Another general gaming thread over here. I always love it when a game has some innovative mechanic, clever application of an idea, and so forth. It's kind of hard to define exactly what I mean. Some examples:
Bionic Commando: I picked up BC Rearmed for PS3 today, which is essentially a 3D remake with some tweaks. (Love the dialogue they've put in, making fun of some of the silly bits from the original.) Currently having trouble at the Albatross, but I'll get it. Though I quickly gave up with frustration as a kid, I came back to the game and fell in love with the grappling mechanic. Jumping? Who needs jumping when you can fly through the air with the greatest of ease on the flying trapeze?
Metroidvanias: Just the general category, and specifically the 2D Metroids. Picking up new abilities opens up new areas you can explore. There's also so many ways you can do it wrong. I gave up on Metroid Prime: Hunters for DS when it became clear the only new way to open up areas was being able to blast different colored forcefields. They got it down exactly right in the 2Ds. I can only hope Nintendo gets the sense to make a "2 1/2D" Metroid: 2D style, 3D graphics.
Final Fantasy's Job System: FFV and Tactics hold a special place in my heart for the mechanics of building your teams. Didn't quite catch on with FFTA with learning skills from equipment. Job Points are enough for me.
Okami: Absolutely loved that game, including the Celestial Brush mechanic. Did a replay in one instance where I ended up dumping just about all my early praise into ink so that I could use it quickly and regularly. Now that I've finally got a PS2 card reader, I can do that new game + where I left off. Suppose I might actually need to use some healing items if they up the difficulty in it.
ChuChu Rocket: Nice puzzle game. Very simple mechanics. Very devious in spots.
Armored Core: I know this series isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love the level of customization available. They got a bit overdone with heat management after Nexus, but they got rid of the whole thing in AC4. Always nice when I have a game where optimizing means more than just buying the biggest, most expensive gun. I often end up making relatively unflashy models and doing well with them.
Katamari Damacy: Na-naaaaa-nana-nana-na-na Katamari Damacyyyyy-y. Liked the dual joystick controls and loved the simplicity of the concept. Kind of made it hard to build on in sequels beyond adding new levels and more stuff to roll up, but it's still a fun game.