I played about 4 hours yesterday at a friends house, and while it is fun, I found it to be worse than all the others capcom's fighting games released this gen by far. Not only mechanics but graphics, color, music, the design of the characters, menus. Sure most of it is pretty subjective but it is as I see it.
Well, you are in the minority then because there are a ton of players saying it's the best Street Fighter released in years and people are having a blast. While the colors are fugly, the graphics are largely the same except for a more water colored look. The design of the characters are exactly how they're supposed to look so unless you're complaining about the water colored graphics or the overall character designs of Street Fighter and Tekken characters, your comment makes no sense. Also, who complains about menus? If you're looking at them for more than 2-3 minutes then you're doing it wrong. I do like a lot of the older 2D music better, but the SxT stuff is fine as far as I'm concerned.
Yeah, I don't like the colors, whatever they have done with it, for my personal tastes feel horrible, but I can surely overlook it, especially in a fighting game.
The menus, as you said, it may seem useless if they are ugly or not, but they are part of the game. For example, the menus in MvC3 look nice but they take too much time to go from an option to another, especially when the game auto-saves and I'm comparing just to Capcom games. Also the fact that the announcer yells the name of the character each time you put the cursor on top of it, why doesn't it just say the name when you chose the character ? Don't tell me they did this to help the visually handicapped.
The design is not "the same. Some characters like Akuma or Saghat I do have the impression look the same, but I can certainly say the Ryu, Ken, Chun Li among others look weird.
But hey, just my take on it, it's my opinion, far from absolute or the majority. Basically I'm just saying I still have much more fun with SSF4:AE than SxT.
With all that, if we add those Capcom screw up tactics into the mix, for me it's just the cherry on the sunday. Paying for characters on the disc, for gems, for costumes and for the inevitable Super/Ultimate/Whatever Edition that will shortly follow, that's just too much for me for a game that IS GOOD but for me not nearly as good as the others.