I feel that this is a step in the right direction. Final Fantasy VI, VII, and VIII took on a very militaristic feel. Final Fantasy IX and X were both INCREDIBLE and reminded us what we love about the FF series.. Then Final Fantasy XII happened, and let's not talk about that dreadful addition to the series. I thought Square Enix was going back to the military feel. Then XIII happened and the FF team managed to combine both the traditional magical feel of Final Fantasy with the new modernized militaristic feel of FF. GREAT JOB team.
Although the game seems very linear I have learned that the only thing that makes it feel linear is the world map on the screen itself. If you look at this map and the maps from previous FF games they are similar. A player should remove the world map from the screen and then play the game.
The battle system isn't terribley hard to learn but it definitely takes a learning curve. Once you learn how to control your team it goes rather smooth. I just wish that you could control the other members of your party. That's what I miss about Final Fantasy games, and what I HATED about FFXII, besides the story.