I loved FFXIII apart from the incredibly tedious endgame. XIII-2 managed to improve on the gameplay, but didn't even bother trying to make a coherent cross-series plot. Sure, the plot on it's own was....decent, but I could never get past the LAAAAAAAAAAME excuse to how the ending to XIII "didn't happen." That and the lore established in XIII has fuck-all to do with the plot in XIII-2.
Oh well, I'll pick up Lightning Returns b/c I'm a total sucker, and I most definitely will buy the inevitable LE Strategy Guide because I have the other two and I have some strange love of hard cover strategy guides.
I think that summed it up really, really well.
Also snowballing in the campy drama (made worse especially in 13-2...and mainly just with FF Sweethearts Snow and Serah...and a bit of Gaius).
I do mark the gameplay as being pretty good and *definitely* different.... I just don't know if high-speed auto-battles is a good route in the future since it takes away a lot of the control from the player in terms of options.
Yes, a lot of the criticisms are strong, but it could also be just a lot of exposure to "less-than-warm" reactions rather than outright hate
Plots are a...considerably important thing in FF games, so the lack of consistency in the games really shuts out whatever "vision" they had with the first game. We've gone from Machine-Gods[?], to Time Travel, to....FF-Majora's Mask.
FF13 I think *IS* a pretty good game (I actually loved the hell out of the battle system, it's simple, but damn addictive), but...it just felt so empty. More than just corridors, I just felt like there was reaallly little to actually play
. It had no chocobo games, mini-games, proper sidequests (beyond weird epitaph...things), and what was probably the most obnoxious weapon upgrade system ever (so say shit about Star Ocean all you want, but tri-Ace knows what they're doing there).
It's a contentious title to be sure. Yeah some love the hell out of it, but I think it's just one of those games that sorta lives in infamy due to the series reputation, the divergent route it took compared to previous games, and (while revolutionizing some ideas) also had some questionable design decisions.
Making a good, balanced game is hard as fuck.