More and more were seeing games try new things and many of these ideas are making the whole experience awesome. So here is a list of stuff I've been noticing that I hope becomes the norm:
Perks/Skills : Now this is obviously already a mainstay of rpg games, whether your playing Fallout 3 or the more recent Borderlands and many others but in recent years we've been seeing them more often in all kinds of action games. And not just that but there has been a unique spin to them, for example the just released Sabotuer has perks, but instead of having them unlock after X amount of experience, they are almost like achievements, where you have to complete a certain task, this has made trying all kinds of stuff quite fun and eliminites the frustration of which perk to pick to unlock. Another new element is Borderlands giving you the ability to reset your skills, we've all been screwed by picking something we've yet to try and finding out later on that it sucks, or maybe something sounds interesting but it's out of usual game tactics so we're afraid to try it, I'm not saying it shouldn't cost us, but at least allowing us to reset these skills we can be more adventrous making choices and even opt for different skill sets for different parts of the game.
Cutscene Menu: This should be standard, I can't believe how many games with brilliant and long cutscenes don't allow you to go back and watch them. I've accitdently skipped scenes and had no way to go back. You should have an option to rewatch these at any point, and skip them in game. Uncharted 2 does a nice job of that.
Fast Travel: One of the most annoying things in an open world game is to have to travel a great distance some where, especially for a silly reason, it turns into a real chore. Fallout 3 I think does it best(despite the lack of any vehicles) You travel when you want from the menu, just as long as you been there before, it requires you to take the adventure there initially and then takes away the aggrevation to get back. This should be a mainstay in open world games.
lock off the world: when open world games got popular many and many still do allow you to travel every end of the planet. This meant that you took a trip all around town at the beggining of the game , and 5 hours in the whole city/area felt kind of been there done that. Infamous I felt, and Assassin's Creed 2 do a decent job of slowly opening up their worlds, so you feel a sense of achievement and freedom when new parts open up, and it keeps the world feeling fresh.
Multiplayer replay/website stats: Halo 3 started this and it's been awesome to perserve your greatest achievements and being able to get detailed leaderboards and stats online. It seems like a every racing game lets you record that and most of the time your races are boring, FPS's should be the genre to develop this trend. I'm severly dissapointed that Call of Duty MW2 seemed to set this whole trend back.
Customizable controls: there is no reason at all why every game can't let you map the buttons the way you want, there has been a movement with the disabled to get this more popular and I think everyone at some point or another has a game they wish had different controls.
Genre Mixing: above I commented on perks/skill spreading from the rpg world. We are seeing more mixes, Assassin's Creed 2 having a town you can upgrade, and conspiriacy puzzle solving. And Bioware has done alot of mixing action/rpg/adventure elements. rpg/sim/adventure/puzzle gameplay elements can be a great way to mix up the monotous action in games.
New Game Plus: Again I'm going to refer to Bordlands here, here you are allowed to replay the game with all your stuff, enhance the enemies, enchance the loot. And what I loved is they didn't force you to loose everything in the process at any time you can go back to your original play through, this simple feature has allowed games to add countless hours to the games replay value. New game plus is getting more popular and we'll hopefully see it more often.
Anyway just had to get that off my chest, put yours below!