I agree totally, the developers of these kinds of games aren’t embracing the limitations of this medium. Trying to make the game be something that it’s not, and then ends up failing at both looking good and looking like it really fits with this kind of game.
We need to embrace a new design philosophy, a simple and effective design…minimalism. In fact…, a minimalist design philosophy would work with nearly every game out there…
For example, let’s look at a well known offender when it comes to effective graphics and design, Bethesda’s TES:V, Skyrim:
It looks like shit. It’s a complete mess. All those confusing colors, distracting fog effects, annoying depth of field, lighting effects that really hurt my eyes, etc… I can barely make out what I am looking at…
One modder took it upon himself to fix Bethesda’s shit work however:
Look at how much better that is! Look at how everything is quickly discernible in quick glace! Now there’s still some problems with it, but at least it’s actually playable now.
We need to reduce colors, we need to get rid of useless “atmospheric” effects, we need to get rid of Depth of Field, random lighting post-processing effects need to be gone, and everything should be simple and effective at painting a scene.
Just enough visual information to just play the game, not distract you with pointless visual effects. I honestly commend games like minecraft for not taking the route of most games, and remaining somewhat simple.
And not look like shit.