I believe that a solid and well designed User Interface and Front End Menus increase a games overall experience to the player/user and contribute to the Metacritic rating of a game.
If done well a user will be immersed into the game play experience before he ever actually gets his character to walk a step. My vision is for a gamer to be fully immersed into a game and be excited before he even gets to interact with his character. That to me is a great experience as a gamer myself and makes me curious to what more is in store for me.
I see Front End Menus as an advertising package for the game and the experience that this game is trying to get across to the user. Whether you have 10 or 100 screens, they need to draw the user in, function well, and be a complete graphic package that supports your theme and feel of the game.