GameZone: Are open-world games forgoing compelling narratives for player freedom?
Since its release last month, Final Fantasy XIII has taken a lot of criticism for the extreme linearity of its gameplay. As Wired's Chris Kohler puts it, "Every level is one long Hallway of Death, and you run down its interminable length, never moving left or right, always running forward. There is always only one thing to do next, and it is always either fight a short battle or watch a long movie." The first 15+ hours of the game are spent this way. There are no towns to explore, no NPCs to talk to and no side quests to take, leaving many long-time Final Fantasy fans disgruntled and many game critics split on whether they love the game or hate it.