's Row: The Third" is one of the best pure goof off games of the generation. "Saints Row IV" is also good (you get to be POTUS and have superpowers!) but re-using the same map at 3 hurts it a little.


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