the only thing worth in modern games will be Oculus Rift support. Till they make good use of that accessory, I'll be waiting.
Also if they improve artificial intelligents like in the game Facade
You'd have adventure game puzzles in real time!
Modern gaming industry is in a bubble that is ready to burst, both in computers and consoles. We'll might see a second video game crash soon. It is not a coincidence you abstain from modern games.
In the 90s video game industry was booming, despite having serious problems back then too.
New games I enjoyed the most were indeed the ones inspired by retro looks or mechanics.
Most notably : Faster than Light
It is a very hard game too. I havent finished it on normal yet.
Also Freedom Planet, inspired by old 2D platformers, was surprisingly much better than I expected.
Tried other platformers like Super Meat Boy and They Bleed Pixels. Never finished them after having lost hundreds of lifes. As you said, they're hard for the sake of being hard. They dont make you a better player. Gianna Sisters:Twisted Dreams was similar, prior to the patch at least. But its target audience were the hardcore computer platform gamers and a lot of those games were broken
In contrast, I beat A Walk in the Dark, that had a toned dowm difficulty, just like the older 80s-90s platformers.
Finished few months ago Bioshock Infinite, DLCs included. Felt exactly like you described! Felt like I was watching a movie, while been emerged in cheap gameplay. Unbelievable that this game cost millions to develop. An indie FPS could have achieved the same, if not better, results with 1/20 the price.
At least Bioshock 2, Minerva's Den included, made a better effort in balancing that sort of gameplay.
Regarding The Last of Us, I'd have said the same thing, but I recognize that this game is unique in story telling and pushing facial CGI animation to new and previously unseen levels. This in turn will have an effect on CGI animation in general, as the Last of Us animation director was an influence for many animators. But this was a game I didnt buy yet watched at my friend. With his PS3 he saved me lots of wasted money indeed.