You actually tricked me to not reading this entry for over a week. I'm so sick of the sexism talk that I don't even bother opening articles with it in the title. So, being very bored one Saturday morning I figured okay, I'll read it. Lo and behold.
Anyhow, I have replayed both FF VI and FF IV on the DS in the last year. I would have to say that I like them. I over played VI as a kid, a lot, and I struggle to find my way through it now simply because I have seen everything the game has to offer. I can just recite the story in my head these days, which makes me wonder why I would ever trudge through 20+ hours of gameplay when I already know the story and that's what I play FF for anyhow.
I agree with you on the dialog thing though - Voice acting in general sucks. Especially translated voiced over dialog. But at this point I don't even think that is the root of the problem. In an attempt to turn a RPG into a action game they have broken the gameplay. In addition to that they have made the story so complex, in terms of reading and figuring it all out, that it just isn't interesting to me anymore. Bad writing alone isn't what I"m talking about here. What the hell is even happening in FF XIII early on? you get a basic gist, but you have to climb through mounds of codex to get all the backstory and really understand it - if I wanted a book I would read a book.
On the other hand, games that hit the mark lead you into what is going on very early on, then expand it out from there fairly quickly. Look at the pacing of FF IV, FF VI, and FF VII, then look at the pacing of FF XIII - one gets to the point - you know your quest, you know why you are where you are and you are off to your first mission within 10 minutes of the opening. FF VI, you are in the heat of the story in the first sequence. FF VII you know the mission and why you are there right off. FF XIII, what the hell are you doing for the first 3 hours of the game other than leading 4 people you could care less about down corridors? FF sucks these days because it doesn't get to the point. It is because everyone keeps griping about 90 hour epics instead of cohesive 20 hour adventures that get to the point.