You're doing it and the rest a big injustice by dismissing 'em because the combat felt stale at the beginning. Would also like to point out that all those games also had slow starts and combat systems.
HOLY SHIIIIIIIIII! Must buy it.
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Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be a sequel either. May not need to brush up on it in order to understand the game. But still, dat Shulk-looking fellow at the end of first trailer says otherwise. What I am seeing are Gears. Lots of 'em.
OKAY, MORE SPECULATION:
Juding from the lyrics of the song ("trying to live your life") and that big giant percentage counter counting down, I'm guessing there's a theme of survival going on. Like resources being depleted or something. Survival and low resources may be the motivation the characters receive to go out into the world and get the story moving.