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The 10 best games of 2011 so far

The must have titles from the first half of the year...

The beautiful British summer and its wonderfully unpredictable showers has finally come around which means it's time for our mid-year review.

We might still be waiting for the most anticipated titles of 2011 to hit shelves but the batch that's currently on offer is hardly something to turn your nose up at.

But which are the ones that really stand out? We wouldn't be so bold as to force a decision upon our mighty readers (you can scribble your own list in the comments) but we do feel the need to set our favourites in stone.

We don't have any stone, but we do have a fat chunk of internet:

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STACKING

Too often the download library gets overlooked when handing out accolades, which makes us even happier to include Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions in this list with its Russain Doll puzzler stacking.

But we're not just throwing a bone to the little game here, this isn't a case of ticking boxes and filling quotas, Stacking really does deserve all the praise it has gotten and will continue to get.

Stacking has tonnes of quirky character and manages to provide a level of humour that's rare in video games (although this is the second title in our list that has made us chuckle).

As far as puzzle games go, it's by no means a MENSA beating brain-teaser but it's charm and elegance makes up for that in spades.

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DIRT 3

One for the race fans out there and Codemasters' DiRT franchise really hit a sweet spot this year with the third roll about in the mud.

With incredibly high scores that blind-sided a lot of gamers, DiRT 3 suddenly seems to dwarf race giants like Gran Turismo 5 despite its rally focus.

By toning down the Americanism and the Xtreme sensibilities of previous DiRT titles, while at the same time tuning everything about the series fans loved, Codies created what's considered the definitive DiRT.

It's Fun and accessible as well as weighty and deep pleasing rally fans and casual racers alike. That's without even mentioning the Ken Block-inspired ballet that is DiRT's Gymkhana Mode.

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GHOST TRICK

Fans of dialogue heavy, story-based adventure games like Ace Attorney or the classic Monkey Island will tell you just how good Ghost Trick really is.

With players taking on a amnesia-suffering hero who's been granted supernatural powers thanks to his recently deceased state, Ghost Trick provides a colourful interpretation of the point and click genre as you haunt objects and interact with a bunch of quirky characters to find out exactly how you got into this ghostly mess.

Some might criticise the game for its super linear approach but it's story is sophisticated enough to drag you through with ease so that you barely mind the straight route from one point to the next.

Add to that it's incredibly detailed, wonderfully exaggerated animation and it's plain to see why Ghost Trick considered a stand out DS title.

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MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3

We'll admit that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 may not be considered such a game changer by those poor folk who aren't into superhero comics. And, obviously, if you're not a fan of the fighting genre, you'll probably struggle to see what all the fuss is about.

But fight fans will instantly feel the quality oozing out of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and comic book lovers will barely be able to contain their thunderous nerdgasms.

The Marvel heroes in particular can claim to be some of the best adaptations outside of the comic book frames with constant clever nods scattered throughout, winning over expert fanboys with ease.

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