1. Wargame: European Escalation
Simply the finest real time strategy I've played in years. Wargame offers a level of scale, detail, and sheer tactical freedom on the battlefield that's unmatched these days - furthermore, it does this with a strong historical basis and a gorgeous graphics engine. Eugen Systems has created a gem with this Cold War RTS.
2. Far Cry 3
While the premise and events are perhaps less well-executed than Far Cry 2, everything else about this sequel is better. The jungle environments are fantastic, and many of the side activities are genuinely fun to do. Hunting and exploring work alongside great shooting to make this the FPS of 2012.
3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I never spent much time with the original XCOM. Still, this 'reimagining' is a compelling and interesting testament to the original game's cult-like popularity. XCOM is a turn-based, squad game that has depth with its challenging battles and interesting systems involving your home base. All of it is really well done.
4. PlanetSide 2
This is certainly my free-to-play game of the year; imagine having hundreds of people rushing towards objectives, complete with tanks, trucks, and aircraft, as enemy shells thunder overhead and fighters blow up in the skies. Planetside 2 lays solid groundwork for years of enthralling FPS warfare, especially if you get a strong group to play with.
5. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
This is the most brutal multiplayer game I've played this year, and in a good way; I wasn't a believer in first-person hand-to-hand combat until Chivalry came along and cut my head from my shoulders. It's truly a revelation how good the combat is in this game, and made all the better by the presence of a warcry button.
Syndicate has style, not only in its sleek visuals, but also in its soundtrack and the very structure of the game. While totally different from the original Syndicate, as its own game, the new title really succeeds at bringing great abilities and solid weapons together with a strong co-op experience.
7. Darksiders II
Darksiders II may falter in its third and final acts, but make no mistake, the game is an across-the-board refinement of the original and has a truly fantastic first and second quarter. The loot system is largely successful, and the fighting system has never been better. It's a great, meaty brawler overall.
8. Guild Wars 2
Great visuals and a strong sense of aesthetic tie together streamlined abilities, a robust economy, and expansive world. It's doesn't revolutionize much; Guild Wars 2 still an MMO, but a damn fine one, and it does this all without charging a monthly fee. Well done, ArenaNet.
9. FTL: Faster Than Light
Space games automatically pique my interest. A technical space game, unforgiving and uncompromising, is even better. FTL really emphasizes the cold danger of its setting and, while the visuals are pretty basic, it has a good soundtrack which brings the experience together. This is how you do space in games.
10. Diablo III
Despite falling out with Diablo III and the way loot worked, I never once stopped having fun while I actually played the game. It's exquisitely crafted, from the environments to the visuals and the character classes themselves. Diablo III is something, by virtue of its quality, I promise to return to.