I know this game has recieved a lot of negative reviews for its liniarity but I don't agree completely, FFX had the exact same issues but it was just less noticable.
The combat system in this game is fantastic, fast paced and energetic and battles can finish as quickly or slowly as you like.
The storyline is great, however its required that you read all the primers and world history documents in the datalog, its also a good idea to read the Fabula Mythology online as this is very badly portrayed in the game, the game refferences events that are scarcly mentioned previously. The player has no idea quite who 'The Maker' is, or why everyone wants to meet him/her.
The story is solid but told in a very unusual way.
The lack of towns and NPC's is quite a let down but not something too noticable due to the areas you explore.
Once you hit Gran Pulse its side quests everywhere, though these are only Monster hunting missions and don't take too long.
The leveling system is very unusuai, if a character is in your party they gain Crystarium Points, if a character is dead they also gain points, if they aren't in your party they gain points, and even if they're characters that you previousy had on your team but have since left to explore without the main party... they STILL ger Crystarium points, whilst I understand this is for the sake of keeping the party levelled up it also ruins the gameplay a litle, I don't need to use Hope if I don't like him because he can level up in the background anyway.
The soundtrack throws away some of the musical staples of the story but also creates a few new ones, the batle theme is great and so are many other tracks.
This is a final fantasy game thats best played twice, towards the end some things are explained that would have been better explained early in the game ut weren't.