I played Planescape Torment many years after it was released because I kept hearing about it. Comparing it to graphics in other games that I played at the time the graphics were poor. But it had a tremendous story and was a lot of fun, so I played it through and still recommend it to others even though it is now even more dated.
But the game still looks like you are staring at the matrix
The looks vs function seems to arise often as a video game related discussion. Its not though - it applies to many other systems - take the Bloomberg terminals that your average IB kiddie has to pore over.
There are so many different commands that people have to get used to - eqs, bnd, eco, nws, MA, etc. But after the learning curve, people do adapt.
In certain cases, it is possible to get away with a tough interface, which has its own internal consistencies. OF course you won't survive the mass market, but in niche markets with a user base advanced enough, you have decent amounts of wriggle room.
Planescape Torment is fantastic. I still play Fallout2 these days. I love that game :)
Project Gotham Racing looked awesome, and played well. Same for Gears. Chromehounds looked crap, but played insanely well. I've spent more time playing Chromehounds than I have any other game, and I play CoD a lot these days.