So lets talk about audio
And when I say audio I don't mean the games soundtrack, that deserves a post unto itself. I mean the games sound direction. Happily, I've seen a trend in recent years that seems to denote that the gaming community at large is beginning to acknowledge excellent sound direction, with games like Dead Space especially being recognized for excellence in this sector. So what denotes good sound design? Well that's something that isn't easily pinned down. In a game with good sound direction, there is no dissonance between what you are hearing, and what you are seeing, or perceiving as the source of any sound. A robust 3d positional sound system is key to this in my opinion. Well implemented this, this system lets you differentiate between things like, different bullet impact points. This by itself raises your awareness of your surroundings at that time from "Hey someone is shooting at me" to "Christ that bullet hit just to the right of my head!", a whole different level of immersion.
Ambient sound too, I believe is very very important for creating a believable, cohesive environment. An environment that looks believable and is done well is a work of art, add to that a menagerie of audible minutia specifically designed to exist within THAT specific environment, then I believe, it becomes a great deal more. Without the constant croaks, beeps, clinks, clangs, whistles, rustling leaves, blowing wind, we would be left to traverse muted landscapes, things that, seem alive but do not breathe! Anyway folks, that's it for tonight, just a reminder that sometimes it's the little things that hold all the big things together.