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I liked FFXIII. It was a good game (the gameplay was very fun and the story was interesting) om my opinion. I'm happy with how it ended and I honestly didn't bother with its sequel.
I played both and enjoyed both, despite XIII-2's ending. I agree with you about the ending part though. It would been a happier ending if SE would have just left it with XIII. I mean...Lightning sure looked happy to me.
Well you're not the only one who liked it. I actually thought it was a pretty fun game overall, although I got to admit it was a little too linear for its own good but despite all the issues it has It's really not a bad game.
I believe I clocked around a good 99-100 hours or so on it and maxed the crystarium/completed all the side missions. Good times.
It's just one long hallway. Every fight you have is just there so you are at the level the game wants you to be when you run into the next boss. It just takes all the elements of a jrpg and breaks them down to there most basic components to the point where it's barely a game anymore. If you like a game that virtually is just a hallway with FMV's I guess that's fine but you could just go watch a movie while mashing X too ;p
All that said I don't really care if you enjoyed it. I'm glad someone did.