When it comes to games there's two routes you can go. Focus on Gameplay, or focus on Story. (or any mix of the two obviously) Visuals are the tool to mix those two together.
For instance Shadow of the Colossus at the time had gorgeous visuals. To the point exploring was fun just because it was pretty. But that's not what made the game good. A unique game system that was almost a puzzle in figuring out how to mount and kill these behemoths was. The visuals just helped to that end. But if the gameplay wasn't great the visuals would have meant squat.
On the other hand in the RPG genrethe focus is more on story, you can't make many RPG's good without an interesting story. The gameplay and visuals are what supplement that in how they attach you to the characters.
But once again games nowadays have to blow more of their budget on visuals just to keep up. They're slowly losing their core gameplay and story. It's one reason games have been dumbed down difficulty wise. Because they don't want to lose sales by making it too hard. I think I watched an interview sometime where basically they said they can't afford to put any intricate easter eggs like a hidden scene you see if you beat the game on a really really hard difficulty for instance because that scene would cost like 100+ thousand dollars to make which not all the people playing it would get to see. Where this was almost a standard in old games. Final Fantasy tactics there was so many hidden characters and scenes, little sidequests. But in a lot of modern games that sort of depth is gone it feels like to me. Why add optional shit or depth when its going to cost more. A good example of this is the Star Ocean series. Made by one of my favorite game companies Tri Ace but even they went downhill. Star Ocean 2. 180 endings, the largest amount of hidden characters with plenty of hidden sidequests to do with each of these characters. Many having nothing to do with the main story as you could go through the game 3-4 times and not know these characters exist unless you explore the world more. Star Ocean 3. Far fewer endings, even less characters and sidequests to give them depth, if I remember they all join you through story. Star Ocean 4. I think it had 9 total. No alternate characters at all. They just join you as part of the story, mandatory.
Games are dumbing down their content and complexity because they just can't budget it is how it feels to me.