#2) Special Effects Are Nice, But Not the Be-All End-All
Seriously, it’s great that you’re showing me this monster climbing out of the waves in the distance as I’m running up a cliff, but making me hold right for five minutes just to see what amounts to an in-engine cutscene is a wee bit much.
#1) Close It With Questions, Not Objectives
Way too many games commit the cardinal sin of telling, not showing, which is particularly weird because it’s a medium suited to finding things out for yourself.
It’s one thing to say, “Go kill this guy”. It’s quite another to say “This guy has tried to kill you. Figure out why.” True, there’s such a thing as withholding too much information: see “Rage” for exhibit A. But still, pull us into the game: don’t push us towards a target.