Final Fantasy XIII as Linear as a Piece of String


Players of Final Fantasy XIII are aghast at the dumbed down map design the game offers, with the entire game seemingly reduced to a single interminable path punctuated by cutscenes and unavoidable mob encounters.

The first 6 hours of the game in maps:


As Vanille remarks in game: “This path is easy to understand, isn’t it?”

There is one small branch (a shortcut) in all this towards the very end, though it involves missing choice treasure. After this the Vile Peaks beget another apparently unending RPG-on-rails experience, the polar opposite of Final Fantasy XII’s MMORPG-like open questing; indeed, there is not a town to be seen anywhere, and shopping is handled through the sterile interface of the save points.

Glimpses of later maps in the hint book seem to indicate this linearity persists to the very end – it is a wonder the game even bothers with a map.

Further fueling the suspicion that the game has been dumbed down to remedial level is the fact that several key gameplay elements remain locked even after 8 hours of playtime, and the game only sees fit to fully enable its leveling system after 4 hours.

Pre-release reviews of course failed to mention any of this…

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    Comment by Anonymous
    04:31 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Wii has on-rails shooter, SE just invented on-rails jRPG. The International version will have auto-run option.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:22 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "This new Final Fantasy game will be the one that's going to ruin the franchise FOREVER!!!"

    -Every Final Fantasy Fan ever since the first.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:23 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What's up with this "time release" system I'm getting wind of.

    "Further fueling the suspicion that the game has been dumbed down to remedial level is the fact that several key gameplay elements remain locked even after 8 hours of playtime, and the game only sees fit to fully enable its leveling system after 4 hours."

    Am I going to need to leave my PS3 on for a couple days just to get access to all of the crap I actually need?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:06 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Noo, you just need to advance to a certain point into the game to get it unlocked.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:23 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh dear! Now the game won't be fun at all!

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:35 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Still going to day-one purchase this (for my 360, deal with it) even though the maps remind me a little to much of X, my least favourite entry in the series. Still, the game world itself seems a lot more interesting than X and the battle system looks amazing, so I'm sure there'll be plenty to make up for the "pretty line" syndrome. I'm hoping what I've heard about there being a wealth of sidequests is true. I guess I was just spoiled to death with the awesome worlds and exploration of Dragon Quest VIII and FFXII, and the satisfying amount of sidequests in the latter. I had no problems at all with XII's story and even if I did, I consider a game's world more important that its story. XII, having the most immersive and fully-developed world (not to mention some of the most interesting and strategic gameplay), will always be my favourite entry in the series. I thought VI and IX were unbeatable, but XII took the cake.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:53 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so i guess famitsu was right.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:56 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    dumbed down for the X-box users :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:16 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Does anyone know that the first levels are UNDERGROUN, did anyone get the maps for OUTSIDE? or CITIES?

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:50 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    All FFs stories are linear, dont let Mass Effect and Dragon Age brainwash u the idea of RPG.

    A lot of u havent even got the game in ur hand, and yet u can comment like u have played, amazing.

    P/s there is a world map, I took 8hrs to get there

    Comment by Anonymous

    Linear story =/= simplistic map design, you moron.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:57 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    u think i dont know? tell that to the others u birdbrain

    Avatar of chriselric
    Comment by chriselric
    01:27 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh well. I guess I'll consider it like, a really good, really long, really expensive, interactive movie.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:30 18/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Didn't Famitsu mention the game was too liner?

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:30 18/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow, a straight map. But I guess I'll forget about everything once I start playing it, so there's no real need to complain, anyway. But it'll be like, I can see Chapter 3 when I'm in the first.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:53 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't see how a linear RPG is a bad thing. Other RPG just disguised it better. Sure, you can run about in the wilderness, walk in a town or two and play some card game. However, unless you go into the nearby temple ruins, beat up the dungeon boss and get key item X, there is no way for you to proceed with the game.

    Previously, game developers simply opened a big area so you don't see that you are being funneled from point A to B, then from point B to point C.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:12 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anon is right. Most games have linear stories. Start -> End. Some may have hundreds of side quests. But the main story remains the same.
    True non-linearity would be like having several games in one. No developer would like to do that.

    Avatar of Apirant
    Comment by Apirant
    00:35 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Linear... Now I see what they mean, but I would've taken off more than just one point, ya know.

    I like full features in the first hour. I like exploration with treasure. I like puzzle-solving things. But, something like this might actually force me to stop playing the game before I actually start playing it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:07 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so basically FFXIII can be beaten by tying the joystick in the up direction with a rubber band and laying something on the select/attack button?

    Avatar of zidus
    Comment by zidus
    03:25 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If it has auto-fire, yes.

    If not, you need an auto-fire controller.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:49 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wonder if this is the effect of it being on the 360?

    If so, hopefully it'll be the only one.

    Avatar of Riiku
    Comment by Riiku
    02:03 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No towns?? I mean, srsly? Cmon, you know that's not true.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:03 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    sadly, I kinda expected this...

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:46 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So about we play through the game before complaining after seeing the first 7 hours of a 60+hour game instead of jumping the "LOL SUX" bandwagon like a bunch of idiots?

    In any case about 9 hours in, and the map design isn't really a problem for me, I barely even think about it.
    Now, the thing that has annoyed me the most so far is that they fucking keep breaking up my party all the time, making me have do redo all my optimas and leveling up characters through roles I didn't intend them to be specialized in. Arrrghhh-

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:14 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The console wars are retarded. Who really cares which console the game is on as long as it is awesome? Anyone who thinks "zomg its dumbed down for teh xbox users" is obviously an asshat.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:16 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    who gives a crap if its 'too linear?' point is, if you like that sort of thing, you play it. If you don't, then don't play it. simple.

    I'm holding my breath for versus anyway. =D

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:09 26/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL, the internet is so full of witty morons who post comments as if they just became some prophet to utter the very first holy words. You're not funny, you're not witty, you're just another internet moron, and yes that includes me.

    Trolls for this game are funny, but the apologists are even more so. Bioware can have my fucking money anyday now. I haven't imported an FF since IX but what a fucking mistake to do so for this one. I finished this game a few hours ago and the story is a fucking mess. A beautifully presented mess but just a jumble you'd expect from a really bad anime script. Many of the characters are annoying as hell (except for Lightning, who I have to say is one of the best FF protaginist to date). The combat system is fun but incredibly symplistic. And the linearity. Oh my fucking god. Sad as it is to utter these words, I lay all my hope on Nomura to make VersusXIII what XIII should've been.

    Avatar of man1
    Comment by man1
    19:00 26/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow... When mentioned of linearity in FFXIII, I sure didn't expect the MAP to be of such level of "linearity"! o_0 FFX-2 players complaining about its excessive amount of sidequests & world-exploring sure have their wishes come true...

    Here's hoping the game's other features make up for this. Else, here's hoping FFversusXIII turns out to be FULL OF EPIC WIN!

    Lighning sure looks mo�© there in the OP pic, notably the eyes, can't help but to be reminded of Ginko [] (of Mushishi fame).

    LOL. Nice usage of the BOSS coffee [] there.

    Avatar of man1
    Comment by man1
    01:25 27/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Lightning sure looks moe there in the OP pic...,"

    *fixed. Seems my "e" with an accute mark/accent didn't appear as intended. ;-P

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:11 28/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is why games like Zelda, will always be superior to RPG's. Total freedom to explore the environment and its characters.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:12 28/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Final Fantasy XIII = W+M1 console equivalent.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:12 22/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually, that is just as linear as other FF (especiallly since VIII), only this time not only the path is linear but the map also
    with exception of XI of course

    Avatar of Bronxdragon
    Comment by Bronxdragon
    07:35 21/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thats it? Thats what everyone is fussing about when they say know what I don't give a fuck anymore just give me my damn game. I dumb myself down for just about everything I play any way so I can enjoy it. This linear business is for you hardcore people who do nothing but play games and then waste time in an area you have already cleared and or are indecisive about every little choice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:59 22/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The first 20 hours of the game are linear, but the maps are also linear.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:28 29/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    omg so much lies here, after i got the game today there are so many made-up facts bout the game here.

    -The straight forward maps were purposely selected to make up the fake statements. Heaps of maps have been to mislead people that the game is linear

    -u can control other members, not just the leader, that is just a default option which u can easily change from auto pilot to manual in the settings

    the blogger of sankaku is obviously bias towards the game. gamespot is definately gonna give this game at least a 9 score with editor's choice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:36 23/02/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    if i remember correctly, it's maybe not in the RPG gaming catagory, but resident evil 5 was probably the most linear game i have ever played, but i had endless ammounts of fun with it because the story was amazing, infact i still play it over and over today because the replay value was and still is pretty decent. i love almost every final fantasy game and to be honest, the world map or dungeons being linear never bothered me because of the great storylines. i for one cannot wait for this game.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:21 29/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Loads of stupid bitching here. But let's get back to the facts, it really sucks that the maps are so linear. i liked exploring in previous FFs :( I liked wasting time in towns with stupid sidequests in previous FFs :(

    I don't mind the story being linear, because as said previously a dozen times, FF has always been linear. That's what you get for having a fixed starting character and a fixed ending. there always was some playing around of course but that never had an impact on the game-world at all. but it was fun! may it be optimizing Materia, Guardians or Espers, it always was fun. Killing the optional bosses always was fun and needed more skill then the normal story line. And that's what made FF so great. Well, and the stories of course, all FFs I played (7,8,9,10 + 12) had a great athmosphere (12 obviously being the weakest) so here's hoping they managed that in XIII as well..

    I will still buy the game, always been a big fan of the franchise, and as long as the story is good, i will find that money well spent! Also the release date is so close to my birthday i will surprise myself with a present.. Oooh what might it be? It looks like a book but... Ooooh Final Fantasy! Thank you myself!! :D

    Avatar of tyciol
    Comment by tyciol
    03:27 15/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Picture saved, this is amazing. Megaman X levels had more complex maps.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:44 06/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    FFXII first part is linear. well of course that is story driven gameplay. The map shown here does not even consume 1/8 of the game content. People tend to believe what they read without trying it by themselves. THe reviewer I think does not even bother playing until the half part of the game. I just find it stupid. Thats why I don't believe in reviews anymore.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:39 06/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    FFXII first part is linear. well of course that is story driven gameplay. People tend to believe what they read without trying it by themselves. I just find it stupid. Thats why I don't believe in reviews anymore.

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    03:41 07/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I just remembered something for the argument that japanese games are too linear.

    Is call of duty not one of the most linear fps games out there? It's all about the scripted events.

    That is all.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:51 12/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hell, just enjoy the damn game. Who gives a fuck if they tripped over a few things - everyone was bat shit crazy over this before it came out.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:04 13/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I recall FFX being very linear why didn't that get crap? Like it really was just a straight path from beginning to end that is what I remember most about it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:40 13/01/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It should get crap, but fanboys are idiots.

    FF10 and FF13 are exactly the same, in terms of linearity.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:48 20/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ahhh.... Final Fantasy, the Rebel Assault of RPG's. :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:36 20/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just my two pence worth...

    FFVII was really linear for the first 7 or 8 hours, but once you got outside Midgar you were free to roam. Yes in order to progress the story you still had to go to Kalm, then the Chocobo ranch etc. Was it linear? Yes in terms of story, but it was the ability to take time out whenever I wanted to go back somewhere else that makes the map non-linear. Its the same with pretty much every FF game. Linear story, non-linear map design. For example...

    Go to Town A
    Go to Dungeon B
    Go to Town C
    Go to Town D
    Go to Town E
    Go to Dungeon F

    In order to progress the story you have to follow in a specific order, but if I get to Dungeon F and realise that elemental weapon in Town C would be really helpful I should be able to go straight back to Town C, not have to go through Towns E and D to get back there. THATS the concern with FFXIII's map design. If you pass up a side quest to continue the story a bit you shouldn't have to spend an hour going through every location to get back there.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:14 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    According to IGN, FFXIII have *sold* more then 1 million copies in the first day (not including the bundles edition).

    Still the official figure of the first five days sale will come out next week. But FF13 is now officially the highest selling game for the PS3 in Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:35 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    that probably means 1 million of players are going to be dissapointed

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    18:17 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow. I sure hope it gets better than that. Hopefully it's just because the area just happens to be shaped that way.

    Avatar of maxchain
    Comment by maxchain
    15:19 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Man, if I want an RPG on rails, I'll dust off my copy of Riviera: the Promised Land.

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    12:29 19/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's over 90 degrees!

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