That's cool. I'm currently forcing myself through the XIII series because of my love for the series viii and XII included. It feels like a chore to me.
I'd recommend more engagement with the battle system, and possibly educating yourself about the fundamental mechanics (link in my sig has good resources for this). As long as you're playing them, you might as well learn how to play well enough for combat to be fun and exciting instead of tedious and boring.
Last time i posted in a FF13 praise topic and agreed, well the whole topic got deleted so i never seen the hate responses or some coming to reason. Thanks mods..... Must be FF haters.
Haven't got around to part 2 yet but the first grows on you after a few chapters if you give it a chance and not clouded by all the hate. When you encounter the second esper/gf/aeon/edilon you notice a bit of effort is applied in combat. As for linearity, there's some great games which are linear and no one complains.
You're the hero Gamefaqs deserves, but not the one it needs right now.