In fact I would say that the main focus on American games is not graphics and environment but rather Storyline. Graphics and Environment are only a tool in order to tell the story with more detail.
I think that both the east and west take stories differently, it just depends on what kind of game they're creating. I'd never consider the story a reason to buy any game, if I want a good story I'll watch a movie or read a book. A good story can be a plus when it's done appropriately, but if the game stinks there's absolutely no reason to play it, graphics or otherwise.
Good points are raised here. Though we would love to see otherwise, story is seldom REALLY the number one concern of your average game. Gameplay and Graphics are usually the most prominent elements. Without them, you can't hope to really sell a story now can you?
Of course I agree that graphics should not really be as important as how the plot and gameplay packs out, but then the first thing we see of a game is not a story, the thing that sells games is how they *look*. The feel (aka gameplay) and the plot come along with that as you go. In the end it's the combination of all of these things which either makes a game good or bad...