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…