Tell ya what, most of the modern games these days don't even HAVE originality on them; the developers just love to pirate some older games and rip their idea off of it. It's hard to find such good ol' games like that these days.
For the PS2 look no further than God of War. Greek mythology made into something that has done what only one other game can make me do: Openly gape at the screen.
GoW leaves me speechless. Honestly. The only major problem in the entire games is that the cutscenes are unskippable. Yes, they are important but when you've already beat the game once it would be nice to be able to skip the cutscenes.
GoW is an awesome (and I truly mean awe inspiring) blend of action and adventure. It has clever and tricky puzzles and traps. It is beautiful in both appearance and story. It's one of the most satisfyingly fun games with very good gameplay that I have played.
If you haven't played it, don't even try to argue with me about it. Unless you have actually played through a bit of the first game, then keep your mouth clean of criticism on this topic. Seriously. Yes, not being able to skip cutscenes sucks majorly, but the cutscenes are not bad. They are very good and well made. Gameplay also flows nearly seamlessly between action sequences, normal fighting, and most cutscenes.
Again: I know unskippable cutscenes suck majorly. Leave it be. This is also the only major problem I have with GoW.
Also, Lumines for the PSP? That's a good game, too. Really good. Ultra-Tetris with great music!
For just plain fun games, check out Atlas's lineup. I love all of their games. Even their worst game is fun.
The problem I see here is that you are starting to think inverse of the graphics monkeys. You're starting to associate less graphic quality with more gameplay quality, it seems. Just like how a graphics monkey will say more graphic quality has more gameplay quality. It's a matter of preference. Games, just like any other art or form of creative expression, comes in different sizes, shapes, and flavours for different tastes. You might like Rembrandt, I might like Van Gogh. You might think Britney Spears is hot, I might vomit at the sight of her. You might like the Bloodhound Gang, I might like Beethoven. It's a matter of choice.
I agree, however, that the market is becoming stagnant for truly good games. That doesn't mean they aren't out there, however, and it doesn't mean they don't require some work or frustration. Here's an example for STALKER... I like STALKER, I really do. It's just that I die... but there is no autosave. So I lose all my progress because I don't take two minutes to save every five minutes. Even good games like STALKER have a downfall. They all have their ups and downs. It's just a matter of having the will and the drive to keep looking through the mounds, clusters, and hives of horrible games so you can find that one game that really makes you smile... or openly gape at your screen.
Want more examples of games that prove my, "It's all a matter of taste" theory? I have a bunch ready. Here we go:
Steambot Chronicles (Atlas)
Metal Saga (Atlas)
Grand Theft Auto[/list:u]
Note how these all are (mostly) games that you either have heard little of (probably in case of the two Atlas games) or games that you tend to either hear "love or hate" remarks about.
Games are like any other artform. It is most akin to poetry, however. Some developers seem to have that mindset that their games HAVE to be graphically stunning, even at the cost of gameplay. This is just like how some people seem to think that poetry NEEDS to rhyme, even if it makes no sense or just plain sucks.
Seriously, grow up and share the games you like. Don't bash games just because you don't like them. I might not like mainstream rap, but that doesn't mean I go around saying it sucks and going into details about why. I focus on the positive so I can continue to see the positive. Try to do the same when it comes to your entertainment medium of choice.