I too got it for cheap. I didn't really mind the gameplay or the repetition that much. I loved scaling the eagle points in the cities. The roads in between cities seemed completely necessary and it was just taxing getting from one place to another.
Yes, the objectives are never clear and once they've been said you don't really have anyway of hearing them again. You'll probably aimlessly wander the stage for a while.
The cities were incredible in the game. Its almost worth playing it just to walk around in some of those settings. That being said, the character models for the sequel look like something off the PS2. I think they actually look worse than the original.
I'm really shocked by how the hype has converted everyone. When the first came out, I just remember some "okay" reviews and a lot of complaints about the fight mechanics.