Before the game was released everyone was pretty much letting out the hate for various reasons, mainly with the game being linear or statements made by the director or the developing staff.
Since this annoys me even more after playing the game I will use this post as my outlet.
FF13 is as linear as FF10 was, if you didn't have any problems with FF10 you wont have any with FF13.
When I speak of linearity I mean in the way you progress in the game. Much as in FF10 you are at the whim of the plot as to where you go.
As far as physical progression it is a linear path with a few branches here and there.
In my personal opinion this gets rid of a thing I tend to dislike in RPGs in general, going of the main path to only find myself a dead-end and only having a few more battles as my reward.
In the end you probably wont notice, the battles and views you get progressing through the world will most likely be what catches your attention.
2. No Towns and Shops
Man was this so misinterpreted in my opinion.
This is not a rogue-like RPG where it's just dungeon crawling and grinding.
Unlike previous FFs or RPGS where you went from town A to dungeon B and reached town C in FF13 you progress from location A to location B the trip peppered with story sequences once you reach a predefined point.
FF13 does indeed contain several cities and towns in which you have to make your way through. The only difference is you don't need to talk to random NPCs to unlock the next dungeon or know where to go.
As for the shops in the save points, you will seldom use them it really is irrelevant for the most part. Besides the save points are frequent enough that if you so desired you have access to the shops quite often.
The battle system is ATB at it's best in my opinion and it's quite fast paced and fun. Only downside is it takes quite a bit of time until all the different components are unlocked.
While you do indeed not control all the party they perform the appropriate actions given their current job and situation. Other than healing them every now and then in some battles you wont have to worry about them.
There is also an auto battle option that also performs quite well in choosing the most appropriate actions during a battle. If you desire so, you can also input your commands manually.
4. The Characters
Much like FF6 or FF12, FF13 doesn't really have a main character and is about this group of people and their actions concerning their situation.
Much to my liking there is no whiny main protagonist, and even those few characters who start out like that have their valid reasons for being so.
However, all characters grow through the story becoming stronger and better people over all.
The voice acting is quite well done in my opinion, some dialogue does sound a bit cheesy though.
For the people who have or will complain about Vanille I simply got to say that the genki, happy-go-lucky girl archetype just doesn't work out in English.
That's all got to say as far as my opinions go about FF13's complaints. This is indeed a streamlined RPG that does get rid of some of the old and tired RGP tropes that people complained about. Now that they are gone, they complain about their absence. There is just no pleasing everybody.
If you like FF10 you will like this game, if you hated FF12 you will probably like this as well since it's practically its opposite in terms of game design.
I do believe RPG and FF fans should give this game a try without any previous misconceptions as unreasonable as that might sound.
This game does have one of the best battle systems in an RPG and if anything people should try it out for that.