When you think about the new spate of games, the one thing that most of them have in common is a goal to end the game. They call it a story, or plot driven, but really you have to complete goals to get to the next stage of the drama.
Old games didn't do so much of this, but that meant that when it was new (such as the early RPGs), it stood out by far as a more immersive experience.
For new games to get more goal oriented, is to continue a tradition that started a long while back, but with the power of modern machines and the man power behind the products, why haven't we seen a change of tack?
Games are inherently a form of entertainment and over the recent years, they've taken (IMO) too much inspiration from films, and too little inspiration from toys. The benefit to toys is that they can be played with in many ways, think about your toy car collection, your action man, your Lego(tm).
Games are moving away from being toys and moving towards films with user controlled pace or progress.
I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, but in the light of the new series of very obvious film games (Heavenly sword is the main one I'm thinking of, but God of war counts too as do many others). What I am saying is that there is a niche market growing for games where the object is not to progress through a story-line, but instead to just have fun.
I believe that apart from a few small games that offer quantities of fun in small doses, we're not using the power of the next gen consoles as we could. Truly next gen almost demands a removal of the linearity of games of the past and more emergent gameplay games should be on the horizon. The little big world game for the PS3 is getting somewhere towards what I think of as true next gen, but even that doesn't appear to be completely free form.
We have the power to make games that aren't leading the players by the nose. Let's make them.