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This weeks hot topic.

Now that we're well into 2012, and everyone should have had a chance to play most of last year's big name games, we want you to help us create the Readers' Top 20 of 2011.

This week's special Hot Topic will be all about your favourite three games of last year. Don't just send us a simple list though, but let us know why you liked the games and how you'd rank them in terms of your all-time favourites. We'll then add up all the votes together and create an overall reader's top 20.

There you go then. Your top 3 games of 2011, and reasons why they are in the top 3.

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Good one to mull over, this is not the top 3 I would've predicted I'd have picked this time last year.

Gears of War 3

At the very least it lived up to my expectations and hopes, which were pretty lofty, and that would've been enough, but it went a good step further.

I never had a big problem with some of the campaign sections in previous games like others did, but it's safe to say this is the best campaign they've delivered so far and does actually wrap the story up pretty well. It's only a shame that they still left one glowing question left over unanswered and it still annoys me that you need all the games and books to make sense of it - the first game is truly a terrible way of introducing characters as if you already know them.

The amount of time I've already put into the game should be enough to put it on my all-time favourites but I think it's the fact that I never bothered with Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 hasn't grabbed me like the last Call of Duty did, and so Gears 3 has been my shooter of choice. The improvements in Horde mode with the tower defense style additions, money system, upgrade system, the Beast mode (which I thought would suck - who would want to be a ticker? It turns out, I do) and the versus which I often turn to for mindless shooting via the team deathmatch - about time they brought in a mode where I didn't feel completely intimidated.

So yeah, game of the year.

Driver : San Franciso

In truth, I haven't got back to this since not long after it came out and I didn't get massively far in it but I did play a lot of it.

So it exists on my top 3 because it's one of the biggest surprises of the year - everything about it sounded worrying, the coma storyline, trying to go back to the '70's feel of the original and the shifting mechanic which just looked and sounded ridiculous.

However, it's one of the most fun and original (for a driving action game) titles I've played recently. And I actually love the fact that the story explains the gameplay. If you don't know, Tanner is in a coma and so isn't actually driving around so that explains why his soul can "shift" to someone else's body, and therefore, car.

I'm gonna go back to it hopefully pretty soon.

Dark Souls

Another game I haven't played much of and didn't play any of it last year. It might be that it's fresh in my mind but I feel it needs the shout out for it seeing as it's the very antithesis of how most modern games are made, trying to push the player forward, constantly rewarding and simplifying everything. It reminds me a lot of Fable in the gameplay, except infinitely darker and brutally unforgiving, whereas Fable will try to help you out, this stamps on your face.

I've lost many game hours and have actually started the game over completely but I've not played something quite like this. It's harsh but completely fair and I just know I'm going back for more punishment.

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Nice question.... so in reverse order....

3.DEAD SPACE 2 - I loved the first game and this ramped up the tension and action tenfold in my opinion, tight as fuck controls, beautiful graphics and spectacular gameplay.... Visceral games out Capcom Capcom with the best survival horror this gen.

2.DEAD ISLAND - It was a toss up between Skyrim and this badboy, i plumped for DI, to say i was surprised by just how good this turned out to be is an understatement. Yeah, its glitchy and can be a pain in the arse at times but i love the subject matter and an open world zombie game was always going to get mad love from me.

1.GEARS OF WAR 3 - Hands down and balls out the best game of 2011 for me, the amount of time and effort i've put into the Gears universe since 2006 probably borders on stupidity but the final game turned out to be all i could of hoped for and more. Campaign, although more of the same, was to coin a phrase "a kick ass ride" from start to finish, multiplayer which works, Horde to the power of ten and Beast all on one lovely, lovely disk.... I'd of been happy if this was the only game released in 2011.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Narratively it does what Zelda games should of done years ago by adding a slight bit of depth to the characters. There isn't that much but enough to give everything reason but still balancing it with providing you with your own adventure; neither overbearing the other. Not a lot particularly new but inventive little touches such as the time stones. And it looks great with it's Ghibli inspired characters and monsters. Back of the net!

Xenoblade Chronicles

With the JRPG having a crisis of identity at the moment it's always nice when one confidently shows up and reminds you why you liked them in the first place. With a deceptively deep combat system, its cast of generally likable characters and it's astonishingly good art direction it's an absolute pleasure to play. If only the last few hours weren't a lesson in persistence it may be higher up. Jackanory!

Stacking

I think I should put either Portal 2 or Deus Ex here because they are fantastic games but I loved the quirky concept of the game, and how amazing it looks. I think there is a real deep and considered sense of fun to Double Fine's games; like they take fun seriously or something. Fantastic puzzler, anyway. Spiceworld!

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If I was a betting man at the start of 2011 I would have said Battlefield 3, Gears 3 and maybe some other big heavy hitter. I'd of lost a bit of money there.

3. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

It's been a long time since I picked a game up just because I had to. This was bundled in with my launch day 3DS. I was expecting some crappy FSP shoe horned into a portable console. However, it's actually an addictive as fuck turn based strategy game developed by Julian Gollop, the great mind behind the X-Com games. I enjoyed this a lot. I went from no expectations to thinking about the game whenever I wasn't playing it. I played it through numerous times, and as it stands it currently sits at just over 170 hours played on my 3DS. It totally reminds me of back before the internet was used for keeping track of every little game and whether it was going to be any good. The times when you bought games on a whim. Those times rarely present themselves in this day and age, but they did with this title. You owe it to yourself to grab this game if you have a 3DS and like turn based strategy. It's a gem that nobody seems to have noticed.

2. Mario Kart 7

It's Mario Kart. Except really really polished. I thought maybe that this would have disappointed me, but it actually raised my expectations of the series after the clusterfucks that were Double Dash and Wii. This still has its gimmicks, the kart modification, flying and underwater sections, but they hardly have an effect on gameplay. It's just the straight up weapons based kart racer template without too much fucking about. The online works really well too. Past MK games have struggled to run correctly online when you have had racers from all over the world competing. In this iteration everything online is silky smooth. out of 100's of games I've seen lag maybe 2 or 3 times. That's pretty good considering most of the time you have Japanese, Europeans and Americans racing in the same lobbies. I've never played a game that spans so many time zones run so smoothly. On top of that you can drop in and out of friends games just like you would on LIVE. It's a significant jump for online implementation on a Nintendo console, and if this is anything like the implementation they are looking to incorporate in all their online stuff, well, it looks like they have learnt a lesson.

1. Gears of War 3

It was pretty obvious that this was going to be here from me. Ben described me as a Gears fanboy. I probably am to some extent. As a game following on from 2 games, Gears 3 does a pretty bad job of the continuation of telling a story. There's a story there, but for someone who consumed and consumed the games only it only goes so far to explain what the fuck is happening. Why are they on a boat? Why did the COG leader leave? Why are part of the COG in a fort? What the fuck are all these stalks with glowing monsters pouring out of them? Who the fuck is Sam and Jace? Why is Anya fighting? What's the delio with this disc? There's a million of these questions from people who didn't read the books or comics, and as games they handled the filling in of this back story quite badly. However, for those that hjave read the books and comics, the game is like a massive 10 hours wank off to them. You finally get to see Ravens nest. You finally get to see Anya's transformation into a combat gear. You finally get to see every man Jace. You finally get to see kick arse old Bernie. You finally get to see what a bullish cunt Sam is. You finally get to see what a state Dom is in. You finally get to see Marcus show some emotion. You finally get to know what's on the disc Hoffman stole. You finally see Baird turn into something that resembles a human. You finally see the none stereotype characterised side of Cole. You finally see what Prescott was hiding from everyone on the disc. You finally find out what happened to Adam. Whether it be a story line that's tied up to seeing characters that you have read about actually come to life with expressions and a voice. Sure, you may not have expected these characters to sound like this in your head, and some of them came as a shock. Sure, Bernie sounded fucking horrible and really out of place, but with time it fit. Now I couldn't really hear her with any other voice. That's just how it is.

The game doesn't stop there with its fan service though. All the inexplicable bits and dialogue in the game ties right back to the other gears media. The game is absolutely laden with it. I won't go into it here, but the way that the cutscenes are orchestrated and presented bring out the characteristics in each character as you would expect them to if they were ever to do a film. My favourite is Baird sarcastically mimicking Cole on the gas barge, he knows him that well that he knows when he's going to do one of his jovial joke morale talks. The referencing spills out into other parts of the game too, try playing as Adam and picking up the Hammer in MP and see what he says. The hidden colectables are also probably the best I've ever seen within a game. Each one references one of the past games or novels. Again, it's something that's lost on the person that just plays the games, but it comes across as a big thank you nod from EPIC for taking part in the expanded Gears universe.

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1. Dark Souls - for obvious reasons, just ridiculously good.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles - bursting at the seams with things to do, for once comparable to the good old days in the art and music department, and full of lovely Dragon Quest-style npc dialogue that i just can't say no to...

3. Radiant Historia/The Binding of Isaac - two games that i started and really liked. Need to invest more time in them though.

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1. Gears of War 3 - ok i don't follow the books or comics, but i just love this game. Its the only pre-order i had last year and i have no regrets. The co-op with the other half makes this game a no brainer she just loves hacking someone with a chainsaw or sniping at a distance. The game pace was spot on and although the ending was a bit naff, i was expecting the queen to say Marcus im your mother type of thing or im your fathers bit on the side etc... graphically it pushed the xbox beyond what ive seen before on the console with lots of greys and browns even the odd blue!

2. Batman AA, this is the only game ive completed recently and felt immensed in the game was a great piece of gaming, and looking forward to the next part.

3. Dirt 3, loved this, online mode is great gymkana stuff is great fun, especially with the xbox wheel thingy, yep i know it was for forza but works so much better with Dirt!

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This weeks hot topic.

The discussion point for this weekend's Inbox was suggested by reader Manic Miner 100 (gamertag), who asked what is your biggest gaming mistake or calamity?

Is it perhaps a purchase - a game or piece of hardware that you wish you'd never bought? Maybe you paid over the odds at a store or were upset to find out it wasn't what you had expected? Have you ever lost an important save for some reason or failed to beat a game or boss through no fault of your own?

Have you ever lost your game collection to burglary, fire or some other disaster? Or become dangerous addicted to a game or unusually disappointed by a sequel or piece of downloadable content? Whatever has upset you the most, we want to hear about it.

Come on. This is one every person on the site can answer. I already sort of know what Hendo is going to say for this one.

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Nothing too major. I'll probably add more to this after. But off the top of my head, i accidentally deleted my FFXII file when i was around 50 hours in and had to revert to a 35 hour file, had to repeat a large chunk of the game. Got about another 100 hours out of it though so well worth it.

Twice i have gotten to the floating world-part of FFVI and forgotten to wait for Shadow. D'oh...

I was playing my Wii during a storm and a power cut fried the disc drive. Had to wait 3/4 months for my replacement and lost a 60 hour Twilight Princess file. The console was replaced for free though.

I thought the One Hour Minute or whatever it's called achievement for GTA IV was 40 hours so i took my time, turns out it was 30 hours (or possibly less). Was quite annoyed.

Managed to lose a Snes, PS1 and GBC all before i was 12/13, parents probably got rid of them. I guess the GBC and PS1 were renedered redundant but annoyed about the Snes.

Attacked the blacksmith in Dark Souls and had to spend about 3 hours grinding for souls to turn him back.

Gave away my copy of The Simpsons Road Rage which i was really into at the time, never saw it back.

Those are all fairly minor, i have no serious gripes. I'll add more later...

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I already sort of know what Hendo is going to say for this one.

Really? I can't think of many.

I suppose I fucked up on my first go of Dark Souls and had to start again. That could be one.

I bought an Xbox and less than 24 hours later it was "liberated" when my house was burgled, along with my prized purple launch Gamecube. Got a platinum one to replace it and some of the games but it was never the same.

One major regret is giving away my Gameboy Advance SP to a work mate as "I don't need it anymore - my DS plays GBA games". Well, yes it does, but it doesn't work with the GBA-GC adaptor. :facepalm:

Also, the GBA SP looked very cool.

I bought the Gears 3 DLC when it should've been free but I got the points back for that in about 2 days.

So actually, I can think of a few.

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Mine isn't a mistake as such, but an amusing (well I think) anecdote.

I moved to Norfolk when I was 9 years old at the beginning of the summer holidays. We moved to a house in the middle of nowhere and I knew no one. So to while away the long summer days, my parents took me shopping for a games console. I'd never had a console before, just a Spectrum that I struggled to load games on.

I was in Dixsons, looking at the consoles, the choice was between the Master System II and the Mega Drive. They had demo's running on TV of both consoles, with Sonic for either machine. The Mega Drive Sonic was on the spinning bonus stage, whilst the Master System Sonic was on Green Hill Zone. In my head I though "Wow, Sonic Mega Drive looks weird and spinny and stuff" so I ended up getting the Master System instead. Not really the end of the world as I bloody loved my Master System, the best friend an only child could have.

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This is hard, actually. I don't have any big regrets or games that really bother me.

I sometimes wish I never signed up to Steam. I've not spent a great deal there over the years, maybe £50 tops, but I hate that here is a load of games sitting on my hard drive practically unplayed. It's like I'm just hoarding for no reason and it is still a waste of money, even if it's a little. pointless really.

I could play them, of course but I just have it conditioned into me that when I want to play a game I reach for a console power button. It's only when I boot up the PC to do something else I'm like "oh yeah, Steam. I'll play something later" but forget.

And, of course, Assasin's Creed. What bothers me most about that game is it isn't solely because I think it's pants, it's deeper than that; it's the only time in my adult life that my 'gamer gut' totally failed me. I'm good at getting a sense of games early on and deciding whether I'll know I'll like it or not, but Ass Creed somehow snuck through as a most wanted game, a game I should have known I wouldn't like. I dunno how it happened, whether it was just general hype or Jade Raymond's nice face but that game got in my hands when it had no right to be. But I suppose I can thank it for making me upgrade the sensors so it doesn't happen again, maybe.

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it's past the point where it matters now, but I wish when I first bought myself a PC I'd not deliberately limited myself. I was about to move in to a flat so decided rather than buy a big tower I'd get a half-size PC. Nice idea, and it had a decent processor and enough ram, but the graphics card was shit (as was the power supply). The problem was after a decade of not giving a shit about PC gaming beyond Football Manager, Max Payne and the odd indie game I now had the power to run The Orange Box. And as I worked my way through HL2, Ep1 and Ep2 I had to turn off a feature each time. The Dell I got cost about £600 and came with a monitor that made my recently bought £120 monitor redundant, but it didn't matter because I wasn't going to be using it for games anyway

The problem was that computer was enough power to give me a taste of pc gamining but not enough to run new things properly, so I ended up buying a new card. the problem was I also needed a new power supply, so I ended up skimping on the card I was going to get to replace my old one, which of course meant that I soon 'needed' another card (within 8 months). The problem was then it wasn't the card holding me back but the rest of the build, so it was time for a new computer a mere 10 months after spending £200 on a card to replace the £130 card I'd bought the year before.

And the worst part, I'm still paying Dell £20 a month for that old computer :facepalm:

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I think getting wound up by hype is my worst problem.

There's quite a few games where I've either hyped myself up to a point where the game can never live up to expectations. Some of them are just mild disappointments where as some of them really cut deep. Guitar Hero 3 was so bad it effectively put me off rhythm action games for ages. The console version of Battlefield 3 doesn't really do what it says on the tin. It's not really a fault of the game itself, more the tech it's running on. Doesn't stop me hurting though. Those disappointments smart.

Something I do regret doing is buying games to play online with people and then 1) Playing online once or sometimes never or 2) Absolutely hate the game. I wont do it any more, I refuse to drop money on a game I wouldn't ordinarily do just so I can experience one of the above unless the price of the game is minuscule. My days of dropping £40 or whatever on a game just so people can play it a few times and then move onto the next big thing are done. If you want to play with me, you can spend your money on the games I want to play. That might seem selfish, but the people that want you to buy the latest thing only to move off it weeks later are just as selfish imho.

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Yeah, I know what you mean about the multiplayer thing Sly. I held out on RB3 for an age until it finally came down in price majorly last month. I remember when it first came out being excluded, as everyone else was playing it, but I couldn't afford it. They all kept persuading me to get it. Now I have it and am playing it online, no other fucker is!!!

Anyway, my biggest bugbear was the fucking Kinect. What a massive waste of money that was. I have at least seven feet of clearance in front of my tv, but it still isn't enough for the damned device. Also, all the trash that has come out for it is no better than the shovelware on the Wii. I'll try Steel Battalion and that new device that makes you look further away, but if they don't do it for me the damned thing is going in the bin. Plus I'll never buy another Molyneux-hyped product again, ever.

Yeah, Molyneux - more promises made than Jade Raymond, and not even a pretty face, yet I fall for his bullshit every time. Not anymore, you cocksucker!

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Yeah, Molyneux - more promises made than Jade Raymond, and not even a pretty face, yet I fall for his bullshit every time. Not anymore, you cocksucker!

Feel the rage! :lol:

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This weeks hot topic.

The subject for this weekend's Inbox was suggested by reader AriochMT, and was inspired by the news that Double Fine has successfully secured funding from fans to make a new graphic adventure.

Given that success (over $1 million in less than 24 hours) the obvious question he poses is what dream game would you consider backing in a similar way? Are there other developers that you'd give your own money to in advance, just to see them make a new game? And if so what game, or kind of game, would you like them to make?

This was pretty big news last week. How will you answer this?

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