I've been on a rant about this game for a few weeks now. I also think this game is just nonsense but for entirely different reasons. Story is meh to me, as are the characters, but the whole package is so pretty and cinematic I can deal with that. The ridiculously paternalistic and overbearing tutorial sequence, I can deal with that too. Lack of side quests -- I happen to think this aids immersion in the story. (Random fetchits on the side while the fate of the world is at stake is a plot killer to me.) Lack of town, that's fine, it just means I don't have to run around doing fetchits and tracking down shops.
What I hate is the non-sensical game mechanics. The whole notion of putting a timer on the same old turn based menu system is just goofy, especially when you lard it up with un-customizable clunky layouts and sacrifice ease of inputs for cinematic presentations (which get real stale after the 20,000th time or so). The old school purists will hate me but the menu system has got to go. You made that in the first place in part because of the limitations on hardware. Now you're just supporting dot matrix printers on LPT ports for no dem reason. IMHO.
This happens so much with Japanese games. MGS4, RE5, FFXIII, what is the freakin deal with legacy mechanics? I'm not saying the west doesn't have its problems, it does, probably more, since we sacrifice art and creativity for a quick buck and ultimately put out games which, while they may be a blast, are derivative and a bit rough. A few Bioware titles aside, the west just doesn't produce anyone with the O/C tendencies of an Itagaki or Kojima. But all that is good about the talent that made MGS, RE, FF, has nothing to do with one particular set of mechanics imho. So why do they cling to them? Is this something Japanese fans demand, where sequels have to play the same way? Is the western penchant for constantly evolution in gameplay mechanics simply another side of our disposable culture? Whatever the reason -- RE5 and MGS4 were imho made worse by the decision to cling to dated systems. And FFXIII -- yeah, this is complete turd. This puts me off Square. I was into Parasite Eve when I was a kid. I'd play the same game with an HD update for a nostalgia kick. I do not want a whole new franchise using PE mechanics, anymore than I want to play Snakes & Ladders.