6 of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 (2022)

For some reason best known only to the chaotic gods of social media “Xbox 360” is currently trending on Twitter. In the interests of keeping our collective fingers on the pulse of mainstream gaming, I thought it might be a good time to celebrate some of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 — with a particular focus on some of the more overlooked, underappreciated titles.

Yes, Japanese Xbox 360 games existed. Although the Xbox 360 developed something of a reputation as a “dudebro” console thanks to the proliferation of online multiplayer shooters — and particularly the meteoric rise of the Call of Duty series — there’s still plenty of Japanese goodness to be found on the platform.

So if you’re a Japanese gaming fan looking for some new experiences, grab yourself a cheap 360 if you don’t already have one — because you can bet your arse a fair few of these will never work on the software-based “backwards compatibility” on newer Xboxes — and score yourself a few bargains down your local second-hand gaming emporium. Many of these can be grabbed for just a few quid these days… with a few notable exceptions, of course.

Protect Me Knight

And we may as well get the most notable exception out of the way right away. Protect Me Knight, also known as Mamotte Naito (and listed as まもって騎士 on the 360 itself) was originally released via the defunct Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) storefront on the Xbox 360, and as such is no longer officially available anywhere.

XBLIG, for the unfamiliar, was an alternative part of the Xbox Marketplace that allowed independent developers to upload their games and sell them online to Xbox 360 players. XBLIG games lacked a few core Xbox features — most notably Achievement support — and the storefront was buried deep within a bunch of menus, which likely contributed to its demise. But there was a ton of great stuff in there, as well as a bunch of awful crap. But we don’t talk about that.

Protect Me Knight is a Famicom-inspired game for between one and four players, put together by legendary musician Yuzo Koshiro’s development company Ancient Corp. In it, you and up to three friends take on the role of various different character classes as you attempt to defend a princess in the middle of the screen from incoming waves of monsters. Between levels, you can upgrade your characters in various ways.

This game is one of the earliest examples of the “modern retro” trend, in which the game looks and feels like a classic 8-bit era game, but takes full advantage of modern platforms to do things the Famicom would never have been capable of. Widescreen visuals, a higher resolution and an astonishing number of sprites on screen — this is how we’d all like to remember the Famicom era.

All is not lost with regard to Protect Me Knight, thankfully; a follow-up named Gotta Protectors is presently on its way to Nintendo Switch, capturing all the magic of the original and then building on it.

As for this specific game, if you were there, you knew how great this was. It’s a shame you can’t easily acquire a copy any more.

(Video) Japanese and Anime Games on XBOX

Eschatos

6 of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 (2)

If you’ve read our recent review of Natsuki Chronicles on PlayStation 4, you’ll know that Qute are some of the unsung masters of the shoot ’em up genre. Despite only having a few titles under their belt, their work is consistently excellent — and Eschatos for Xbox 360 is the first that was a little more widely available and accessible, after two Wonderswan Color titles.

Eschatos is a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up with a flair for the dramatic. Featuring deliberately simple and stylised 3D graphics that move at a consistently slick 60fps, a soundtrack straight out of the Sega Saturn era and a wide variety of genuinely thrilling setpieces to enjoy over the course of the game as a whole, Eschatos should be part of every shmup fan’s library.

Eschatos is also noteworthy as being one of quite a few shoot ’em up titles on the platform that was only officially released in Japan, but which had a region-free disc. This means you can import a Japanese copy and play it on a European 360 without having to faff around with any software or hardware modifications — it just works.

You can also just buy it on Steam, of course, but if you get the 360 version in its “Wonder Pack” incarnation, it also comes with its spiritual predecessors Judgement Silversword and Cardinal Sins, and its successor Ginga Force, making it an excellent value package if you can find it for a reasonable price. Sadly, that may be easier said than done.

Ridge Racer 6

6 of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 (3)

Ridge Racer is historically associated with Sony platforms for good reason — it launched three generations of them, after all — but a lot of people forget it also had an official mainline installment as an Xbox 360 launch title.

In fact, a lot of people forget Ridge Racer 6 exists at all, which is a great shame as it’s a top-notch arcade racer that moves at a fair old lick and provides exactly the sort of thrills and spills we don’t get that much from today’s driving games.

At least part of its obscurity is down to the fact that the games industry had already been moving towards favourite “sim-style” racers for quite some time after the popularity of Gran Turismo on the PS1, and arcade-style racers had fallen distinctly out of fashion by the time the 360 rolled around. That’s not to say that none existed — there are some great ones on PS2, original Xbox and Gamecube — but by the time we reached the seventh generation, Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport were the biggest hitters in the driving game space.

Unlike the earliest installments in the series, Ridge Racer 6 provides a significant, lengthy challenge for you to tackle, with a sprawling “Ridge Universe” full of interconnected races to conquer over the course of your time with the game. It also introduced new concepts to the series such as nitro boosts, and has some of the series’ most enjoyable tracks.

And thankfully the cacophonous licensed techno of Ridge Racer V was eschewed in favour of a return to original compositions by Namco’s sound team — including a number of contributions from series veteran Hiroshi Okubo, who was responsible for Ridge Racer Type-4’s legendary score.

Lost Odyssey

6 of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 (4)
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The Xbox 360 is often regarded as being a bit light on quality Japanese RPGs, but there are actually quite a few on the platform — with perhaps the most notable being Lost Odyssey.

Lost Odyssey was developed by Mistwalker, a studio set up in 2004 by Final Fantasy’s original creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who had voluntarily stepped down from his post at Square prior to the company’s merger with Enix in 2003. Lost Odyssey was the second game to be developed by the company after 2006’s Blue Dragon — also an Xbox 360 RPG well worth your time — and, for many people, scratched an itch for classic-style Final Fantasy.

Interestingly, the approach to Japanese RPGs in the seventh generation of video game consoles diverged quite wildly between the Xbox 360 and its main rival the PlayStation 3. While the PlayStation 3 (and, subsequently, the Vita) went all-in on colourful, often comedic and sometimes ecchi moe-style RPGs from companies such as Compile Heart and Nippon Ichi Software, the RPGs on Xbox 360 often kept the somewhat more grounded style established by Final Fantasy VIII on PS1.

Lost Odyssey is a great example of this — and one of a few examples of companies like Mistwalker and Square attempting to create something that would appeal to both native Japanese and overseas audiences.

Quantum Theory

6 of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 (5)

Quantum Theory is not a game you’ll see on many “best of” lists about Xbox 360, because a lot of people wrote it off on its original release as a lazy Gears of War clone. It’s easy to see why — the basic mechanics of the game are almost identical to Epic’s long-running series. But give Quantum Theory a chance and you’ll find something altogether different and distinct — with an interesting pedigree, too.

Developed by Makoto Shibata, the man behind the incredible Project Zero/Fatal Frame series of survival horror games, Quantum Theory is a third-person shooter in which your goal is to topple a mysterious, living tower. Playing the role of the muscle-bound Syd and occasionally accompanied by the rather sassy Filena, you’ll work your way through a series of distinct “encounters” as you make your way up the tower, battling the environment as much as your relentless foes.

Quantum Theory was noteworthy for having technology that allowed its maps to twist, distort and otherwise shift in the midst of battle, and numerous setpieces throughout the game — particularly in its latter hours — take full advantage of this for some spectacular showdowns. Plus despite its obvious “Gears-ness”, there are some interesting new mechanics in the mix, too — the ability to pick up and fling Filena to tactically advantageous locations (or just directly at an enemy’s throat) adds a fun twist to combat, for example.

Quantum Theory may feel like a bit of a slow burn at first, but once things get rolling properly, there’s a great third-person shooter experience to be had here. Don’t let the poor reviews from back in the day put you off — this is a genuinely interesting title well worth exploring. And cheap as chips these days, too.

Magna Carta 2

6 of the best Japanese games on Xbox 360 (6)

While this game was primarily developed by a South Korean team, it also featured input from Bandai Namco, so it totally belongs on this list. And it’s another example of an interesting, Xbox 360-exclusive RPG that not that many people have heard of.

The game is a follow-up to both Magna Carta: The Phantom of Avalanche for Windows PC (which was never released outside of Korea) and the PlayStation 2 title Magna Carta: Tears of Blood. Offering an interesting blend of real-time and turn-based action, the game features no transitions or loading screens between exploration and battle — still a relatively unusual sight in many Asian RPGs at the time.

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The story concerns the civil war that has split the kingdom of Lanzheim in twain. The Southern forces seek to find a means of countering the Northern forces’ living weapons known as Sentinels, and the game’s hero Juto encounters the Southern forces’ leader Princess Rzephilda “Zephie” Berlinette on one of their expeditions. As these things tend to go, Juto finds himself embroiled in all the shenanigans that are going on as his adoptive sister Melissa ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time — and things only escalate from there.

Again, Magna Carta 2 is not a title you’ll find on many “best of” lists for Xbox 360 — but it’s an interesting game that is unique to the platform, and can still be picked up reasonably affordably today. If you’re an RPG fan who enjoys wandering a little off the well-worn path now and again, it’s definitely a game worth checking out.

What are some of your favourite Japanese games on Xbox 360? Let us know in the comments below, or via the usual social channels!

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Pete Davison

Pete is Rice Digital's editor, and a proud champion of any and all games involving pretty girls hanging out, saving the world or both. His first waifu was Rit from Rod Land.

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Tags: Eschatos Japanese Games jrpgs lost odyssey protect me knight quantum theory ridge racer 6 rpgs shmups shoot 'em ups stg Xbox 360

(Video) Japan Only OG XBOX Games

FAQs

Is Xbox successful in Japan? ›

Xbox's surge in Japan

The most recent reports show that Xbox has recently moved past 260,000 units sold of its Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, more than doubling the lifetime sales of the Xbox One consoles in the region already.

What is Japan's most popular game? ›

1 Baseball (45.2% of Japanese people's favourite sport)

Baseball is nowadays the country's most popular participatory and spectator sport. It was first introduced to Japan in 1872 and it was developing since that year. Baseball is a revered sport in Japan; in fact, a majority consider it the unofficial national sport.

What is the biggest game on Xbox 360? ›

Kinect Adventures!

Does Xbox have Japanese games? ›

“One of the things that I'm super excited about is that we have over 250 developers in Japan developing games for Xbox right now. 150 have already shipped, 100 of them are in Game Pass and we [recently] got to announce 15 titles made in Asia and 13 in Japan.

Do people in Japan buy Xbox? ›

Japan has bought 2.3 million Xbox consoles in the last 20 years, new report reveals.

Why Xbox is not popular in Asia? ›

Lack of Retail Support

First, there's the practical reason. The Xbox hasn't even officially launched in Southeast Asia with Singapore being the only country in the region where Xbox consoles, games, and accessories are distributed (which had actually closed down but was re-open in preparation for the Series X).

Is Japan a religion? ›

No single religion is particularly dominant, and people often follow a combination of practices from multiple religious traditions. According to the Government of Japan, 69.0% of the population practises Shintō, 66.7% practise Buddhism, 1.5% practise Christianity and 6.2% practise other religions as of 2018.

What flag is Japan? ›

The flag of the Empire of Japan was adopted as a civil flag in 1868; it is officially called Nisshōki and unofficially Hinomaru. It features a plain white field with red disc in the centre. Since 1999 it has also adopted as the national flag of Japan.

What is Japan's famous animal? ›

1. Macaque Monkeys (snow monkeys) Macaque monkeys are the national animals of Japan.

Does Xbox 360 still work in 2022? ›

Xbox 360 in 2022 - The Legacy Continues - YouTube

Does Xbox 360 have fortnite? ›

For Xbox fans that were hoping for a different answer, you're going to be disappointed. Like with the PS3, Fortnite is not playable on Xbox 360.

What was the last game made on the Xbox 360? ›

The last official game released for the system was Just Dance 2019, released on October 23, 2018, in North America, and October 25 in Europe and Australia.

How do I change my Xbox to Japanese? ›

To change the language setting on your Xbox 360 console:
  1. Press the Guide button  on your controller.
  2. Go to Settings, and then select System Settings.
  3. Select Console Settings.
  4. Select Language and Locale.
  5. Select Language, and then select the language that you want to use.

Does Microsoft still support Xbox 360? ›

Note Xbox 360 support content is no longer being maintained.

Is the Playstation Japanese? ›

Playstation is actually a Japanese system as it is produced by Sony which is a Japanese company. Playstation has sold over 4 times more units in America than it has in Japan but that doesn't change the fact that it is produced by a Japanese company.

Why did Xbox fail in Japan? ›

On the Japan release of the Xbox in 2002, consumers weren't impressed by the console and controller's girthy build. Homes in Japan are generally small, so having a console taking up so much space just added to the list of issues that Microsoft faced trying to break into the Japanese market.

Is PlayStation more popular than Xbox in Japan? ›

Xbox Continues To Outsell PlayStation In Japan Amidst Supply Chain Problems. Microsoft gets a leg up on Sony, but Nintendo remains dominant. Xbox Series X|S has been outselling the PS5 in Japan this week amidst ongoing supply chain problems.

How popular is Sony in Japan? ›

Through Sony Entertainment Inc, it is one of the largest music companies (largest music publisher and second largest record label) and the third largest film studio, making it one of the most comprehensive media companies. It is the largest technology and media conglomerate in Japan.

Do people play Xbox in China? ›

Both Microsoft and Sony have identified China as a key market for their next generation of consoles, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 respectively.

Is PlayStation popular in Japan? ›

PlayStation and Nintendo, both systems manufactured by Japanese companies, have boasted sales dominance in Japan for years, and that's not about to change. But the Xbox Series S has obviously made in-roads into the Japanese gaming market.

What country owns Xbox? ›

United States

Do Japanese pray? ›

Although Japanese people tend not to be very religious, the country follows a mix of Buddhist and Shinto customs that have become ingrained in the normal day-to-day. One such practice is visiting a Shinto shrine to pray to the gods.

What are Japanese gods called? ›

"Shinto gods" are called kami. They are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility.

What is dating in Japan? ›

In Japan, group dating — or goukon — commonly happens first. It's a way to gauge mutual interest and suitability, as well as mix with a potential partner's friends. You might think that this sounds low-pressure compared with American dating customs. But there's still plenty to stress about.

How old is Japan? ›

Japan: 15 Million Years Old

Japan came into existence in 660 B.C. Buddhism impacted Japanese culture to a large extent, if we go by historical records.

Does Japan have 2 flags? ›

Origin. There are two “rising sun” flags associated with Japan, whose very name in Japanese means “the sun's origin.” One is the country's national flag, called “nisshoki” or “hinomaru,” which has a red disc on a white background. Few have a problem with this.

What is Japan's national fish? ›

#worldtraveler. The national fish of Japan is the koi fish, or Nishikigoi. likeness to their ornate textiles.

Do tigers exist in Japan? ›

Tigers are found in many countries in Asia, but Japan is not one of them. Larger subspecies of tigers (such as the Siberian tiger) live in parts of northern Asia and can be found in areas of China and Russia.

Does Japan have wolves? ›

Wolves have officially been extinct in Japan since 1905, but there are grassroots efforts under way to reintroduce them. The Japan Wolf Association is an active organization.

Is Xbox 360 Live free? ›

You can join Xbox Live for free to download games and videos, or pay for a subscription to play against other people and join voice chat parties.

What is better Xbox 360 or PS3? ›

Although the PS3 is technically more powerful than the Xbox 360, in most cases, the 360 received superior versions of multiplatform games. The 360 was simply easier to program for, as the PS3's complex system architecture was a nightmare for developers.

Is Xbox getting rid of 360 games? ›

Xbox 360 games will no longer be offered because it appears Microsoft has run out of backwards compatible 360-era games to offer on the service. "From 1 October 2022, the monthly games provided to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold members via Games with Gold will no longer include Xbox 360 titles.

Is Minecraft free Xbox? ›

No, Minecraft isn't free on Xbox. To be able to access the game, you'll need to pay for it or use the Game Pass subscription which is the only way you can access Minecraft for free.

How many GB is Fortnite? ›

The Fortnite file size on Windows and macOS is the same: 29.2 GB. If you intend to play Fortnite on your Xbox, you can expect it to be much smaller than macOS and Windows. The installation size is only 13 GB, and you may need an extra 5 GB after installing the game, making a total of 18 GB.

Can u play Fortnite on iPhone? ›

Fortnite is back on the iPhone and iPad. Thanks to Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming service, you can once again play Fortnite on iOS. Back in 2020, Epic Games made several updates to Fortnite, including one that allowed players to bypass Apple's App Store payment system and its commissions.

How old is Xbox 360? ›

The Xbox 360 launched for the first time on November 22, 2005. It was officially discontinued in April 2016.

Why was Xbox 360 so popular? ›

It's widely considered to be a combination of having come out early, being competitively priced at launch, featuring best-in-class (at the time) online play, and being comparatively easy to develop for which meant enjoying strong third-party support.

Why is it called Xbox 360? ›

A: As various Microsoft executives have noted, Xbox 2 is a fine name until you realize that Sony's next machine will be called the PlayStation 3, which sounds newer and more powerful. The Xbox 360 name was chosen to imply that the gamer is at the center of the Xbox experience.

Is Microsoft popular in Japan? ›

Figures show Xbox is finally making inroads in the home of PlayStation and Nintendo. Microsoft has sold more than 100,000 Xbox Series consoles in Japan, reaching this mark at a much faster rate than any previous Xbox. Japanese gamers are at last responding to the Xbox as tastes seem to be subtly changing.

Is Xbox more popular than PlayStation in Japan? ›

Xbox Continues To Outsell PlayStation In Japan Amidst Supply Chain Problems. Microsoft gets a leg up on Sony, but Nintendo remains dominant. Xbox Series X|S has been outselling the PS5 in Japan this week amidst ongoing supply chain problems.

What are the three big challenges launching the Xbox in Japan? ›

Microsoft faced three big challenges launching Xbox in Japan. It had to convince Japanese developers to make games for Xbox, overcome consumers' skepticism about the first edition's bulky design, and make up for lost sales from launching after the holiday period.

Is PlayStation popular in Japan? ›

PlayStation and Nintendo, both systems manufactured by Japanese companies, have boasted sales dominance in Japan for years, and that's not about to change. But the Xbox Series S has obviously made in-roads into the Japanese gaming market.

Why did Xbox fail in Japan? ›

On the Japan release of the Xbox in 2002, consumers weren't impressed by the console and controller's girthy build. Homes in Japan are generally small, so having a console taking up so much space just added to the list of issues that Microsoft faced trying to break into the Japanese market.

How popular is Sony in Japan? ›

Through Sony Entertainment Inc, it is one of the largest music companies (largest music publisher and second largest record label) and the third largest film studio, making it one of the most comprehensive media companies. It is the largest technology and media conglomerate in Japan.

Is Xbox a Japanese company? ›

It's also not because Microsoft is a non-Japanese company; they have no issue buying foreign technology with the iPhone dominating the mobile market. Finally, it's not due to Xbox games being released on PC or anything having to do with PC, since PC gaming is such a small niche in the Japanese gaming world.

How many Xbox sold in Japan? ›

Sales of Xbox Series X|S consoles have picked up in Japan, with the company reportedly shifting 206,504 units over its lifetime. The data comes from Famitsu (via VGC), which also reported that the current generation has vastly outsold the preceding Xbox One, which sold approximately 114,831 consoles in total.

Do people play Xbox in China? ›

Both Microsoft and Sony have identified China as a key market for their next generation of consoles, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 respectively.

Who sold more PlayStation or Xbox? ›

Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and installed base, having sold more than twice as many Xbox in the last generation,” admits Microsoft, as translated from Portuguese.

Is Minecraft big in Japan? ›

For one, Minecraft is the top-seller in Japan, re-iterating just how popular the now Microsoft-led franchise is even today.

What is the highest selling video game console? ›

The total number of video game consoles sold worldwide across the products entire lifetime on the shelves are shown here as of September 2021. At this time the PlayStation 2 is the top games console having sold a total of around 157.68 million units worldwide.

What country owns Xbox? ›

United States

Why did PS4 fail in Japan? ›

House said Japanese publishers and developers failed to get behind the PS4 when Sony was discussing the console with them ahead of launch because they were comfortable with the PS3 and reluctant to invest in making games for a new and unproven platform.

Is Xbox selling well? ›

In April 2022 it was announced that the Xbox Series outsold the PS5 in Q3 2022, which means Microsoft dominated new-gen hardware sales for the previous quarter.

What is the most popular console in Japan? ›

Japan
ManufacturerConsoleUnits sold
SonyPlayStation 224,420,000
PlayStation Portable19,632,197
PlayStation19,411,000
NintendoFamicom (NES)19,350,000
41 more rows

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