In Hollywood, somewhere in between the Michael Bay blamfests and the high-end works of art sits a classier kind of action flick; movies like Inception, Terminator 2, The Matrix and The Dark Knight.
The Xbox 360 is heavy on those Commando killfests and light on arthouse genius, but it's still home to some of the world's smartest developers making action games filled with smart ideas - and just like Inception, they're pushing the limits of the mainstream and making a classier kind of game.
We take a look at 10 of them and as an added bonus we've thrown in five instances of smart things being used in current games. And no, the bit where Dom shoots his wife in Gears 2 doesn't count.
Dev Irrational Games
Released Mid 2012
One long escort mission could be a videogaming disaster but for Irrational it's a chance for new tactics, new ways to fight, and new ways to tell a story. Booker and Elizabeth are forever talking, interacting, fighting, and exploring in a fantasy 1912 that itself took all the smarts in the world to conjure up, and will no doubt force our cerebellums into perplexed pretzels.
Columbia is a genuine work of art - visually unique, creatively designed, and a technical achievement which pushes Unreal 3 further than it was ever supposed to go. "It's inspired by the eastern American city," says Art Director Nate Wells. "No one ever explicitly stated this - it evolved from a consensus of personalities, romantic notions, and deep love of the kinds of people and stories that emerge from these places."