I just recently finished Ape Escape 3 for the PS2 (http://www.apeescape3.playstation.com/). Great game but it's got me thinking about a few things.
I've never played the other Ape Escape games for more than a few minutes. I understand that this one has some new elements (monkeys can capture YOU) but it pretty much looks like Ape Escape 2 that I've booted up and played only briefly.
So the thought is this .... when are graphics considered an 'art style' versus just lower production values? Ape Escape 2 came out in 2003 and surely in 2-3 years time they could have made the graphics better. Did they leave that that way because that's what we expect an Ape Escape game to look like and would they piss off just as many people with new graphics as they are with the outdated ones?
It's clearly a decision every developer has to make at some point when working on a sequel. I think most opt for improving the graphics in some way or another. Maybe the Ape Escape 3 developers did improve them with more on-screen items or something else that I can't see-- but maybe I can experience.
Preserving the art style or being lazy? You decide. Me, all I care about is nabbing those damn monkeys.