Why the crap is Sine Mora so visually flat?

Okay, so Sine Mora is a 3d Shmup for XBL with some pretty high production values. The game lends it’s self beautifully to screen shots. But this has to be one of the flatter games I’ve seen of it’s production value. It’s a shame too, because I like a lot of the stylistic choices in the game. I love that everyone’s speaking Hungarian. I love the boss title cards and UI elements. But the game is flat as hell — flatter than even PS1 era games. Lets compare some “Level 1s”

Compared to…

or something a bit more modern.

Everything is flat and in a straight line. Not just the backgrounds, but even the enemies. Coming on screen in straight, simple boring lines with no energy. Einhander has tons of energy and visual pacing. Enemies come on screen form different angles or linger in or out of the foreground and background. The angle of motion and the speed you’re traveling at changes. Ikaruga uses the ‘scripted’ nature of shmups to throw screen after screen of beautiful compositions at you. You move through the background in dynamic ways. Very thing in Sine Mora, while beautiful on a screen shot level is flat and without energy, save maybe the bosses (which still doesn’t really compare to Einhander’s or, more so, Ikaruga’s first bosses).

I have to wonder why this is. When I first saw videos of the game, I didn’t write anything because I figured it was “work in progress” footage, but now I’m amazed that a shmup with such high production value didn’t put the time in to really make their assets sing, by really playing with the composition of the screen and the pacing of how the player moves through the background of the game. Am I missing something here? Perhaps someone might say that einhander and Ikaruga are too busy (I can understand someone hating on Einhander’s 3/4th views for example), but does anyone actually think Sine Mora wouldn’t be visually improved by taking lessons from these two games? I KNOW they’re aware of them. The ship in Sine Mora has the radiant sword, so I know they looked into Radiant Silvergun.

Now this also isn’t a comment on the overall quality of the game. It could still be loads of fun and I heard the difficulty scales quite well. I’m just befuddled that a bunch of people who obviously cared about their game a ton missed this one artistic facet that really has made some games before it sing. I really want to know what you guys think, because I could easily be missing something here.