FFIX seems to be love-it or loathe-it. I just can't get interested in it, at all.
FFVII has one of the best stories, but it's definitely a dated game.
FFVIII interested me... until it went batsh*t crazy and nothing made sense ever again. Well, it lost me before that, but still. I could never really get into its characters. Squall is vastly more interesting in the KH series than he is in FFVIII, unfortunately.
FFX is still near and dear to my heart. I love the game, I'll always love the game, it's hard for me to find any fault in the game at all. Disclaimer: I'm sure I'm blinded here, so don't take my word for it.
FFXII could have been great, and some people DO hail it as one of the greatest FF games, but IMO it has three major problems. 1, it really should have been a launch title for this generation. The environments are large and beautiful, but there's some odd sound compression issues. 2, you can't quite connect to the characters. Vaan (the lead) is really meant to be a representative of the common man in an otherwise global, political conflict. But it ends up being that he's more a narrator watching the story unfold with the other characters (who are universally more important - except Penelo, I suppose). 3, its pacing isn't well managed. There's far, far more grinding than it has any right to expect of a player.
That said, it also has one of the best combat systems in the entire series (I like FFX-2 and FFXIII's more, but still).
FFXIII might be another love-it or hate-it one. I really enjoyed the game. It's absurdly beautiful, obviously. But I thought the characters were some of the most well-written in any game I've played. But I've gotten into LONG debates in this very forum with people who argue the opposite. All I can tell you is I found that the characters changed and grew over time in a very organic, meaningful way.
The plot is interesting, if you're willing to invest in it, and far more confusing than it should be if you are not. It's also a story of your party getting manipulated by MANY interested players, which keeps it hard to find a firm place to figure things out.
But I thought the combat system was great. It's fast paced, it's difficult. You only play one character, but you generally manage the roles of the other two. That said, the difference between keeping tight control of what roles they're using and not bothering at all is massive.
Thing is this is the same company that felt 2.2 Mil for Tomb Raider and 1.7 mil for Sleeping dogs was bad.
That's a pretty severe twisting of words and dismissal of core concepts.
The sales expectations are in line with what they expect on the ROI of their expenditures. Tomb Raider's numbers (3.6 mil btw), are awesome for sales. But they're low for the sheer amount of money they dumped into the game with advertising and development.
Meanwhile, the sales expectations for FFXIII were 5 million, and SE sold 1.6 million more than that.
At the end of the day, it's relative. You can sell 4 million games and have it be an ungodly success, you can sell 4 million games and have it be an abysmal failure.
But the thing to remember is that sales goals are actually
goals. Failure to meet them doesn't mean failure, it means failure to make the product as profitable as they expected it to be. But since these companies aren't dumping 100 million into a game with sales goals of 10% profits, that's really not an issue. For every dollar they spent on Tomb Raider, they probably made at least $2 in profit.