No, we're not talking about Skeeter from Interstate '76, here.
I mean, the elements that make up the gameplay.
After firing back up Half-Life 2 due to the recent Steam update, I was struck by one particulare gameplay element that made me feel all warm and cozy. The aiming reticule.
Before I go on, allow me to lay a bit of backstory. I built a new computer February for the first time since 2004. Since then, I've played a couple of new to me FPS games (Far Cry 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) that use aiming reticules that do just about nothing, and require you to go into a secondary aim mode (iron sights) to get any real level of accuracy. These two games were the first time I'd played all the way through an FPS with this type of requirement, but I still have spent about 80hours combined among them. Before that, I had only spent a limited time on a handful of other games with this mechanic and not liked it then.
So like I said, I came across this great feeling of a nice familiar crosshair with no extra 'aim' mode required, and I remembered how much I love it. I in turn, really do not like iron sights aiming. I have come to accept it and easily use it in games, but I still don't like it. I'm ok with a zoom mode on a scoped gun, though.
My major gripe with iron sights aiming is it provides an extra layer of comlpexity to aiming on top of an already perfectly useful standard, and as stated above, makes the aim recticules nearly useless, but leaves them on screen as if to say, yeah, we know its there, but who cares. Yes, the arguement is it is more 'realistic' or 'authentic' but that doesn't mean it makes it more fun (for me).
I think my other issues is that guns are typically black, or the aptly named gunmetal gray. Both colors are quite dark. Many game designers like to make use of dark areas and dark attired enemies. Thus, reducing contrast and clarity over the simulated gun model/textures. Thiis makes precise, accurate and quick aiming in 'iron sights' mode more diffucult in varying condtions, and often times more so than should be considered reasonable for the situation.
All of this is to say, I really do hate having to use iron sights in games while I love the simple aiming reticule. I know plenty of you out there think otherwise, too. Feel free to voice your opinions.
So what other elements in games that seem to be standards somewhere do you hate (even when done well/right) and wish were replaced with another? Don't just say you don't like something. Offer what you think works (or would) better.