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The 7 Best First-Person Shooters on Xbox 360 – A Definitive Guide

The Xbox 360 stands out as a legendary console for first-person shooter (FPS) gaming. With groundbreaking technical capabilities for its time and a stellar lineup of FPS franchises like Halo and Call of Duty, the Xbox 360 was the place for shooter fans during the 2000s and early 2010s.

In this guide, we‘ll countdown the 7 FPS games that achieved masterpiece status on Xbox 360, while reflecting on what made this console so special for the genre. Strap in for a nostalgic tour through the generation that made FPS titles bigger than ever!

The Xbox 360 – A Technical Leap for Shooters

Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in November 2005 as the high-powered successor to their original Xbox console. Costing $299 at launch, the Xbox 360 boasted specs that blew past its competitors:

  • 3.2 GHz CPU and 500 MHz GPU – This provided 2-3x the power of the original Xbox for vastly improved visuals, physics, enemy AI, and more.

  • 512 MB RAM – This allowed bigger game worlds and textures vs. PlayStation 2‘s 32 MB and original Xbox‘s 64 MB.

  • HDMI output – Xbox 360 natively supported HDTVs for true high-definition gaming. Most PS2 and Xbox titles were lower standard definition.

Developers leveraged this new power to make a huge generational leap for graphics, immersion, and scale in genres like first-person shooters.

But beyond just technical specs, Xbox 360 pioneered online console gaming through Xbox Live. This connected up to 16 players for competitive and cooperative online multiplayer – a total revolution for consoles!

Thanks to Xbox Live, FPS franchises like Halo and Call of Duty became iconic as their multiplayer took off. Xbox 360 has sold over 85 million units lifetime partly due to its strengths with shooters.

Now let‘s get into the games that defined FPS gaming on this legendary console!

#7: Halo Reach (2010)

Halo Reach box art

  • Metascore: 91
  • Multiplayer: 16 players online
  • Total Sales: 9+ million copies
  • Genre: Sci-Fi FPS
  • Developer: Bungie

As Bungie‘s last Halo game, 2010‘s Halo: Reach served as a prequel leading directly into the original Halo: Combat Evolved. Players control Noble Six, a Spartan supersoldier defending the planet Reach from invading Covenant forces.

Halo: Reach showcased the incredible strides Bungie made with presentation on Xbox 360. Cinematic cutscenes, space battle backdrops, and photorealistic characters brought the Halo universe to life like never before. Impressive lighting and smoke effects added intensity to the well-balanced campaign combat.

On Metacritic, Reach scored an excellent 91, placing it among the top 10 highest rated Xbox 360 games. This critical success led to over $200 million in launch day revenue.

The online multiplayer also hit new heights, with both competitive arena matches and cooperative Firefight mode against waves of enemies. Overall, Halo: Reach delivered an epic next-generation Halo experience.

#6: Fallout 3 (2008)

Fallout 3 box art

  • Metascore: 93
  • Multiplayer: None
  • Total Sales: 12+ million copies
  • Genre: Post-Apocalyptic FPS/RPG
  • Developer: Bethesda

2008‘s Fallout 3 brought the classic RPG franchise into the modern FPS era. Set in a post-nuclear war Washington D.C., players emerge from an underground vault searching for their father and get swept up in grand open-world adventure.

Fallout 3 convinced many skeptics that Bethesda could translate the series into 3D first-person perspective. The signature sci-fi 1950s art style, VATS targeting system, morally gray choices, and quirky sense of humor remained perfectly intact.

Let loose in the massive Capital Wasteland, players uncovered fascinating environmental stories everywhere they ventured. Between the main quest, faction plots, side adventures, and DLC expansions, completionist players clocked over 100 hours across Fallout 3.

While Fallout 3 lacked multiplayer, its strong single-player campaign earned a 93 Metascore. This smash hit cemented Fallout‘s place as a landmark RPG shooter series.

#5: BioShock Infinite (2013)

BioShock Infinite box art

  • Metascore: 93
  • Multiplayer: None
  • Total Sales: 11+ million copies
  • Genre: FPS, Steampunk
  • Developer: Irrational Games

The third BioShock entry took the series from underwater to the skies. Set in 1912, private investigator Booker DeWitt journeys to the floating city of Columbia to rescue a mysterious young woman named Elizabeth.

BioShock Infinite enraptured critics and gamers with its gorgeous cloud-capped skylines, brand new aerial rail combat, and relationship between the two leads. Elizabeth was a huge leap forward for supportive AI companions in FPS games thanks to her intelligent assistance in battles.

While lacking multiplayer, Infinite‘s bold setting, insane weapons like shooting crows from your hands, and mind-bending storyline contributed to its 93 Metascore. It stands as one of the most visually striking and unforgettable titles on Xbox 360.

#4: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Modern Warfare 2 box art

  • Metascore: 94
  • Multiplayer: 18 players online
  • Total Sales: 22+ million copies
  • Genre: Military FPS
  • Developer: Infinity Ward

The Call of Duty series rose to new heights with 2007‘s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which we‘ll discuss shortly. Two years later, 2009‘s Modern Warfare 2 took that formula even further over the top for an unforgettable FPS experience.

Putting players in the shoes of special forces operatives, MW2 maintained the cinematic single-player moments the series was known for. One controversial mission had players storming an airport as terrorists – a sequence that sparked debates on violence in gaming.

Beyond bombastic moments like that, the refined FPS gameplay, multiplayer progression, and expanded online battles earned MW2 incredible praise. The stellar 94 Metascore and 22+ million copies sold made Modern Warfare 2 the most successful Xbox 360 Call of Duty title.

#3: Halo 3 (2007)

Halo 3 box art

  • Metascore: 94
  • Multiplayer: 16 players online
  • Total Sales: 14+ million copies
  • Genre: Sci-Fi FPS
  • Developer: Bungie

The ultimate entry in Master Chief‘s original Halo trilogy, Halo 3 represented the pinnacle of the iconic franchise on Xbox 360. Picking up after Halo 2, the third entry pits Master Chief and humanity against a final effort by the Covenant to wipe out Earth.

Everything in Halo 3 exemplified Bungie operating at the peak of their powers. The story delivered epic scale with emotional impact. Multiplayer introduced equipment pieces and Forge mode for custom maps. Graphically, Halo 3 was a stunner, from the lush jungles to sweeping alien vistas.

With a 94 Metascore and over $300 million in launch day sales, Halo 3 lived up to its "Finish the Fight" tagline in spectacular fashion. It stands not just as an FPS classic, but as one of the finest Xbox 360 games period.

#2: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare box art

  • Metascore: 94
  • Multiplayer: 18 players online
  • Total Sales: 15+ million copies
  • Genre: Military FPS
  • Developer: Infinity Ward

The game that launched Call of Duty into a household name, 2007‘s Modern Warfare brought the military shooter into the 21st century. Set in contemporary times, players control British and American soldiers hunting for terrorists and Russian extremists.

Modern Warfare won acclaim for its tense and varied missions, which ranged from ghillie suit stealth sections to shooting down foes with an AC-130 gunship. The campaign felt real and cinematic, while introducing now-standard FPS elements like perks and killstreak rewards.

With its energetic multiplayer offering custom classes and deep progression, Modern Warfare set the blueprint for online military shooters. The 94 Metascore kicked off an era of Call of Duty dominating the FPS genre on Xbox 360 and beyond.

#1: BioShock (2007)

BioShock box art

  • Metascore: 96
  • Multiplayer: None
  • Total Sales: 4+ million copies
  • Genre: Sci-Fi FPS
  • Developer: Irrational Games

The top-rated FPS of the Xbox 360 generation, BioShock is a true artistic masterpiece. After your plane crashes in the ocean, you discover the underwater city of Rapture and its morally bankrupt inhabitants.

BioShock redefined storytelling in games with its dark, introspective tale of runaway genetic engineering. Players wield weapons alongside plasmid superpowers while confronting questions of choice and destiny. Strategizing with both guns and powers provided incredible gameplay depth.

The brilliantly realized, art deco setting of Rapture has become iconic. Few virtual worlds feel as fully realized as this crumbling underwater dystopia and all its crazed inhabitants. From chilling Big Daddies to manipulative Little Sisters, every character and location oozed style.

With its poetic narrative, creative gameplay, and jaw-dropping world, BioShock earned every bit of its 96 Metascore. It showed the storytelling heights possible in first-person shooters, and remains an essential Xbox 360 experience.

The Golden Age of Xbox 360 FPS Gaming

The Xbox 360 era hosted a renaissance for first-person shooters. Thanks to vastly improved technology and Xbox Live multiplayer, developers could finally realize their visions for immersive, cinematic FPS worlds and competitive online battles.

Franchises like Halo, Call of Duty, and BioShock all hit their peak, producing sequels that rank among the best games ever made. There was something for all tastes – from sci-fi epics on alien rings to rollercoaster military rides to haunting underwater art deco cities.

While future consoles like the Xbox One and PS4 have continued the evolution, the Xbox 360 will always be remembered as a special time for first-person shooters. It hosted the perfect combination of groundbreaking technical capabilities and all-time great franchises firing on all cylinders. For FPS fans, this console marked a golden age never to be forgotten.