2009: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Fighting off classics like Assassins Creed 2 and Forza Motorsport 3, Arkham Asylum takes the cake here because it is just a perfect Batman experience. It's a metroidvania where the caped crusader has his back to the wall and he has to get out of it using both brains and brawn.
The series lost its way a bit towards the end, and questions of whether Arkham Asylum or Arkham City is better is this generation's Alien/Aliens debate, but for what it's worth, the pair are the best Batman games we'll ever get. Mr tall, dark and scowly won't ever get better than this.
The freeflow combat system is excellent, the gadgets encourage you to look at areas in a new way, and the world
Street Fighter IV
2010: Red Dead Redemption
The fact Red Dead Redemption hasn't made it to the PC or a HD re-release yet is the biggest upset of the last console generation. Hands down.
Rockstar's spaghetti Western is a 40-hour tale of brutal murders, criminal activities and retribution with you playing the starring role. It's also one of my favourite multiplayer experiences, hunting bears with knives
It's Rockstar's finest game, not as experimental as L.A Noire or as dense as Grand Theft Auto V but it has a real spirit to it you just don't see in many games. Prowling around the virtual Southwest is a wonder, and who can forget the view as you cross into Mexico for the first time?
Runner Up: Mass Effect 2
2011: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fus-Ro-Dah! Skyrim was the most fun you could have in a fantasy land. It's not even that there's so much to do, and there is so very much, it's that most of the content in the game is excellent. It doesn't matter whether you're brawling with a dragon, experimenting with alchemy or infiltrating the seedy underbelly of a city, there's just so many possibilities.
My time with Skyrim saw me mostly as a hunter, living off the land and taking out Deer to sell their skins in a nearby village. I felt paralysed by the indecision in the fact of the game's vast selection of things to do and just hid away in a hut. Even this was supported by the game, and I found it was eating hours of my life regardless.
Skyrim had its fair share of bugs and weird glitches, but all in all, it comes out very much in credit.
2012: The Walking Dead
Telltale games had been pushing out a lot of fairly average licensed adventure games, but Walking Dead was different. It was immediately apparently that this was a dark and brutal game, where your choices didn't just matter, but would punish you. There were no right choices, just choices you had to live with.
Telltale now churns out excellent point and click adventures starring your favourite licenses nearly every month, most recently Minecraft Story Mode, but this was a magical new thing and no one could stop talking about it. The story of Lee (and to a lesser extent, Clementine) is permanently ingrained in the heads of most of those who've played it.
2013: Grand Theft Auto V
It never got bigger than this. Rockstar's blockbuster release brings us a giant city that definitely isn't L.A for us to explore, recreating many of the landmarks of actual L.A while telling us a story of very bad men.
Grand Theft Auto has 3 protagonists you can shift between at every time, each with their own missions, abilities and finances. Uniquely, none of them are likeable, make no mistake, these characters are complete shitweasels, and you'll feel no pity for them as the story pelts them with all sorts of nasty events.
The game also saw the release of Grand Theft Auto online, an MMO version of the game that feature s a series of daring heists that are the best cooperative experience I've had in gaming so far.