Im waiting for crysis big time but I also wanna buy 1 more but I cant really choose right now.
Orange Box (never played HL2 or any variant, only the 1st)
Call of Duty 4 (I liked the demo)
Gears of wars (never played but review on Xbox were crazy)
Unreal Tournament 3 (I was a big fan of the original and liked the demo)
Far Cry ( prolly not this one since Crysis is my 1st pick)
there is probably more (ie Timehsift but I listed the ones that sparked my interest the most)
So anyway I had stoped gaming for 1-2 years and when I come back there is a ton of good game, I only listed shooters but I like RTS and RPG too.
my personal recommendation is the orange box, simply because it covers most aspects of gaming, with an excellent MP (TF2), an awesome single player (HL2EP2) and some frankly hilarious and also mindbending puzzling action (portal, for those who hadn't guessed already)
Orange Box is definite, since you haven't already played HL2 and Episode 1, you also get Episode 2, TF2, and Portal, just those 3 are worth the price. (i'm giving my "gift" hl2 and episode 1 to a coworker lol).
I'm a fan of UT and i'm getting it soon (sometime after Crysis).
Don't bother with Farcry, well unless you find it, it's usually like 5-10$.
I nearly fell asleep playing GoW on the xbox, maybe I was tired.. it's got great graphics and lots of gore and blood..
Since you haven't played HL2, Orange box gets my vote. Farcry was a great game if you find it in the bargain bin, pick it up. Both must-buys IMO, and my personal single player fps favorites of all time.
I think you should play Far Cry before Crysis so you can see the difference. Far Cry will be disappointing if you go backward from Crysis. Reasons Far Cry should make the cut:
1) It is my favorite game. Very non-linear open style of game play.
2) It should be dirt cheap by now. Amazon has the "jewel case" version for $9.99/free shipping.
3) System requirements are going to be a lot less than Crysis.
You might also want to add Bioshock to your list?......