We were talking about the way to compare 2d and 3d games. I'm a painter and the most important criteria for me is a good picture. I had never seen a good 3D picture even in AAA games - only mess of blur and triangles...
I don't care about popularity. Many really bad games are popular.
Also I know that a lot of mechanics can't be bringed to life with 2D. But I feel myself uncomfortable playing 3D games, evetything is so square and...lifeless, like the whole world was created from plastic.
Funny. That's the way I've always felt about 3D games to some extent. I feel that creatures and humans in particular have this plastic quality to them that even modern AAA games struggle to shake. In fact, a lot of the time bleeding-edge shaders only make them look like wax dolls done over with a coat of lubricant (eww).
I don't think it's surprising. Reality is hard to fake perfectly, and when you leave the entire rendering job down to a bunch of automated calculations, which is what realtime lights, ambient occlusion, stencil shadow whatever, shaders etc really are, it's no wonder things end up too perfect-looking and lifeless, despite the artists' best efforts to counteract it.
Imo the best way to utilize 3D is to try and embrace the 3D-ness of it, like the game Pako Chase that ouais25 mentioned. Flat shading, simple geometric shapes, stylized art design, instead of trying to disguise it all as real world stuff. That'll always ring false to me at least.
Just a little personal opinion-ramble. Take with a grain of salt