Graphics do not make the game, this is a phrase that is hurled about all the live long day. A staple saying that gamers and their ilk delight in saying, look at us we are above your real world shallowness.
I bring to the table, for your consideration: The Elder Scrolls, specifically Oblivion and Skyrim.
Not much to choose between, very similar editions of the long running and hugely popular franchise. One has dragons the other Oblivion gates. There is a genuine thrill, an icy feeling of dread when the first shadow of a flying lizard obscures the sun, the music pumps the blood through the veins as the gargantuan beast descends to do battle. And let us not forget the trepidation that proceeds the leap into the gates of hell, another realm to explore one that the very flora is against you.
Of course there are minor differences; for some reason Oblivion lets you fast travel to places on the map hitherto undiscovered, the lockpicking system is upgraded for the sequel, the inexplicable barter system has been done away with, the leveling up system has received an overhaul and that is about it. Graphics do not make a game.
Or do they? With the games being fundamentally the same I still find myself drawn to Skyrim, time and time again. The combat is the same, the storyline is neither here nor there, exploration is key in both and a whole wide world awaits in either iteration but the trump card in the recent edition to the franchise is only skin deep.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, love is blind and so forth.
I do not care, I am a shallow I can deal. Especially when I can climb to the top of near photo real snow capped mountain ranges and look down, the air swirling about me like a dream. Chasing butterflys becomes a bona-fide passtime, lightening sizzles at my fingertips as Incinerate foxes just to see the blue sparks illuminate the darkness. Sometimes I look on as giants trek across my path. What do I do? Nothing, not out of fear but out of a sense of bliss as these gargantuan foes plod across my view. The very earth seems to shake as the depart to pastures new, not in Oblivion would this spectacle be so life like, nor enjoyable.