Dead Space 2 -
Completely blows the first one out of the water, which was a good game on it's own merits.
Complete graphical upgrade.
Good variations in environments, instead of just the one ship.
Chapters flow into one another instead of those obvious tram transitions from the first one.
Isaac talks and seems like an active character instead of just a passenger.
Great set pieces.
Excellent mood throughout, I was tiptoeing through loads of places waiting for the ambushes and still being shocked/overwhelmed.
Even on my final playthrough on HXC I was finishing the expected number of enemies per room, hearing a typical enemy scream and thinking "FUCK, where are they?!"
Final boss was a pushover with the right weapon, but that's the only real complaint.
Didn't touch the multiplayer, but no-one seemed to like it and it's apparently dead anyway.
Severed DLC was a decent price, can't tell if it was too easy (On Zealot) or whether it was familiarity with all the game's tricks by then. The climax was something I was hoping they'd do for one of the sequels, so I got that sooner than expected.
Gears Of War 3
The first two were mediocre with the second one just being a remix of the first game.
With Gears 3 it's like they've heard every complaint and moan I've had and done something about it.
Most importantly COLOUR.
Environments that aren't 'grey town full of sandbags' and 'underground rock cavern'.
A campaign that's actually fun to play.
AI that'll actually kill some enemies and *GASP* help you up when you go down instead of instantly giving you a Game Over screen.
The ability to jump in and out of Co-op campaigns, 4 players and a scoring mode were all nice touches. Hope most games take this route from now on.
Shame you couldn't jump-in and out of Horde or Beast, since some people just fuck off in the middle of a game, but those modes were better than ever.
Sometimes the chainsaw/shotgun detection isn't right, but this sort of thing always happens in games with online play and it goes both ways. Hearing people on my players list rage about it never gets old.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Dated as hell, that's to be expected, but some of the flaws must have still been annoying at the time.
Idiot AI teamates who'll run out into the middle of a street to shoot at enemies.
Sending said teamates to take out enemies, seeing them fail for half a minute before deciding to take them out yourself. You do it in 4 seconds.
The ability to kill enemies by shooting at the space around them.
Slow gameplay even when you've got the controls down and know what to do.
Not an awful lot of variation in the gameplay and it's not terribly hard on it's toughest difficulty either.
Despite the stealth-focused gameplay, the most satisfaction comes from outgunning the enemy or mowing them all down with your chopper turret.
Whenever I died it seemed to be justified and I never seemed to get shot through cover, something a few games made after 2006 could have tried to emulate.
But for £2.50 you get what you pay for.
MAX PAYNE 3 by the end of the week!