1. Portal 2
A masterpiece. The closest thing I can think of to a "perfect" game. How do you follow up one the most highly revered minimalist game stories of all time? Like this. The escape from Aperture, the arc of Glad0s and Wheatley, the humor from the turrets, Cave Johnson, the Space Core, the moon... At no point did the game drag. The true masters of level design, Valve even managed to add co-op. How they were able to design puzzles meant to be solved by two people working together, each with a portal gun, is truly amazing. This is a game I would recommend to everybody. If someone asked me, "What are video games?" Portal 2 is what I would show them. As cheesy as this may sound, Portal 2 is the game that reminded me how f'ing cool science is and inspired me to major in Hardware Engineering. So play this game. For science.
2. Saints Row: The Third
I hated Saints Row 1 & 2. I thought they were stupid GTA clones with no soul. So when I hear all this, "You should play Saints Row: The Third" I generally think to myself "whatever" and then mime jerking-off while I roll my eyes. Holy crap was I wrong. This game is amazing. This is the most fun I've had with a video game all year. Possibly, longer than that. It goes so far over the top in the best ways possible. The sheer absurdity of the missions you play through somehow still manage to make sense within the game's own fiction. And it does it all while being totally self aware. Just playing through the first hour or so is an amazing experience that will turn the heads of the doubters. You should play Saints Row: The Third
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
As a huge fan of Fallout 3 and *sigh* New Vegas, and also as someone who didn't really enjoy Oblivion, I honestly did not know how I would react to this game. The first time I launched the game I played for 6 hours without realizing it. I'm now about 87 hours in according to Steam and I just finished the main quest and am level 32. I feel like I could play that game for another 100-200 hours before I ran out of stuff to do and see. Perhaps my favorite part of Skyrim is talking to everyone else who played it about their own adventures and hearing about all the crazy stuff they saw. A water cooler game.
4. Batman: Arkham City
A beautiful looking game, an open world in which you are the goddamn Batman, and the best, in my opinion, melee combat system ever, make this the true evolution of the "Beat em up" genre. I am the Bat.
Anyone who says, "Games aren't art" hasn't played Bastion. This game screams beauty from start to finish. The narration is possibly some of the best voice over ever used in a video game and the soundtrack is second to none.
6. You Don't Know Jack
This is the best trivia, possibly the best party game, I've ever played. The combination of comedy, trivia and pop culture mesh together so well in this title, that even my Mom likes to play this game. The number one issue in any trivia game is the repeating of questions. You Don't Know Jack solves that by splitting every thing up into 10 question episodes, each with their own writing and voice over work, etc. The game ships with over 80 episodes and cost a mere $30 at launch. Holy. Balls.
7. Pokémon Black/White
Having not played a Pokemon Game since Blue, I was surprised to find myself caring at all when this released. But after seeing how much the core game I used to love as a kid hasn't been neutered, only expanded upon, I quickly found myself gleefully skipping down nostalgia road with this game. Even my sister picked up a copy of White to recapture our old Blue vs Red battles, back in the proverbial day.
8. L.A. Noire
I'm a fan of film noir, bourbon and The Ink Spots so I was going to like this game anyways. The delivery of setting and tone of Los Angeles and film noir were captured perfectly. But what makes this game a must play for me is the interesting adventure game-esque interrogation scenes you play through. Kudos for releasing a game that wasn't just GTA Noire, but actually did something unique and interesting. Not to mention, have you seen the faces in that game?!
9. Dead Space 2
While some people complained about Issac no longer being the silent protagonist in Dead Space 2, I felt that his character arc was pretty damned interesting in this sequel. Add to the cool story some of the most amazing atmosphere ever created in a game, coupled with some just straight-up fun third person shooting, and you have created what I wanted out of Resident Evil 5, but was denied.
10. Mortal Kombat
With an awesome story mode that ropes in damn near every character possible and the return of fatalities in all of their now HD glory, what's not to love? GET OVER HERE!