Dale Rush, Rise, Prophet, Marin Frs, Spesh fsr, MC SA, O 5, O Patriot, these are all FS bikes I have had, ridden extensively and not really felt happy with.
I notice you say "HARDLY" any pedal feedback on your five? After a long day in the saddle, that will still tire you. The one thing in common thay all had was the weight and pedal feedback. I still go watch a fair bit of XC when I get chance and it's a fact the smaller lighter guys (that usually win or are up front) all still ride hard tails, no matter how much you spend cash or time wise in design, a hardtail will always be lighter and mechanically more efficient.
I'll explain, I'm only short and light in weight, so bike weight and feedback affect me much more than the bigger guy. I feel any bike over 24 pounds is heavy to me, I've been doing this for a while! As I'm 52 now and come from a fell running background and long distance background, so fitness was never an issue.
The current trend is still towards downhill fun and not long distance trail riding, I personally much prefer riding up hill to down hill. Our local trail centre does have a lot of nasty and un marked drops, rough sections and some NS, more are building these, I have some friends that live at the gate and this time of year its 2/3 helicopter medivacs a week with major crashes/broken bones/major bleeds with mtb'rs on the trails. The trails are really designed around FS.
I'm not crabbin FS just saying I've tried many and they don't suit me, if I was 13 stone plus and 5 foot eight or above I can see the advantage, but when I raced I was only 8 stone 4 pounds and 5 foot 5 in my stocking feet, to get fs to work, I had to set it up so soft, it was wallowy, its well known that fs doesn't suit lighter riders and most just don't make a mans bike small enough for me, I need a 25 inch max standover top tube height or I hit my nuts, so usually ride a 12 or 13 in ctc seat tubed bike. On most FS bikes apart from Spesh, they are just too tall.
Live the dream-Ride on!