IGN - At some point in the past 10 years, the term "linear" became profane in gaming culture. The advent of the open-world genre changed what games allowed us to do. For some, this branching evolution became the only acceptable standard, the lowest-level expectation; without such freedoms, games with guidance felt restrictive. It's an understandable frustration. When a game forces your hand, you wind up walking a predictable path where you're at the mercy of an author's intent. Whether it applies to an unchanging story or one-route gameplay, there's an attached stigma to the sight or sound of "linear game," and it's often misleading.