Here are a few things about games that annoy me. Bear in mind that I'm significantly behind with games. Hopefully, most of these issues should be resolved by now. But I doubt it.
Cut scenes after checkpoints
An easy and obvious one to begin with. I die. A lot. And, in the midst of my frustration and failure, the last thing I want to do is sit through your 30-second cinematic ten times while you explain a plot point that I grasped the first time around.
The latest Aliens vs Predator game had to cheek to have a checkpoint, followed by a short stroll, followed by a cut scene. With, in my case, death shortly after. Then back to the stroll, then the bloody cut scene again. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Eject. Replace with Left 4 Dead. Remember fun.
Speaking of that stroll…
Skill-free tasks after checkpoint
Hey Mr Developer, why you put easy task after save? I'm going to fail, repeatedly, at the point in the game that does require skill. And when I do, I don't want to execute this mind-numbingly easy objective again to get back to where I died. Doing the same, skillless and boring thing again and again? That's not gaming, that's working.
Call of Duty: Black Ops has a great example of this. In a mountain base, your character (Shooty McGun) has to rip out some cables before heading down a walkway. Being a COD game, the walkway is blown up. You have to jump across a gap, run along a mountain while blinded by snow before leaping to salvation. So when I mistimed the first jump and fell and died, or slipped off the side of the cliff, why did I restart at the goddam cables? You walk to them and press one button. No time limit, no pressure, no skill required. You literally can't fail. So why do I have to prove I can do it?
Other perpetrators of this gaming crime are open-world games that make you do the same easy drive to restart the mission, instead of just starting from the difficult bit. We were supposed to have more trip-skips. We deserve better.
Dialogue immediately after checkpoints
There was a moment in Black Ops that hopefully some of you may recognise. You begin on a river, swimming under an enemy boat, ready to perform some stabby.
If, like me, you didn't realise the game was suddenly giving you super-melee powers, and would control all your movement with just one click, you failed this bit a few times. And every time the checkpoint restarted you had to hear Ice Cube say "It's good to have you home" until you wanted to fly to LA and punch Ice Cube in the mouth (and then quickly run away). Let me hear this line once and be done with it, or at least have it later on so he doesn't kick in as soon as the game resumes.
I failed one section of Mirror's Edge at least 30 or 40 times. One night I decided I wouldn't go to bed until I completed it. So 30 or 40 times I had to hear "Get out of there, Faith!" as soon as the checkpoint reloaded. That made me angry. Several times I shouted "I KNOW WHAT TO DO, OKAY!". I may have even shaken my fist at the screen. Eventually I just muted the TV.
If LA Noire can recognise that you've failed a fight multiple times and so will give you the option to skip it, can't games notice that you've failed a lot and don't want to hear the same line of dialogue any more? That recognition could help with all of the above problems.
Not restarting by default
Why would a game assume that, when I fail, I don't want to try again? If it's your business to keep me playing, why wait for a button press to reload? I'm far more likely to quit if the game just sits there, idling, waiting for input. Valve games are the greatest gift to humankind. Yet, I don't understand why Portal and Half-Life 2 wait for my permission to restart, while other games reload automaticaly.
Developers, I die a lot. Try to make the process of resurrection and retrying as painless as can be.