Specifically, third-person action/adventure/RPG titles, though Dead Island would also qualify. (Mostly, I want to avoid lists of fighting games.)
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II and, as with Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, I was suddenly reminded of how much I love the combat in those games. You can't really button mash your way through encounters. And while you don't need to apply all the combat mechanics, I really like that a given fight can involve blocking, attacking, parrying and riposting, roll-dodging and backstabbing, and it all flows rather nicely. Granted, the deliberate nature of the combat can make it seem slow, and I've certainly had friends level that criticism against the games, but I appreciate that more methodical pace. It feels a little more 'real' because you don't just wildly hack and slash like a madman, both because you'd leave yourself open to counterattacks and you'd tire yourself out, which is why I even love the stamina system.
I also really like the way it feels. When you hit an enemy's guard, the way your weapon clashes against the shield and bounces back, you can almost feel the vibration in your hand. And when you pull off parry and riposte, or you pull off a backstab, there's a impact to those hits and, on more than one occasion, I've found myself vocalizing a satisfied grunt as my weapon connects. Plus, the animations are brutal. Seriously. Even though the idea of a "backstab" with the weapon is ridiculous, when you bring down one of those massive clubs or hammers and just pulverize a dude with it...it feels good.
Dead Island would also make my list. Even though that game had plenty of flaws, the analog combat that let you hack off limbs, lop off heads, or break bones was fun all the way up to the game's end. There was something really satisfying about the crunch of a wrench breaking a Thug's arm and seeing it just hang limp and useless at his side, or waiting with a machete drawn back while an Infected charging in, then taking that swing and getting the slow motion kill of the head coming clean off. I think Dead Island was the first time I ever enjoyed first-person melee.
And, of course, Batman: Arkham Asylum has to be mentioned. That style of combat quickly got done to death over the years following that game's release, with varying degrees of success, but the original will probably always be the best. It was great to have a combat system that let you effectively take on large groups of enemies without being some mindless Dynasty Warriors button mash-a-thon. You can to mix things up, if for no other reason than to deal with the various enemy types, and it looked the way you want Batman to look: a total badass darting all over the place, disorienting his foes, and pummeling them in a way that made you feel it would almost be better (i.e. more humane) if Batman did kill, because the pain med and wheelchair market was about to skyrocket. Fluid, brutal, beautiful combat that was a lot of fun to master.
So, what are some of the games make your list?