I recently replayed FFXIII. The story's still shit, the dialogue is jejune, and the characters act like low functioning autistics, but the gameplay at least is now much more tolerable. The main bosses and enemies in the game just require constant staggering and attacking over and over with a few debuffs in between. The marks really made me use the full spectrum of the role system (I ended up turtling the last mark to death to get a five star ranking) and the optional enemies (like Long Gui and Shaolong Gui) are exercises in your knowledge and efficiency in using the paradigm system. There were a lot of missed opportunities. I really wanted to fight Titan, but never got to. It's like a tease or something. Here's this giant ass monster, and you don't get to fight it.
That being said, FFXIII-2 still looks atrocious to me. Noel's design is absurd, and I really want to know how they explain away Serah fighting and Snow not caring. What, is it like:
"Alright wifey, you can go out looking for your missing sister. I'll kick back with a beer, some chips, and fist bump my buddies."
"Why did I marry you again?"
"I looked like Cookie Monster in the ending sequence of the original game. OM NOM NOM!"