A change in the directional tone of a game, or its quality, can be very significant. I was never interested in the God of War series until now. I'm definitely playing this one. There's also how they are marketed. The west weren't really very interested in the Yakuza series, until Yakuza 0, which wasn't really any different from the rest, but it had a lot of promotional awareness, like the meme of the real estate manager Nugget the chicken, which started off as a random tweet, and now Sega are printing Nugget business cards. These things got more reviewers interested in trying the series, which lead to it getting more critical acclaim, etc.
These are factors are hard to quantify though, so people will have to go with their gut feeling at times.
You seen the Adult Swim play commerical? That cracks me up.
Necro-bump this 2020: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=229249
Bumb in 2021: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9047071