How are the hardcore gamers penalized? Because there's an option for the game to help you? You basically have no reason to complain about it. You can have free-aim, use it. It's simple. Also, the PC version solves the cutscene trouble. IIRC, on PC, on your first playthrough, you cannot skip cutscenes. But on future playthrough's, it's possible to skip them.
Without explaining whole auto aim entirely ruins a game, I will put it this way. The games are designed with auto aim targeting in mind, so factors like enemy difficulty, enemy placement and speed in completing certain tasks are made overly difficult or awkward attempting to use manual aim. For example in GTAIV, you simply can't just run and shoot on the move whenever you want, or know exactly where the crosshair is at all times. Because the game is deisgned to be an auto aim experience. It is not so much about it being harder or not, it is just the game doesn't play the way it is intended.
PC is always a good fix for issues in games that hold it's true potential back. But there sadly is no RDR on PC and IV on PC is so poorly optimizied it is almost unplayable. The cutscenes still exist in the arcade mode, I barely remember it at this point but I am pretty sure the cutscenes mask the loading times so you still have to wait 2-3 minutes each time before you have an option to skip. As well as the fact that animations and situational cutscenes are not skippable.
I hate using the term hardcore gamer, because I don't consider myself one, but I am 100% not a casual gamer, just based off the amount of time I play each game and the attention to every detail I notice about them. Issues I have with games no doubt the vast majority of people never even notice, just based off the sheer amount of time I spend on them. That is why things become annoying very fast and become easily evident to me having to skin an animal so many times and being forced to see an animation instead of just being able to skip it.
I just feel that there is never a way to tell if a game is truely a purist game with only the bare bones of the game with everything exactly in the game for a reason with no extra frills thrown on top.