I've been playing games for a long time. Obviously, I haven't been playing games for nearly the same length of time that others my elder have been, but I have been playing video games virtually all my life. When you're a kid, you just find video games fun. It's natural, because it's a big novelty, especially up until recently (recently being around the start of current gen).
But eventually you grow up and you start becoming more of a critic of video games. It's rare that you actually genuinely enjoy those games like a kid again, because you're focused on the mechanics, the gameplay, the story, the soundtrack, does it have bugs, is it a bad console to PC port, is it this, is it that. But sometimes, a game comes through that shines for me, that I DO enjoy playing. So much so, that I even get what I like to call Post-Awesome-Game Depression. I feel horrible because it's over for a period of two-three days, sometimes longer depending on how long I have been a fan of it.
The most recent would be Saints Row IV. It, in my opinion, was awesome. I had low expectations as I didn't like Saints Row: The Third but it blew them away, and surprised me with a game that had fun gameplay, a brilliant storyline, hilarious humour, epic moments and an ending that actually made me want to clap.
I also had the feeling with the Mass Effect series. I also had the feeling with Dragon Age: Origins. I ALSO had the feeling with Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic duology. Let's compare shall we.
All of these games had an Against-All-Odds story, one consisting of a protagonist that firmly takes care of what he believes in (Shepard being Humanity, Revan being the Jedi, 'The Protagonist' being the Third Street Saints).
All of these games fight a seemingly impossible enemy (The Darkspawn, The Sith Empire, The Zin Empire, The Reapers).
All of these games make you feel a personal connection to your companions, and they make you care about the repercussions of what happens.
All of these games have epic moments (examples being the Mass Effect pre-ending speeches, the Saints Row IV pre-last mission speech and the King Alistair speech prior to the Battle For Denerim) that make you FEEL involved and FEEL like you're in that moment.
Throw in the nostalgia Mass Effect 3 had from the two previous games and the nostalgia Saints Row IV had from the three previous games and you have one hell of a mixture. That's all it is. It doesn't necessarily need fancy graphics, it doesn't need to have 101 different types of gun and it doesn't have to have a dead on serious atmosphere, (Which Saints Row proves, as it is a ridiculous game that manages to have an immersive, epic campaign) it just needs the things mentioned above. It's strange to me, just how rare these games are, that hit the nail exactly on the head and do it with utter perfection.
Feel free to disagree, feel free to agree. But either way, thank you for reading.