That comment you made about shifting turn based to real time combat really antagonizes me. I am sick of the notion that real time combat systems are a replacement of evolution of turn based ones.Turn based combat has the potential to be incredibly strategic and tactical. It's a genre difference.
Same here. First witnessed when Bioware replaced genius battle system from GoldBox AD&D games with their pausable/realtime combat in Baldur`s Gate. It was not bad, but a far cry from total control and real tactics of SSI titles. Ok I`m a die-hard TB fan, but don`t mind a well done Action RPG - as long as it doesn`t ask me to control multiple party members at the same time without any pause button. How on earth are you supposed to compete against computer juggling all that? (Ok, Korean Starcrafters might, but thats way outta my league)
Dunno about innovation, as said earlier, there was more of an evolution of particular systems than pure innovation recently.
Some neat little things though:
V.A.T.S - well, I love it to bits. Somehow it turns FO3 combat into sorta-turn-based affair. Fantastic, little hope of this reappearing in FO4 though.
TES/Fallout item physics - maybe a bit underused in TES but shaking out rare items out of boxes in Fallout was superb. Apart from making a cool puzzle it`s so empowering...mark of a true open world (who else lets you write your gf`s name in items on a beach next to a mudcrab corpse eh?)
Legend Of Heroes - the visible enemies. It`s not the first of course but I love how it works -in newer areas monsters will chase you, but are still avoidable, elsewhere they shy away as you run past them. Way forward, find it hard going back to random-encounter-every-x-steps system other games use.
Monster Fight! (Blue Dragon) - manipulating baddies just so they eat each other is a very cool touch :)
Item Shop Story angle - from Torneko to Recettear - just brilliant, also welcome becoming a werewolf in TES ( how about Sewer Rat Story or becoming a guard?)
Valkyria Chronicles - nuff said
Also: most of the things from MeshGearFox`s post. Points for Stalker/Space Rangers/PressTurn (only truly tactical no-grid system out there)