The 4E5 elements are much too general. This fact, coupled with the complexity of each element makes it difficult to create a game that meshes well together without being specific to a very certain type of game.
I thought the Europe Thematic Setting to be an overdone one?
My biggest qualm is with the Europe element. This requirement has that your setting be visibly strongly european. Yet the architecture across Europe is fairly diverse when considering the older architectural styles. Contrast southern spain, England, Germany, Turkey, western Russia, France and Italy. Now consider the modern buildings - the styles are quite uniform across the world. It becomes difficult to justify a Europe element by building style alone. Sprinkling major landmarks across scenes does not seem a strong way to incorporate the concept of Europe either. It would be fairly arbitrary to state "and here is the eiffel tower, there the Saint Basil's Cathedral and there the Sistine Chapel", my Europe requirement is satisfied.
The concept of culture would be fairly hard to define since european culture is even more diverse than its architecture... I suppose it suffices to choose one style, time period and culture. Although, a more modern style would not truly be european but more global. And what of the future? Far enough in the future would be so alien and unpredictable as to be justifiable only through arbitrary ties as ruins, old land marks or simple verbiages as this was once above europe.
Truly though, my greatest qualm is the choice of europe. I thought everyone was tired of castles, knights and taverns? A setting such as Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, China, India, some place in Africa would have more provoked more innovative offerings while giving a good learning experience for the creator.
The Generalities force Arbitrariness or Overspecificity
Each element is a highly complex entity that contains within, a very intricate relationship with the others. The most general behaviours are best facilitated by rules which are simple, simply related yet fairly complete or indepenent on their own. Zombies, pirates etc. of last year meet these criteria. They are all sterotypical monsters whose behaviours and histories are complete yet similar.
Each element of this year however, can invoke the other in some manner and have affected the histories of the others. Each element represents a highly complex concept whose great scope and deep nature make it difficult to get them to work together without being highly specific. Without being specific one must create a link or explain away the differences to jump out of the requirement, this defeats the entire purpose of the elements. The whole of the entities are too complex to manage in a general setting.
The original concept of emotion was one which would have been near impossible to invoke - considering the very subjective nature of that which would be considered emotional and the very different emotional triggers unique to each person.
The allowance of emotion becoming an entity in the game rather than something to be invoked made this goal more realizable while also promoting creativity. Although, it is easy to simply replace some object with emotion: Collecting balls -> collecting emotion, it is possible to have an interesting replacement: a race of people who buy and sell emotion and some person has created a monopoly with the general people becoming mere drones.
Nonetheless it remains difficult to create a general type game without being arbirtrary with respect to this element: a puzzle game for example.
The specification of Europe is one which lends itself to a specific type of game, one taking place across a map - Risk or aTotal War type game. Jumping out of Europe to one's wishes requires one to explain away this action in a way that is not arbitrary. This presupposes a game whose story is at all meaningful and a core aspect, again limiting (although arguably for the better). If this is done then one can happily operate as they wish without having to consider the Europe element again. Something I feel defeats the purpose - the elements seem to test how proficient one is at explain away your decisions than abide by them.
Economics is a truly complex subject, one whose non trivial implementation would be highly difficult to implement and integrate - without being specific. Nonetheless it is simple to argue any management, trading type scheme to be a part of economics. For example, one may say that the economics of the game involves buying points by playing to spend on upgrades. The more restrictions placed, the more specific the type of game. Again the point of the complexity of the elements requiring meaningful implementations be specific to capture them properly is shown. Indeed a game which captured them all would in turn be very large in scope and complexity.
This element is okay but is perhaps one which is most easily explained away. Any flag, any word, concept or symbolism that is continually encountered, mentioned or assigned a significance would suffice. It is loose enough to be easily explained without arbitrariness.
How I would free myself to any setting
An ancient artifact found in England, which allows one to open a rift to any plane that is connected to the home plane in whose door resides in England. This plane may or may not be contained in the artifact. One may add (but is not necessary) the functionality of this artifact is invoked by a specific ordering of emotions. This leaves me with only 1 element, that of economics to focus on. The artifact could be play a strong factor into this.