Call me a heretic; I'm a fan of VIII, ultra-angsty Squall, laughably retarded combat system and all. I think that the game's geography was inspired, and that the romance, while arguably simplistic, wasn't just shoved in on a side note, it was genuinely developed throughout the course of the narrative and played a very important role in the story.
X had a great narrative structure. The pilgrimage was a wonderful device, and Sin was a very cool idea. At first, at least, it was the only massive, alien, elemental archvillain, sort of the Lovecraft tradition of monster, in a Square game since Chrono Trigger's Lavos. Sure Tidus was a whining little shit, but the game still had some interesting things going for it. Never played X-2; the Brittany Spears-esque concert screenshots that I saw were enough to bewilder me away from it.
XIII will probably, in my mind, follow in that tradition of interesting ideas grappling with retardation.