The greatest games that Sega ever made always seemed to be restricted some way in what the hardware was capable of.
Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles/Sonic CD
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Knights into Dreams
Shining Force Saturn series
Skies of Arcadia
Others I can't think of right now...
I think this in turn caused developers to come up with innovative and out of the box solutions. Since the games were more confined due to hardware limitations, they were on a somewhat smaller scale. Developers could focus more on the detail/art direction (within a single limited space), gameplay mechanics and game design.
It seems during most circumstances, less is more and quality over quantity rings true. It seems to me (on an unrelated Sega note) that's why games like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are so loved and considered works of art.
The problem I see now is: games have become too large for their own good; created on a massive scale. Within most games you are now required to have a huge world or open world mechanic. Instead of showing you art and design coming together smoothly, trees and buildings are randomly placed or generated across vast distances.
As a result, we get bland uninspired design. Things looking generic, too spaced out or empty, not enough detail, and more so than not, lacking an original and compelling art direction.
Although, Zelda WiiU is looking quite stunning I might add! :anjou_happy: