You know, a lot of people have complained about Final Fantasy XIII since it’s release. “It’s too linear” they say, “There’s no towns” they whine. Well yeah, that’s completely true but the fact is that those things are like that for a reason. From the very beginning of the game you’re on the run. Wanted fugitives tend not to stop and wander around or go shopping in towns and chatting to the townsfolk. It’s not like there’s no towns at all, it’s just that you pass through them so fast that you don’t usually have time to wander around. Passing close to people lets you hear what they’re saying to each other like you used to by talking to them. Oh, and you can still buy things from shops, but this time the shops digitise the item and send it to you through the computer terminal (Save Point) you’re using to access the shop. It’s smoother and streamlined, which enhances the feeling of being on the run. Around the thirty hour mark the chase ends and the world opens up. When I say opens up I mean it really opens up to the point that any seeming linearity to that point is forgotten in the sense of wonder that follows. Since that moment I’ve spent forty hours on sidequests and wandering the world, as well as pushing forwards with another ten hours of story.
That’s not to say that the game is without problems, of course. My party is almost completely maxed out and I’ve pulled three of the ultimate weapons out of an Adamantoise’s ass then levelled them up fully. I have maxed out accessories giving me status and elemental resistance as well as higher health and attack power. I can take down most of the enemies in the game in seconds now, which is why the very last boss is annoying me. You see, this boss has the ability to automatically kill any character in one hit, regardless of their health level, resistance or any defence the player can put up. It’s a dirty trick, especially when you consider this – once the character being played by the player dies then the game is over, even if you have the other two characters fully healed and able to raise the fallen character. It takes the battle system which has been carefully balanced to allow maximum strategy at high speed, throws it out the window and makes the player rely on pure dumb luck to survive the encounter.
So I don’t understand why people would complain about the linearity of a small portion of the game when there are much more infuriating aspects to it.