The 7 excellent Xbox 360 exclusives of 2011

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.

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.

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.


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.

Don't let the name fool you, Child of Eden is essentially the return of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Rez where chains of enemies are taken out with a psychedelic barrage of missiles and players are rewarded with an awe-inspiring musical firework display.

Dubbed a spiritual sequel to Rez, Child of Eden is another 2011 title that will make use of Kinect as players use nothing but their flailing arms to target enemies before blasting them to pieces. Clapping equips a cannon and then it's more of the same.

Child of Eden is a basic blaster based around polygonal competition rather than the AK touting enemies we've become accustomed to but, as with Rez, this isn't necessarily about the shooting experience it's about the visual and audio majesty that comes as a result.

It could be one of Kinect's most imaginative titles so far and looks like it will be a real beauty if nothing else.

Another Kinect game that's considered a spiritual successor to a gaming great, Project Draco gets its inspiration from Yukio Futatsugi's Panzer Dragoon.

Players become the proud owners of their very own dragons and, through the power of Kinect, are able to communicate and train their giant winged lizards in preparation for battles in the skies both online and off.

Once players are up in the air, Draco becomes a flight sim shooter (and we use the term 'sim' incredibly erroneously since it's a dragon you're riding).

Fatatsugi has said that the Project Draco team are creating a game that players can get deeply involved in, contrasting a lot of the Kinect party games we've seen to date and as result it's also working hard to create an involving Kinect control system that won't leave players too pooped by the end.

We have to admit that there's not a lot known about Kingdom's at the moment, one of the few non-Kinect 360 exclusives at E3 came with little more than a CGI trailer. Even the release period is elusive, although we're expecting it next year.

The fact that Kingdoms is being developed by Crytek though is reason to up the anticipation levels significantly.

The trailer itself looked very God of War, with three gladiatorial warrior sporting steely, battle-ready, stares and the scars to suggest many a battle had come before.

But Crytek has assured us that to suggest that Kingdoms will be some God of War rip-off, or that it's even close Kratos' anguished adventures, would be a mistake. In fact, Crytek boss Cervat Yerli said that the team behind Kingdoms was experimenting in a number of exciting ways to make the game unique.

He said that it was unlike anything Crytek has done in the past, we're sure it'll keep standards with the developers usual quality output though.

That's right it's another one of these cryptic "codename" ones and another upcoming title that sounds like it might just have the goods to be hardcore enough to balance the motion sensor's so far family friendly image.

We're putting faith in this one mainly because it's got the name of none other than industry legend Suda51 stamped right across it. As for the content, we'll let the premise do the talking:

"You must fight for your life to survive an evil amusement park filled with twisted and eerie creatures. With codename D for Kinect for Xbox 360, you are the controller as you unleash devastating effects to destroy enemies and objects."

If there's one thing we think Kinect has been missing in its first few months it's "twisted and eerie creatures" in "evil amusement parks".

Suda himself has said, "It's a no gun, no sword action game. It's a game that will let you experience the invigorating feel that can be had because of Kinect." If Codename D manages to live up to all the talk, we can't wait.

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