The Games on Demand service is a bit of a controversial one because the prices are generally far too high compared to physical copies. Our policy with Games on Demand has always been to weigh game length and quality and replayability versus the price to figure out if a GoD game is worth buying even if it might be cheaper to buy a retail copy used somewhere else. If you know you're going to play a certain game a lot, and you know you won't want to resell it later on, the convenience of always having it on your hard drive can be worth paying a few extra dollars over retail. In this list we take a look at our picks for the Top 10 Xbox 360 Games on Demand that are actually worth downloading.
1. Tales of Vesperia - $30
A physical copy of Tales of Vesperia will set you back anywhere from $25 on up (somehow new copies pop up every now and then that drives the price down, but it usually goes back up), so paying $30 for a digital copy you'll always have on your hard drive isn't that bad of a deal. Considering that Vesperia is pretty easily the best JRPG on Xbox 360, and one of the best JRPGs of the current generation, this is definitely a game worth owning. And, since it is an RPG that takes a good 30+ hours to beat, plus it offers an interesting achievement list and new game plus options, it is a game you'll definitely get your $30 our of.
2. Mass Effect - $20
The original Mass Effect can be found used for less than $20, but this is one of those games where weighing the convenience of having a digital copy always ready to go can balance out the cost. It isn't our favorite entry in the Mass Effect series (we still like Mass Effect 2 the best) but it is absolutely worth playing. And, just like Vesperia, the sheer number of hours you can spend playing it, and then re-playing it, means you'll easily get your money's worth.
3. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record - $20
Don't let the not so good review scores of Off the Record fool you - it was mostly a question of value, which isn't a problem anymore - it is actually easily the best Dead Rising game yet (better gameplay than Dead Rising 1, better difficulty balance than Dead Rising 2). With huge areas to explore, hundreds of items and dozens of weapon combinations, an honest to goodness sandbox open world mode, Off the Record is really good. And paying $20 (which is roughly what physical copies run) to always have it on your HDD isn't bad at all. Dead Rising is sort of the ultimate goof off game, so being able to always have it on hand to waste a few minutes with is worth the download.
4. Rock Band 3 - $20
You've already got 200-300 songs on your hard drive already, so why not go all the way and have the full Rock Band 3 game waiting for you so you don't have to swap discs when you are in the mood to rock out. Rock Band 3 has actually managed to hover in the $15-20+ price for physical copies even after all this time, so you aren't paying much of a digital download tax at all for the GoD version. And, obviously, this is a game you'll spend a lot of time playing, which more than makes it worth it.
5. Resident Evil 4 - $20
The best Resident Evil with a high-def upgrade just waiting on your HDD for you all for the low cost of $20. RE4 is also noteworthy because the Games on Demand version is the only way to get it on Xbox 360, so you don't really have a choice. It is definitely worth it, though, with great gameplay and an awesome overall design, and it is also very replayable with lots of secrets and the crazy addictive Mercenaries mode.
6. Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition - $30
We love having digital versions of fighting games. It just makes jumping into a game with your friends in the spur of the moment quick and easy and fun. Snagging the best version of Street Fighter IV - Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition - for $30 is actually a pretty solid deal, too. It is very comparable with what you'd pay at retail. Fighting games are always super replayable, too, so it is worth the download for the best 2D fighter on Xbox 360 (the best 3D fighter is Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown for $15 on XBLA, by the way).
7. Bully: Scholarship Edition - $20
Our favorite Rockstar game isn't Grand Theft Auto, or even Red Dead Redemption (Mexico dragged on too long ...), it is Bully. Bully features an amazing story, fun gameplay, some of the best music of any game ever, and a great achievement list. A physical copy of Bully: Scholarship Edition for Xbox 360 costs right around $20 these days, so there is no reason not to just buy the digital version. It is a good enough game you'll want to play it more than once, so why not own the GoD version?
8. Civilization Revolution - $15
Civilization Revolution is a console-friendly spin on the popular Civilization franchise, so it isn't quite the same as the PC versions, but it is still plenty fun and deep to keep you occupied long enough to make owning a digital version worth it. Because of the nature of the game, no two rounds of Civ Rev will ever play out the same, which means the replay value is virtually limitless. Physical copies are around $15 and up, so buying the GoD version for $15 (on sale currently) or even at $20 isn't so bad.
9. Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - $15
We love Viva Pinata. The original, along with Trouble in Paradise, is among our absolute favorite Xbox 360 games. Physical copies of Trouble in Paradise go for $20 or more these days, so downloading it on GoD for $15 (on sale) is a great deal. The game is very fun and very replayable and will absolutely get you hooked once you get into it.
10. Beautiful Katamari - $20
It isn't the best Katamari game (we still think the original on PS2 is the best) but it is the only one we've got on Xbox 360. It is still plenty charming and funny and fun and nicely replayable when you want to goof off for a while. It is one of those comfort food games you'll come back to again and again because it is easy to get into and undeniably enjoyable. Physical copies of Beautiful Katamari hover in the $20 range, so downloading the game for the same price sounds fine by us.