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Best Xbox 360 games: Christmas 2012 buyer's guide

Where to get this year's hottest titles cheapest

Christmas is coming, and your debit and/or credit card is a quavering heap of brutalised abjection, tucked at the back of the desk draw, begging for mercy. Soothe the poor little chap's pain with the aid of our winter 2012 shopping guide, a round-up of low, low price tags for a few of the year's biggest titles.

If there's one we've missed, or if you're wise to an undiscovered bargain, by all means drop us a comment. And by all means let us know which, if any game you're hoping to find beneath the tree next month.

Mass Effect 3
Amazon, £17.30
Why you should
As Matt's review somewhat prophetically put it: "The narrative is brilliant, the action is fantastic, and the quality of art direction and aesthetic brings the universe to life like never before. But by the time you see the credits roll, though, none of this will really seem to matter. Mass Effect 3 is brave enough to threaten to destroy its very own legacy. Everything you've worked for is genuinely at risk, and horrifying things are going to happen because of some of the choices you've made."

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Why you shouldn't
Alternative #1: You tend to get more than commonly annoyed when a game's ending rubs you the wrong way. Alternative #2: you hate RPGs that think they're cover-based shooters. Alternative #3: you already know the plot inside and out, having spoiled it for yourself in order to better report on the fracas twixt BioWare and its fans. Boo hoo.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted
£31.99, RLR
Why you should:
It's Burnout Paradise 2, basically - a pedestrian-free coastal metropolis held together by Criterion's realism-lite handling and a brace of new online functions. "Most Wanted is a compelling argument not just for Criterion's continued stewardship of Need for Speed - assuming Hot Pursuit left you in any doubt on that front - but for the reproduction of those inescapable, irresistible online features across rival genres," I wrote in our review.

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Why you shouldn't:
It's nothing all that new, and Fairhaven is slightly lacking in comparison to the festival fun-times of Forza Horizon. In hindsight, there's also a certain stop-start rhythm to racing (cars are indestructible, but heavy collisions spit out a slow-mo cutaway and enforced track reset) which may deter people who prefer to live with their mistakes.

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