Uninteresting main character, even less interesting main villain, weak supporting cast, mediocre at best story, lack of art direction are the reasons I was never a fan of 7. The most infuriating thing was that ending with Red XIII that made absolutely no sense at all. Nothing I haven't said before when the topic comes up.
I also tend to notice that amongst 7's praises, it being the person's first Final Fantasy game tends to show up.
I don't disagree with most of that, except for:
lack of art direction
...where I think you've got to be trolling.
I admit that there's no cohesion between the environments, but the artistry of each area was stunning. The environments were memorable, interesting, and there was a ton of very original imagery to be found. They were labyrinthine and fun to explore. And for being so beautifully rendered, they were surprisingly interactive. The game also played fast and loose with the player's interaction with the scenery, which helped keep things fresh. The industry-leading graphics certainly helped, too. The game's art direction was a huge positive point for me, and I think it sort of bolstered (or overruled) the less than stellar parts.
It's been a while since I played it, but I don't remember anything nonsensical about the Red XIII ending. I do remember wishing that they had ended the game at the part where Holy gets summoned and everyone blinks. Would have been a great, poetic ending, in my opinion (though few share that outlook).
To the rest: most of what you cite as issues were only aspects that were 'average' in the game to me. They didn't stand out, but they didn't really detract, either. Really, I'm almost never impressed by characterizations in video games, so FF7 doesn't seem all that different than any other to me. Edited, Aug 31st 2011 4:22pm by Eske