1. Dark Souls
I was very late to the party with Dark Souls, a guy at work badgered me in to playing it, I'd avoided it originally due to the hype about it being so difficult (my gaming time is limited these days, so I gravitate towards easier games). I owe that guy a debt now, as Dark Souls is pretty much my favourite game of all time (was a very tight call for me between this and L4D). It's hard to explain what's so compelling about it, the depth of the combat mechanics, the wonder/terror of exploring new areas, the amazing co-up, the gear grinding, that feeling of confidence and elation when you have mastered an area and can walk through smiting enemies that previously dominated you. What a game, and looks like the sequel is shaping up to be even better, Mar 2014 can't come soon enough.
Left4Dead holds a special place in my heart as the game that got me back in to gaming. I made a very bad decision after PS2 era to get a Wii, suckered in by the amazingness of Wii Sports. I got pretty disillusioned with the Wii software and pretty much gave up gaming completely. Some time later I read about Left4Dead and it sounded amazing, to the point that I bought a 360 and an Xbox live gold sub just to play the demo. I was blown away by the whole experience playing with a couple of the guys from the forum here. I remember later on playing 8 player versus mode with the RLLMUK L4D crew and it was probably the best gaming experience I've ever had. The feeling of pulling off a perfectly executed ambush (boom the entire survivor team, then one is dragged off by the Smoker, then the Hunters kill the guy that comes back to save him) is unparalleled. My love affair with gaming was re-kindled and I've never looked back
3. Mass Effect 2
Prior to ME2 I'd never really liked 3rd person games (Resident Evil excepted), having always preferred FPS', dating back to Doom, Thief, System Shock etc. ME2 changed my view on 3rd personers, the whole game is just such a blast. *That* opening scene, Meeting Zaeed for the first time and then doing his loyalty mission (big guddamn heroes), meeting Garrus for the first time, the final suicide mission, ah the memories. The combat and mulitplayer was amazing in ME3, but ME2 trumps it for me purely for the vibe and the ensemble cast.
4. Rockband 3
Not much to say here. It still gets played at my office on a Friday after work, despite being 3? years old now. The ultimate party game, and best game for getting non-gamers playing. Favourite song/instrument combo probably playing drums on Lump by The Presidents of the USA
5. Mass Effect 3
Superior combat to ME2 and Stellar multi-player (single-player only it would not make my top 10), let slightly down by the slightly shoddy ending and overall doom and gloom tone, give me ME1 Sci-Fi wonder or ME2 bombastic thrill-ride over this any day. It did have it's moments, especially the vignettes and cameos from the older team members, but the new characters were bland and the eventual pay-off a bit underwhelming. After the awesomeness of the ME2 suicide mission I was expecting something spectacular for the end of the trilogy, and this didn't quite deliver.
6. Mariokart 7
Second only to Rockband for that party gaming fix. Probably my favourite iteration of the whole Mariokart series. You always feel like you have a chance, and the slapstick carnage of Blue Shells and defeat snatched from the jaws of victory never gets old.
Great puzzles, great story, script and overall tone. Refreshing change from just shooting things. Great to see a PC mod make it all the way to best-selling console game, just on the back of being so much fun.
8. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
I played this first on the GC, but the Wii-mote version took it to the next level. I never actually completed it, but must have played through the opening village levels a dozen times, mostly ending with the chainsaw guy beheading me.
A game I'd never have known about if it wasn't for the amount of love it got on the forum. Bat-shit crazy stories, awesome soundtrack and "one-more-go" gameplay, I completed on all difficulties, the final level on insane did make almost smash my DS in frustration. The option to skip intro's was the best thing about Ouendan II!
10. Dragon Age 2
Slightly controversial choice, but I must be one of the few people in the world that really liked DA2. I did find the re-using of areas repetitive, but the combat had depth and I liked the general vibe of Hawk just being a bit of a chancer out to make money, rather than some epic hero. Like ME2 it had a good ensemble cast and a decent enough ending. Am very much looking forward to DA3, just wish it was coming out a bit sooner.