Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
#5 Borderlands– Let’s be perfectly honest, Borderlands is the only game that Duke, Blake, and I played, at the same time, sometimes together, for at least 20 hours. That has never happened before. For a game that doesn’t really have much of a story, it brought us closer to one another. Like one happy family. Yeah, I think I’m going to be sick.
#4 Dragon Age: Origins– If we were to base this list solely on humor, Dragon Age: Origins would win hands down by virtue of its witty banter. Its combat system may be a tad old-fashioned for a Bioware title and its graphics on the console are questionable, but that it keeps you laughing through to the end is impressive and memorable. For imaginatively reinterpreting a fantasy setting that is steeped in Tolkien-esque lore, Dragon Age: Origins sets a high standard for original story-world adaptations.
#3 Assassin's Creed II– Can anyone really deny their innermost desire to leap about 15th century Italy - killing, thieving, swimming, killing, climbing, spying, and more killing - all while wearing a tailor-made cloak and a stylish hoodie? I hope not. Even if you twitch at the thought of murder, think of this as an interactive history lesson of the Renaissance where you can pay your respects to Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. No, seriously, you don’t want to piss them off.
#2 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves– Uncharted 2 is a brimming example of modern video gaming and how sequels are supposed to be made. Edge-of-your-seat firefights, gameplay that sensibly avoids the Sixaxis sensor, a dynamic script, well-developed dialogue, flawed but likable characters, strong multiplayer modes – what else do you want? Treasure? A third installment? More climbing? Clowns? Hey, Drake, where are you going?!
#1 Batman: Arkham Asylum– So why did the Bat win over Drake when Uncharted 2 received the only ‘A’ this year? Well, not only can Batman kick his ass anytime, anywhere, anyplace (not how we judge things, of course, but it's worth something), but he has also single-handedly elevated the superhero genre to a new level, the highest echelon of spandex-clad heroics. Video games based off comic books no longer have an excuse to be gimmicky, run-of-the-mill interactive product placements. No, not even if they talk like a pissed off Christian Bale with laryngitis.