As other have stated, I am also a big fan of the FF series and RPG's in general. The game takes about 40 to 60 hours to complete.
Plot: Very monotonous. Characters are often just moaning about their situation and go from A to B to C with no plan or forward thinking. As Lightning says at one point "smash through the front door". Personally, I would have liked to see a bit more structure and logical progression.
Characters: Some good, some are just plain annoying. It was good to see FF's first lesbian couple but this romance was hindered by two dimensional characters such as Snow and whinny ones like Hope. Sazh had a particular "spark" but I felt that this was not utilized or expressed fully enough. Lightning was a good character and is for all extents and purposes the main character but once again the poorly addressed dynamics between the group of l'cie paralyzed her personality.
Battle system: Simple to say the least. You control one character and the other two party members perform actions according to which role you select which can be changed in game. One point that I have gotten really hung up on is that character development or leveling is restrictive. You can only build up a character to a certain level until you complete the next part of the game meaning that you will never have a moment to pwn enemies.
Game Play: Linear. You will be following a track until the end of Chapter 11 (about 4/5ths into the game). There are a few annoyances that will never go away such as the save menu always tries to create a new save file. One lapse in attention will result in a multiple save files being created and clogging up your hard drive. The other is that an alert symbol appears every time you collect an item from battle. Now, I'm not just talking about when you find a new item but every time. Say I have two credit chips (an in-game item) and get another two, this damn icon pops up. Also the items in the game are largely redundant compared to other FF games. You have defensive items (potions, phoenix downs, etc), key items and components (items used to level up your weapons and accessories). There are perhaps only 12 or so defensive items but nearly a hundred components which serve no purpose other than to give EXP or give multiplier bonuses to your equip. It just a bit boring really. Finally, Gil is now a very rare commodity. There is no gil generated from battle (like in other FF titles) but instead you can get it from selling items (which you are not guaranteed to get from battling) or finding it in treasure spheres. So while you have a plethora of shops by the end of the game, you have no money to buy anything.
Environments: Some interesting places but be aware that because of the linear, "on rails" nature of the game, no area (other than Gran Pulse and Eden) is re-visitable so you only get to got there once. There is no exploration, just a few short dead end alleys and a path that takes you directly from A to B, often without explanation.
Replay value: At the time of writing this review there is no downloadable content. Replay value is ZERO! Once you've completed the game you can wander Gran Pulse and accept marks (basically battling and defeating specific monsters). There are about 60 of these but there is not much reward to do it. No increased CP (the EXP that characters use to level up) or mega items.
To clarify, I played the game through once, completed it and thought "I must have missed something here cos that was way too linear (nothing to discover on the side)". So, I bought the official guide, played it through again, found some extra areas I hadn't gone to before but they didn't do anything spectacular.
Final decision: 2 stars, Final Fantasy Flop!