My favorite game of all time has got to be Red Dead Redemption. From the moment it started, I got sucked in. My whole life I've been obsessed with Westerns. I love the formula of it all, the Man with No Name walks into town, shoots the "bad guys", and then leaves.
But RDR is a lot more complex than that. You're playing the bad guy. The only reason you're (by you I mean the main character John Marston) trying to find these old gang members is because your family is being held hostage by the government.
The only thing Marston wants throughout the whole game is to live a quiet life with his wife and son. For once in video games, the main character isn't on some high horse. They aren't driven by a sense of justice. They're driven by their family and I think that's what makes RDR my favorite video game. The story is near-perfect, the pacing is great, the game is very much aware it is a game but it still wants you to have an experience unlike any other.
Oh and did I mention how beautiful it is?
It's one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. There's something about open world games that make you want to fast-travel and watch more loading screens than the actual game. But in Red Dead, you are compelled to ride your horse from town to town. You can actually do that without any distractions.
In the Grand Theft Auto games you have traffic, city blocks, pedestrians, the radio; all of these things are distractions from the actual game. But in Red Dead, you have the sound of the wilderness, the old west, and the noise of wild animals running through the brush. The first time I played this game I took my time when I traveled from one place to the next. It's one of the more beautiful gaming experiences last generation and I'll always cherish it for that.