10.) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I had never played an Elder Scrolls game until Skyrim. Needless to say, I was completely awed and floored by the massive scale. An enormous map is open to the player right from the start, featuring a variety of landscapes that would make Tolkien proud. It's the sense of choice, freedom, and character building that make Skyrim one of my favorite games of all-time.
You'll encounter a number of intriguing characters along the way, some of whom will offer you quests to complete. You'll often be rewarded with money, weapons, armor, or even food. The quests rarely get repetitive or boring as you'll find yourself exploring vastly different locales and pursuing different objectives. You may need to steal an item from a villager's home if you want to join the Thief's Guild; assassinate key targets if you're interested in the Dark Brotherhood; or you could just head straight to the College of Winterhold (my choice) where you'll learn all sorts of spells and enchantments.
The downside of Skyrim lies largely with the actual gameplay, which is a turnoff to many. It's not necessarily bad, but it can get repetitive at times as you often repeat tactics to build up your character. The combat is rather basic, particularly if you're a melee character. Being a mage adds a little more variety. There is a main storyline as well, but I found the side-quests to be far more interesting.
Skyrim excels at creating a living, breathing world of which you truly feel like you're a part. If Bethesda could improve the actual combat in future iterations, while maintaining the immersion of Skyrim, it would almost certainly earn a spot on my all-time list.