No, that's not your eyes playing tricks on you... Origins often plays exactly like the same game as two years ago. Unfortunately, there are a lot of recycled backgrounds, which makes some areas feel very been there and done that. (Perhaps because you have been there and done that, if you played the original.) Good voice and a pretty good musical score (especially for battles) help, though.
Baten Kaitos Origins is fun. You might be suspicious of this whole "card" thing, but we still think you should give it a go. While it may look awfully similar to the first, don't be fooled: Origins tests negative for sequelitis.