Xenoblade chronicles: Large beautiful worlds, that encourage, and reward exploitation: Seriously unless your just playing the story you most likely wont even have explored 2/4 of the the maps in each area.
Fast travel system: Not only can you save anywhere but you can also warp from any, and all checkpoints, at almost anytime, from the first town to the very last dungeon in a matter of seconds, which removes tedious backtracking completely, and not all quest even require you to return to the quest giver.
Speaking with townsfolk is highly encourage, and so is swapping party members often, quest offer much exp, and valuable items, and at of end of em your be overlevled enough to curbstomp everything, and quest are never a waste of time.
Add to their being regenerative HP, and no MP, and items to worry about in battle, and such annoyances such as returning to town and restocking are gone as well, so you can explore the world for as long as you wish.
Thats all not even including its battle system, that rewards you for learning it, and its other things like gem crafting, that while unnecessary to beat the main story still rewards you greatly for actually learning to use it.
Xenoblade pretty much killed each of every issue plaguing Jrpgs, today and most certainly raised the standered for all future rpgs to follow.
Seems like you're just pimping out the game.
To topic, Bioshock's "groundbreaking" environmental narrative was already done in System Shock 2. Bioshock just made it more popular. System Shock 2's environmental narrative...you gotta check it out. Very engaging, more hard-hitting, and a lot less melodramatic.
And before Mass Effect's dialogue trees, there was Deus Ex's.
Rofl at the TC including Vanquish, which didn't impact a damn thing, but leaving out CoD 4. This site is hilarious...
Ummm Vanquish did rather you like it or not, after that game came out, games have been adding a sliding mechanic into cover. It's not as intense as Vanquish's is but the sliding into cover started becoming a popular thing because of Vanquish. Vanquish might not have sold a lot, but the game concept itself definitely had a big interest. Even Cliffy B had high things to say about Vanquish (After) saying how it was a travesty such a game did not have Multiplayer) and the fact Bullet Storm itself afterwards had a Sliding Mechanic was more then enough of a hint there. Let alone more games have implemented it themselves when before it was a VERY rare thing to see (Not at all in FPS, and Red Dead Redemption sort of had something like it, and that was before Vanquish)
For COD4 the reason is simple to why I didn't add it to the list, that game was a game changer for FPS' all around this day and age. Though I can't say how COD4 changed things because honestly. Modern Warfare was what got me into the FPS area. Halo introduced me to it, but Modern Warfare solified it. Beause of that I can't just throw in some made up reason because I don't know what FPS really were like before Modern Warfare. If there was one thing I could say, I guess it'd either be using 1st person view for cinematic takes. Or Killstreak rewards, but I don't know if another game did it themselves or not.