So, you've just got yourself an Xbox 360 - congratulations! You've now entered a world of fantastic HD graphics, powerful gameplay and everything Xbox LIVE has to offer, from online gaming and chat to streaming movies, music and more. There's only one question left - what games should I get?
Worry not - help is at hand! Thanks to our wonderful customers who entered our recent Facebook competition, we can now recommend the top Xbox 360 games you need to get going, and our competition winners will tell you why!
Presenting, the Xbox 360 Essentials List - as chosen by YOU!
The consensus was clear. If you want action and adventure on Xbox 360, there's only one man who delivers - Batman. Arkham Asylum broke the mould of what you could expect from a comic-book adaptation. Winner Oliver Brown says "Every time I played it, there were more and more secrets to find, even after finishing the game... The story was very well driven as well, creating an emotional bond with the man behind the mask and cape... and I feel it is essential, for some long term single-player action that you don't see much any more". This was followed by formidable sequel Arkham City, which you said was "pure badass Batman" and "one of the best super hero games of this generation but also one of the finest action/adventure titles available on Xbox 360"
You must really like Battlefield 3. You voted for it at the Baftas, and it was the overwhelming winner here too! You all loved the sound, visuals and destruction, but winner Harlen Hatter tells it best: "The Xbox 360 manages to bring an incredible Battlefield experience directly into your front room. The game is a massive scale shooter featuring 4 diverse classes, vehicular warfare, dog-fighting and endless destruction. Oh, and this is usually happening all at once... If you want to call in an airstrike, you have to tell your buddy up in the aircraft to fly down and give you fire support. Every player has a role which makes you feel like a valuable asset to the team... It pushes the Xbox 360 to its limits."
Your top choice for sports action on Xbox 360 also won by a landslide. FIFA 12 is, according to winner William Chan, "...far superior to any other football games out there. Each goal you score in this game feels like a life accomplishment - even more, if you play LAN with friends. The whole experience is just unbeatable. The game is packed with different game modes which can be frustrating, but fun and rewarding once you get into the stride. This games is one of those laid-back games you can play at a mates house, a local pub or anywhere the pitch takes you." The varying game modes, realism and the ability to defeat your mates were firm reasons from many entrants, praising it as "the closest you will get to the beautiful game" and "an almost complete football experience".
You praised its epic scale, it's characters, and the emotional bond you make with Commander Shepard across the series - the Mass Effect saga is the essential Xbox 360 sci-fi experience! In the words of winner Curtis Taylor "This game will last you a long time, it's so immersive and you can play it how you like, you can play it like an RPG or if you're more of a 'run and gun' kind of player then you can just play like that and ignore the RPG aspects, this is what made this game stand out for me. I normally get bored of a game after finishing the campaign once but with Mass Effect, I played it through at least 3 times as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mass Effect is a must-have for any gamer."
In what was the closest fought category, some top music and sports games narrowly missed out to the fun that is Dance Central. Making full use of the Kinect's motion controls to get you to match the dance routines on screen, it is, according to winner Dario Orlando, "All the fun of a night on the tiles, without drunk people stepping on your feet! Plus, with different difficulties, even those with two left feet can own the dancefloor!". You all loved the game's versatility ("guys' night in or girls' wine party"), but most importantly, the fun factor "there's nothing like making an absolute fool of yourself, especially if you couldn't even dance to begin with". So shake a leg and get dancing!
In another landslide victory, Forza 4 was your choice for pole position. You championed the graphics, realism and choice of cars, while the competitive gameplay and Kinect controls were also reasons you recommended it. It was clear from your entries that this game is a car lover's dream, as summed-up by winner Oliver Dyson: "The 'Autovista' system allows true car enthusiasts to get within 4-inches of closeness to over twenty different dream vehicles... Jeremy Clarkson will not only take you through the ins and outs of each vehicle but also let you compete for times on the infamous Top Gear circuit... Forza 4 is simply essential to anyone with a love of adrenaline, and a passion for the cars you can obtain in it."
Many thanks to all of you who entered - there were some really good choices and reasons why. And if you are in the market for an Xbox 360, I hope the advice of your peers will help!
As usual, if you have any comments on these games - or alternative essentials - feel free to share them below!