So, I thought I'd look at the games that tend to get all the press and great ratings and see what threads they have in common. I've divided them into two basic groups, each of which has three things that make it stand out.
Letting the player choose type and quantity of badassity
A cute female sidekick with special powers that tries really hard but never seriously challenges your dominance
There we are!
Gonna go make me a hit by making a game with BOTH.