9. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Expectations for the latest Wolfenstein were, it's fair to say, middling before the game came out. The previous game in the series was a generic, mindless shooter, lowering expectations for the New Order to be much different. But thankfully it was, with varied, well-balanced gameplay, a solid story and a unique alternative-history vision of the 60s if the Nazis had won the war.
But you'd never have guessed at The New Order's quality from the opening level, which is a what's-what of first-person shooter cliches. It starts with an on-rails sequence where you're sitting in a turret gunning down swarms of enemy planes (does anyone actually enjoy this kind of stuff?). This is followed by a heavily scripted D-Day-like landing, before you blast your way through grey corridors filled with mildly cybernetic Nazis. Almost none of the fun abilities that you get later are available to you, and after 10 minutes you'll be worrying whether you've just been conned into buying yet-another war shooter (that initially feels kind of like the Killzone campaign which, let's face it, we didn't play for the single-player).
Stick with it though, because once you get to the 60s and start beefing BJ Blazkowicz up with all those fantastic perks, it becomes one of the best shooters out there.