I think I can allow myself to say that I have played games for a long time now. During my time playing games the improvement in graphics has been amazing, but for some reason it feels like game mechanics and systems have gotten worse or just stagnated. Its hard to generalise game systems so I'm going to use popular games as examples:
Sim City went from allowing you to build huge cities in SC 4, to the infamous 2×2 km size limit of the sequel. 7t was a lot prettier, but unlike SC4 which I probably played for over 100 hours I put down the sequel after 20.
AI in most games is still absolutely baseline. Oblivion deserves tons of praise for trying to simulate realistic lives for all its NPCs. We have a ton of funny stories from Bethesda from that experiment, like an NPC who needed a broom and therefor murdered a man to take his broom. They AI we got in Oblivion was greatly downscaled, but still extremely impressive, especially seeing that pretty much no game since then has tried the same.
However even this game has horrible combat AI. Shoot a guy while stealthed and his friend will go over, do a pretty bad sweep of the area, then act like nothing happened. Most games with stealth are like this, only very few actually has the AI react somewhat realistically by removing the body, calling reinforcements, or initiating a lockdown of an area.
AI is pretty easy to talk about as pretty much all games have it, but of course there's a difference to how its used. AI in Metal Gear is going to be better than Call of Duty, but it still amazes me that the AI in CoD is still as braindead as it was 10 years ago, and stealth games like Metal Gear also haven't really gotten more advanced.
If we are to talk about specific systems in games, look at Civilization. So many mechanics from the old ones got stripped out and resold as DLC in the newer ones. Stuff like Religion, Ideologies, Global Warming, the UN and much more. Corporations were a fun endgame version of religion in Civ 4 and we haven't seen it since.
If you look at Deus Ex you start with an amazing immersice sim that has tons of ways to tackle a situation from the first mission. Mankind Divided starts off with a boring and almost linear tutorial like mission, and when the game finally dares to let the player get lost in a huge sandbox its almost over.
Total War went from multi layered fortress sieges in Medieval 2, to ship combat in Empire-Attilia and combined naval and land battles to now having so simple its boring sieges and no naval combat.
Pokemon went from having each new game allowing you to port every Pokemon from previos games to the newest, to only now allowing select Pokemon in the newest title. Many moves were also removed along with making the game insanely easy and not very fun to grind.
Grand Theft Auto used to allow you to buy apartments and do tons of fun side missions to earn cash or have fun. 5 doesn't have any of that in singleplayer. Just stuff like golf and yoga. Its the largest GTA world yet and also the one i roamed the least. I have so many fond memories of running Vigilante missions in San Andreas.
Breath of The Wild is one of the few games that actually blows me away with its systems. Pretty much anything that you think would make sense works in the game. Take out some flint and wood then strike the flint to start a fire. Lure a horse over to you with apples. Steal an enemy's weapon and he will try to find another one. Put food next to a heat source and it will begin to cook. Its amazing what this game allows for and its a shame that almost no other game works like this.
I know there are going to be the usual pedantic redditors pointing out that generations are just defined by new console hardware, but its honestly upsetting that games are rarely getting more smart or advanced. At most they get larger gameworlds or longer story modes.
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