Well I just got my hands on FFXIII this morning and played about 2 and half hours so far. It's probably too early in the game to generalize what I think but I'll share with you my initial reactions. First off let's start with what I like about this game, it is absolutely gorgeous visually, stunning, breathtaking and immersive visual design will captivate you without a doubt. Colour schemes are used very well and attention to detail is evident throughout gameplay as well as CGI cutscenes. Voice acting is outstanding, surprisingly as I find most Japanese translations and subsequent voice overs tend to diminish the original intent and meaning of the dialoge. So far the voice acting has been a plus. Music is a pleasant surprise in light of Nabuo's absence, very refreshing and in tune (no pun intended) with the environment and action sequences. Again it's too early in the game to say but the story is shaping out to be interesting, I'll be expecting more involvement with the story as the game progresses but so far I'm liking the direction the plot is taking. Only time will tell if the story is going to influence my overall appeal to the game and the characters involved.
Now on to what I do not like in the game so far, one word....LINEAR. The game is too linear and this is it's major downfall. You have one direction and one direction only...forward. Fortunately it is visually captivating but other than that after the 2 and half hours I've played so far I'm getting tired of the linear direction the game is taking me. The only things keeping me pushing on is the story, and visual design. Battle system is very straightforward and so far I've had no troubles with managing fights. Battles have been very un challenging so to speak but again it's too early to say, as I've read that it does become more complex as you use the paradigm system, but for now it's easy.
I'm hoping the game does become more immersive and gameplay improves, despite the linear direction it is taking me. But I have to say that so far I am slightly disappointed with the game as it does not hold true to the roots of past FF games, but again I hope that it will redeem itself as the game unfolds.