I am roughly 12 hours in to FF13, which means that I am right at the point, according to most of the reviews I've read, where it starts getting interesting. (The OXM review specifically mentions the area that I am currently in.) Honestly, I can't really say I've noticed that much of a difference, other than that my parties are split up into new configurations, and that the whole paradigm concept finally has some meaning.
The story still doesn't make any sense; I do not really understand what a fal'Cie is, or why it's bad to be a l'Cie, or what Pulse is, or Eden, or why the map is pointing me in a certain direction (especially when every map really only offers one direction to travel in). Vanille is one of the most annoying characters I've ever seen, in spite of her usefulness in combat; the rest of the main characters aren't necessarily annoying, but they aren't terribly interesting, either.
The thing that gets me the most, though, is that I remain confused as to why I'm still compelled to keep going. The combat system has become pretty intriguing, I think; it's become less rock/paper/scissors and more strategic in nature, and understanding the "stagger" concept is crucial in terms of ending a battle quickly. In any event, the combat isn't tedious... yet.
Certainly the environments are gorgeous; they are as compelling a reason to keep moving forward as anything else the game might offer.
I'm compiling a list of grievances, though, which I'll post once I get near the end.