1. Batman: Arkham City
In my mind, every single aspect of this game is absolutely top notch. With the best melee combat of any game, with undoubtedly some of the best stealth, nothing about the way the game plays or feels is uncomfortable or anything short of perfect. The story, while not being up to par with some of the best Batman stories, never, ever fails to keep you wondering the answer to one question, right until the final confrontation that leaves you mesmerized with shock. On top of that, Kevin Conroy continues to be the best Batman that ever was or will be, and Mark Hamill absolutely KILLS it in his very last portrayal of Joker. It's great that this is the one he chose to go out on. Arkham City is not only as good as it's predecessor, which ALREADY was one of the best adapted games ever made, it's better. A whole lot better. If anything, I want to know where Rocksteady goes from here. There's plenty of evidence that they've got some plans for a third game, but I'd love to see them do something completely new. Please, for the love of god let's hope that these fucking geniuses aren't trapped making Batman games every two years for the rest of eternity.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Is there anything that I need to say about this game? As if I need to tell you any reason why you should play this, you've already played it of cour-
What? You haven't played it?
What the fuck are you doing reading this? No, really? Get out of here! Get out there, buy a copy of the game on whatever platform you damn well need to, and play it! You owe it to yourself to experience the most densely-packed, consistently fantastic, intricately detailed RPG in video game history!
3. Dead Space 2
The resounding opinion about horror media sounds that subtlety is king. The most respected and loved horror movies and games(The Thing, Alien, last year's Amnesia: The Dark Descent) are all slow-paced, tense stories punctuated by violent encounters made all the more intense by the low-key preceding events. It seems as if the creative team at Visceral have made the executive decision to curb-stomp that logic out of existence. From the moment Dead Space 2 begins, it is ON, and it is never not on until the credits roll. It's one of the most overwhelming, gory, intense and just generally fucked-up games I've played, and it puts Visceral on the map as a premiere horror developer.
5. Assassin's Creed
After deciding to fuck the first Assassin's Creed game to hell when I tried to play it a couple of years ago, I picked up the second game at a Best Buy during the summer and proceeded to tear through both it and Brotherhood in under a week. I took to the writing, satisfying combat, characters, multiplayer and complex multi-layered narrative immediately. Despite Revelations feeling extremely derivative and mostly pointless on the single-player side, the innovative and expanded multiplayer kept me stabbing my friends in the face and neck for months on end.
6. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
7. Portal 2
I'll be honest. I kind of hate this game because I'm an idiot and I'm really bad at puzzle games. The only reason this is on the list is because J.K. Simmons is the best thing ever and the ending made the hours of frustration worth it a million times over.
8. Driver: San Francisco
Without a doubt the sleeper hit of the year. Being that I hated this series from the beginning and that the last couple of entries were just straight-up bad, I didn't think this game would be good. Turns out, this game is actually fucking cool. Some sort of high-concept mix between Quantum Leap and Starsky and Hutch, Driver SF tells a remarkably well-written and mind-bending tale about a man that inhabits a coma-induced fever dream in which he can leap into the body on anyone in the city. The story goes into some really interesting places, and some of the dialogue had me laughing my ass off. Being that a lot of people most likely didn't play the game, I highly suggest that you play this. It's a lot of fun, it's funny, and at times, fucking mind-blowing.
9. Saints Row: The Third
10. L.A. Noire
L.A. Noire can be considered a bit of a victory for the game industry. Effectively being an adventure game in 2011, L.A. Noire sold over four million copies. That, when you think about it, is pretty awesome. Beside all that, L.A. Noire is a really good game. Despite some problems with the interrogations being a bit rigid, and the action sequences being....well...not good, the last two hours of the game had me positively glued to my chair. I can't say that about many games that I play.