1. Saints Row: The Third
Saints Row: The Third is the best open-world game of this generation. You need to play Saints Row: The Third. That's all.
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex manages to make old gameplay mechanics seem like fun again while adding enough new layers of depth to make it stand out in the crowded RPG market of 2011. What makes Deus Ex my game of the year however, is how amazingly well crafted the world is. I look back at all the other games in my list, and the one that stuck with me the most was Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
3. L.A. Noire
L.A. Noire is exactly the type of adventure game that I want. It's that CSI game I've always been waiting for. Gritty dark detective work in a very believable world with some of the best video-game performances ever. The simple fact that a game like this even works is amazing.
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim manages to improve the playability and gameplay mechanics of Oblivion, making it the most fun Elder Scrolls game to play. What holds it back for me though is that it's also a fairly smaller and less-denser game than Oblivion. All the faction stuff just seem too short compared to Oblivion, and I don't like the way that instead of ranking up in the faction, there is a 2 hour story line that somehow ends up with you being the master of the faction at the end of it. Still, it doesn't take much away from the game. It's a fantastic game that everyone should experience.
5. Dark Souls
Dark Souls’ most appealing aspect is its challenge. It’s brutal but so rewarding. Even after failing to beat the Gaping Dragon for the 15th time, everytime I met him it was still tense and exciting. Everytime that fucker jumped and tried to land on me, I was holding my breath while sweating profusely. And that makes it a big winner for me.
6. Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City improves on everything that made Arkham Asylum great. It's got a gritty world filled with deceptive, twisted villains all of which Batman has to take down, one by one. The combat is still great, and it has one of the strongest, most daring endings of any super-hero video game of anytime.
7. Rayman Origins
Rayman Origins is a joyous, colorful 2D platformer that looks incredible and plays just as great. Everything about it, even the ugly, hideous monsters forced a smile out of me.
8. Driver: San Francisco
Driver: San Francisco was a game that I did not expect to be as great as it turned out to be. The driving is tight and fun, the city and cars look great, the shift mechanics work well, but some of the tower-defense-y missions are no fun. The story is goofy and over-the-top but it works surprisingly well.
9. Gears of War 3
I did not like Gears of War 2 all that much. It had its moments but overall I am just not much of a Gears player. But Gears of War 3 changed all that. The campaign is a thrill-ride from the start to finish, delivering the best story of the series to date while still keeping that “Bad-ass Space Marine” feeling with some of the best shooter set-pieces of the year. The Horde mode is still as addictive as ever, now with the added tower-defense mechanics, and the new mode, “Beast” is just so much fun. Beast is what this industry needs more of. Less Horde, more Beast please. But, and there is always a but with these games, since Epic moved on to dedicated servers in Gears 2, I am not able to join a single multiplayer match. Ever. And that pisses me off.
10. Battlefield 3
I have a love and hate relationship with Battlefield 3. I love that it’s a Battlefield game, and the multiplayer –as weak as it is compared to the Bad Company games- is still awesome; but then the campaign is a shameful disaster that ends so abruptly and suddenly that makes you go: “Wait, that was it?” But the biggest deal-breaker for me was how broken the game was upon release. Even now, the Team-Deathmatch mode is unplayable for me. Which is a Goddamn shame. It's still a great game, but it's not better than Bad Company 2 OR Bad Company 1, and in the end, it's my biggest knock against it. (Note: I am playing on the 360) Battlefield 3 to me, is the buggiest game of the year. In the same year that I played a BETHESDA RPG! This game was rushed out the door while it needed at least 3 or 4 months of polishing.
11. Dead Space 2
Dead Space 2 is my first Dead Space experience, and what a pleasant one it was. The shooting and the action is top-notch, the set-pieces hold their own weight, and the scares, while infrequent, are definitely scary. What holds Dead Space 2 down from making it further up my list is that the first-half of the game takes place in one area but with different lighting. That takes away from the atmosphere of the game for me, as I know where all the monster closets are and where to go. The less said about that final boss-battle the better.
12. WWE All Stars
WWE All Stars makes wrestling games seem like fun again. Getting rid of all the clunky and awkward mechanics of the Smackdown vs Raw series and just taking everything over the top with crazy big jumps, juggling combos, and outrageous character design, WWE All-Stars was exactly the breath of fresh air that the wrestling games needed.