What is it really saying about FFXIII that your post IN DEFENSE OF the game outright admits that it lacks playability? I mean, I'm not sure how you're defining "playability" besides "The ability to play the game", but if a game is lacking that, that's a pretty dead ringer for a bad game.
By that definition, I agree that it lacks playability. As in, after about 2-3 hours in, I didn't want to play it anymore and after 5 hours I simply couldn't force myself to do so any longer.
Doesn't lack playability... lacks "loads" of playability, which is fine for a single player game, really. Objectively, the gameplay is far from bad, and at times is downright intense. Just don't use Auto-battle. The problem is not that the gameplay is bad, but that they hold your hand in the beginning. Kind of an understandable decision given that they were introducing something new and as with any FF, wanted to make it welcoming to newcomers to the series/genre.
Now, they definitely should have provided a more challenging and engaging option for the early game, but there were a lot of people who wrote off the game without ever getting to the point that it becomes good. Admittedly, if you're an experienced gamer, that part of the game comes pretty late (too late for many). For me it was probably 12-15 hours in, but I was pokey about it too.
See, I'm still not agreeing with any of this.
For one, I don't care if it's a single player game or a multiplayer game; if the game is not designed in such a way that makes me WANT to play it, it's a bad game. I mean, I'm not trying to hate on the game solely for the sake of hating, but I honestly can not think of an aspect of the gameplay I liked. I didn't like that the level up system was tied into story and limited you based on progress. I didn't like that you had to chain your attacks in succession to build up to a point where you were actually dealing respectable damage. I didn't like the fact that I was essentially running in one long tunnel and it felt less like I was playing the game so much as I was just "along for the ride".
Compare to the game's immediate predecessor, FF12. I wasn't limited to how much XP or LP I could gain based on my story progress, I wasn't limited to how I could develop my characters. Not only was the battle speed much more even paced, but I could even equip my characters with whatever weapon I wanted.
Now that last part I'm not harping on too much, because FF4, 5, 6, 7, 8... have all had in common that your character had one, maybe two weapon types they could use, so that's a minor point. My point is, in any other FF game, it felt like I was playing the game and experiencing the story. In FF13, it felt like I was watching the game play itself. Perhaps it was just the overload of way too many cutscenes, perhaps the fact that they were trying to pack way to many characters into the beginning of the game rather than introducing you to them gradually, perhaps the battle speed was too fast paced... I can't put my finger on it, but I really can not think of anything about the game that was fun to me, I'm sorry.
I'm not saying that other people didn't enjoy it; I'm sure they did. I'm not saying that the game couldn't appeal to anyone, I'm sure it could. But in my eyes, it was by far my least favorite FF game.
You even state at the end that for you, and you said you enjoyed the game, it didn't get fun until 12-15 hours in, and even then you weren't thrilled. I just think that's unacceptable.
A game should draw you in from the start. Wow me. Give me a reason to play. The first few hours of a game should impress the **** out of me and make me WANT to play.
FF4, FF5, FF6, FF7, 8, 9, even 10 which I wasn't too thrilled about... all of the other titles before it, and nearly any other game I've played that I've loved have had one thing in common: The crack factor. That feeling that you don't want to turn the game off. That feeling that as soon as you lay down in bed (at 5 AM), the foremost thing in your mind is getting back home from work (or school or whatever) and you want to turn it back on and pick up where you left off.
A game needs that feeling right at the start. Not 10+ hours in.
FFXIV's launch is turning out much like FF13's story... it may very well get better later on, and I'm confident that it can... but many people started it and already made up their mind that they aren't willing to suffer through the boring parts to get to the meat of the game.
Disclaimer: I'm not saying that I'm bailing on 14; I'm still sticking it out with 14 in the hopes that it will improve.
But when it comes to 13, There is just nothing, short of someone else playing the game for me or giving me a save file that was past the "boring stuff", that could convince me to give the game another try.
And that ****** me the **** off, because I really really wanted to like it. Again, not unlike FF14.