I realize that it's been just a little while since the Podtoid had this discussion, but I was struck with a thought recently.
Yes, it's true that beautiful art holds up better and that you will always achieve what you had in your head with art, but some games can't be made right with it.
Just think about Gears, would any visual style other than the semi-realistic one they used work?
Yes you could do guys cutting eachother up with chainsaws and such with a cartoon or anime style, but it would have the same laughable quality as do Gibs in TF2 or the beheadings in Castle Crashers.
Both of those games are righteous, but they also both expect to be laughed at, you can't take them seriously.
Imagine cutting a cartoony art character up with a spray of blood and a scream, it'd be hilarious but the grit would be gone.
Perhaps a comic style could hold up, but it'd still be shallow, I think some level of real life visuals are needed to produce true grit.
It's hard to produce attachment to a character without even a facsimile of real human features. Kirby is cute and funny, but can you honestly tell me you give a shit about him? I feel sorry for Dom, not deeply, but a little. Solid Snake has had my sympathy a couple times. Mario, nope.
Also, I think CoD4 looked about 20 bazillion times better than TF2,
not based on art or ability to hold up.
It's just that I'd rather look at someone's attempt at real than what amounts to a visual joke.