1. Mass Effect 2
Bioware is easily my favorite developer out there, so keep that in mind. Regardless, ME2 was an excellent game, with great DLC support throughout the year. Some of the changes from the first were great, others argueable, but from the moment I watched the credits roll back in January, I had a good feeling this game was going to be my GOTY.
2. Alan Wake
Was never following this game, but played it when it dropped. Wow. The only huge fault to this game is how much the shooting can become repetitive. But the story, narrative techniques, presentation, and everything else was incredibly well done. Definitely my surprise game from this year.
3. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
I really enjoyed Assassin's Creed 2 last year, but wasn't anticipating this one, mostly since the marketing for the game emphasized the multiplayer (which I haven't played at all). I came to this game for more of the great single player experience that I had last year, and the game's ending did nothing but make me even more excited for the next offering in the franchise.
The underdog choice of sorts. Darksiders isn't going to get any type of GOTY recognition of any sort from the gaming press. But for me, seeing another take on the 3D Legend of Zelda style of game was great, and short of that last dungeon, the game was incredibly enjoyable, purely as a game, from start to finish.
5. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Would be higher if I liked RTS games more. However, Starcraft is the only RTS I could ever really enjoy, and after a decade of waiting this game delivered. For what is essentially a third of a campaign it was still excellent, despite some poor story choices towards the end. And the multiplayer design is incredibly well done, though I am free at any RTS.
6. Halo: Reach
I'm not a Halo guy. At all. But Halo: Reach was so well designed all around, with the most changes to the game (without completely redefining Halo) in all of the games following the first. The campaign was a great experience, despite knowing the end already. And in the multiplayer, Bungie continued to be the console FPS online play innovator with all of the changes brought forth.
7. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
Shocking that such an old game makes the list, but DX is such a good twist on Pac-Man, while still being Pac-Man, that it makes my top 10 purely on fun factor (which is all games of Pac-Man's time had to go on).
8. Super Street Fighter IV
A considerable revision to last years Street Fighter 4. This game took the most time (and money) from me out of any other game this year, however that also factored in a negative way into my placing of it on this list. Hitting nearly 300 hours of playtime, more recently I have began to think less and less of the game's quality. If this game had just come out now it would probably be higher on my list.
9. 3D Dot Game Heroes
The 2D counter-part to Darksiders. The intentional retro styling and design while still looking modern was an interesting move by From Software, but it was a great pseudo-nostalgia trip worth playing. The game's short length and From Software style of difficulty keep this one lower on my list.
10. Final Fantasy XIII
The controversial choice. Honestly, going into this one with zero preconceived notions or expectations really helped my enjoyment of the game. The battle system is simple yet complex, and it clicked with me right away. The story could be better, but lately I'm beginning to think that Japan has lost their touch at consistently writing great JRPG stories, and that the cultural barrier plays a major role. The soundtrack was excellent, which was surprising considering Nobuo Uematsu's departure from Square-Enix.