1. Saints Row: The Third
The first mission of Saints Row The Third has you robbing a bank by blowing up a large section of it, then carrying its safe away tethered to a helicopter, while you STAND ON THE SAFE SHOOTING AT OTHER HELICOPTERS.
And that's the FIRST MISSION.It ramps up from there.
Saints Row The Third is insane, over the top, and incredibly funny. It also pays great homages to games and movies.
Guys, you should really play Saints Row.
2. Portal 2
Portal 2 is incredibly witty and funny, and the puzzles are just as smart as the writing. It's hard to make a funny game, so many developers have tried and failed, but Valve nailed it once again. Also the co-op is FANTASTIC.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
It should be no surprise that Skyward Sword is a fantastic game. I mean, Nintendo made it and lets face it even the worst Zelda games aren't BAD (I'm looking at you Windwaker.) Skyward Sword's new watercolour art style is easily the best the series has ever looked and the way the overworld is handled is a good change for the series. Previous Zeldas have focussed almost entirely on the dungeons and the areas you explore before them have rarely been that impressive. In Skyward Sword, these areas feel like small dungeons of their own and it's a welcome change.
4. Dead Space 2
Dead Space 2 is another case in this list where I didn't really like the original game that much. Dead Space 1 was an okay kinda clunky third person shooter with terrible turret sequences. Dead space 2 is leagues better than it. It's scarier, the shooting is much tighter and the story is fantastic, this game sold me on Dead Space as a series proving it's not just Resident Evil in space.
5. Total War: Shogun 2
I came into the Total War series relatively late. I *had* the original Shogun but I barely played it, then I got the rest of the series on a steam sale a year or two ago and got hooked. Shogun 2 doesn't change much but returning to the melee combat that the series originated from was definitely a great choice.
6. Batman: Arkham City
Batman Arkham City manages to successfully improve upon most of what Arkham Asylum did. Sure, the world design maybe isn't quite as good, sure there's arguably too much riddler stuff now (although I personally liked that most trophies now are accompanied by a puzzle of some sort) but the combat has been expanded, the stealth is as good as ever and some of the boss fights are just outstanding.
7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Human Revolution is a game that has no right to be as good as it is. It's a sequel to one of the best games ever made, made by a different studio after the original studio made a terrible sequel. But goddamn it's a great game.
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I'm going to be unpopular here but I thought Oblivion was not a very good game. I put lots of time into it yeah, but nothing about it was really that good. Skyrim steps up its game however fixing almost everything that sucked about Oblivion. The writing is much better, there are at least 10 voice actors instead of 4 now, and the combat is a lot better. They did kinda make Magic a little worse, but I can live with that.
9. inFamous 2
When I first bought my PS3, Metal Gear Solid 4 was the first game I was super hyped to play and the first one I bought. After that turned out to be awful, I turned to Infamous and finally found validation for my PS3 purchase. The sequel reaches and sometimes surpasses the high standard set by the first game, while adding some fantastic new powers and a fun user generated content system to the mix.
10. Alice: Madness Returns
Alice: Madness Returns is an underappreciated gem as far as I'm concerned. From tight combat to great platforming and level design Madness Returns is just all around a well made game. Then there's the story. Each character speaks with a highly intelligent nonsensical gibberish that shows a great reverence for the original Alice in Wonderland story. It's beautiful and fun, what's not to love?