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The 7 best Xbox 360 exclusives of 2011

The top titles coming to Microsoft's console next year

Last week we took a look at some of the PlayStation exclusives we can expect to light up our lives in 2011.

This week it's all about Xbox 360 and as far as console exclusives are concerned, we have to say, Microsoft is either keeping its cards close to its chest or it's just playing with a slightly more conservative hand.

There are still some pretty big titles in the mix though and, perhaps more excitingly, if all goes according to plan, 2011 could become the year Kinect conquers the hardcore.

These are the ones we're particularly looking out for. Make sure to tell us what tops your anticipation chart in the comments below.

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GEARS OF WAR 3
One of the biggest - if not the biggest - name in the Xbox exclusive library, Epic Games' cover-based third person shooter Gears of War is big, brash and ballsy and we expect nothing less from the series' third iteration in 2011.

Protagonist Marcus Fenix is a more nimble pork-chop this time around as he takes on Locusts and the Lambent Horde.

Gears of War 3 will also feature a major multiplayer overhaul with Guardian and Submission being merged into Capture the Leader along with King of the Hill being lumped in with Annex.

It'll also have XP at its heart which players will gain from the usual commendable online achievements such as kill-streaks and drawing first blood or, on the flip-side, helping out fallen friends with medical duties.

In the third instalment Epic has said it aims to move multiplayer matches away from the shotgun-fests they've become to a degree, making cover-based rifling more attractive. Still, Gears of War 3 will be the same in your face gun blast we've come to expect from the series.

XCOM
A reboot of the X-COM series of the early 90s, XCOM follows the work of an international organisation dubbed the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit (XCOM) as it battles an alien invasion of Earth.

Set in the idyllic world of 1950s suburban America, white picket fences and all, XCOM puts players in the shoes of an FBI agent as things get a little less picturesque.

What looks like a typical whodunnit soon becomes an investigative tale with a sci-fi edge as you hunt an unknown enemy identified only by the black goo it leaves on its victims.

Turns out that that black goo is the enemy itself and it's more than capable of battering and choking puny humans to death.

What ensues is a string of collecting evidence of whatever this alien substance is, taking it to the boys in the lab, working out a plan of a attack and then going back out into the wild to give the goo hell.

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FORZA 4
The Xbox's answer to Gran Turismo, Forza has developed a mass following with many saying that once you remove the hype that surrounds Gran Turismo, the Forza series actually emerges as the king of simulation racing.

Battle lines and loyalties aside, there's no doubt that Forza is a first class racing experience. Forza 4 is set to offer the usual super high-end graphics, reams of customisation options and detailed driving physics that could well make it the greatest driving experience on any console.

It doesn't end there though; you might hear Forza 4 being referred to as Forza Kinect from time to time and that's because Turn 10 will be utilising the power of Microsoft's motion controller for the first time.

Don't worry, we're not talking about a Joy Ride style mime-a-steering-wheel experience here, instead Forza Kinect will exploit the game's photo realistic graphics by letting players check-out their rides from every angle with all the crouching, tilting and oogling you'd expect from someone in a car show room that's way out of his budget.

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