You know, it's odd. I actually don't hate (see: I like) "My Hands" as a theme for XIII. It was incorporated so well into the trailers that by the time I heard it as the closing theme it felt like it was a part of the game's DNA. I think it speaks to some of the broken / strained relationships in XIII. That being said, changing the theme was wildly unnecessary given the love Western audiences have for "Eyes on Me", "Melodies of Life" and "Suteki da Ne", etc.
Now, speaking of strained relationships, I did have one with XIII. Linearity wasn't an issue, but the grind to get through it was. And I just wasn't as interested in the plot, characters and battle system as I was in X. Perhaps the developers thought it was a clever parallel to restrict freedom of choosing teams, crafting and sidequests until you break out of Cocoon, because that's really where the game shifts for me.
I'm glad I stuck it out, because once I reached the organic Gran Pulse, I warmed up to it. Coincidentally, Dust to Dust (played in Oerba) is one of my favorite pieces of FF bgm. And Vanille, who's trope-ish facade I would have expected to grate on me most, flipped the script on me by being one of the most conflicted characters among the cast. Gotta admit, she ended up being my favorite, with her and Fang being the game's MVPs for me.
Solidifying the journey was worth it - the ending is so beautiful, it brings me to tears. It wasn't fun to get through, but I'm still glad I got there. The sequel, in terms of playability is MUCH more palatable (and at times addicting), and I love it's soundtrack. I have mixed feelings on the plot; overall, it's way less impactful for me than the first game. XIII-2 is less polarizing across the board, though. I still haven't played Lightning Returns, but I do have a genuine interest in finishing the trilogy.
So, it's not all bad for me. It's not my favorite by a stretch, but I still recommend people try it out and see what they think.