There isn’t much to say about Vanguard that isn’t about poking fun at the screenshots (orginal version here):
The first image is from Vanguard, the other four from “Betryal at Krondor”, one game (although extremely successful and loved at the time) introducing rudimental 3D environment with horrible rendered character images made of edited real pictures “splatted” on the screen.
That’s pretty much the same feeling you can have by looking at Vanguard’s screenshots today. The light of the world acts in a completely different way from the light of the characters, like if they mixed together two completely different engines. The result is that those models seem cut and pasted into the screenshot. There’s no depth in the figures and they really resemble to 2D rendered images. If you add to this the unnatural and unexpressive (albeit sort of realitic) faces you can see how all this looks like a patchwork of parts that don’t really belong one to the other.
And yes, the animations are essential as much as the models and textures. FFXI is a demonstration of this. You can give a completely different feel about a character just with the way it moves. The animations give personality and uniqueness. That particular feel and magic that only FFXI seems to have and that motion capture sessions will NEVER be able to offer, especially when everyone in the game will move *in the exact same way*.
See the last screenshot? The mountains have no textures and seem artificially added as in Vanguard, along with the 2D trees.