Final Fantasy XIII is the first Final Fantasy game for the PlayStation 3 system's advanced hardware, providing tangible, intuitive controls while delivering seamless transitions between real-time gameplay and stunning in-game cinematics.
Some of the biggest complaints and controversy with the game is the gameplay. That said, the game is very linear. For the first 20 hours of the game, you are practically going in a straight line with almost no deviations., then the game opens up for about 10 minutes, and then is linear again for the next 20 hours. Now this isn't as bad as it sounds, but when you compare it to FFXII's non-linearity, you will be feeling like the series is going backwards not forwards since the last time the game was this linear in one of the main titles was FFX almost 10 years ago. So while it doesn't really make the game bad, it doesn't make it really that good either, instead it is more annoying than anything because the game could have been so much better if they did a more FFXII method of exploration.
The music, composed by Masashi Hamauzu, is a mixture of elevator music and epic orchestral and choral pieces. During most of the gameplay, the music is simple, but never had much of a melody, at least not very memorable ones. However, during the cutscenes, the music was very well done, and managed to enhance the story significantly. And the battle music is very good all around, from the standard battle theme to boss themes, and all the way to the epic choral themes which are played for the more important boss battles.
There seems to be a lack of sidequests and mini games that the series is otherwise known for. Really the only sidequest in the game is the monster hunting; Compare that with FFXII which had two types of monster hunting, but also other smaller sidequests like fishing. FFX even had more sidequests than FFXIII. Both of those mentioned games you could probably spend more than 150 hours playing the game before you did everything, but with FFXIII all the sidequests can probably be completed in under 80 hours.
The story has always been one of the most attractive aspects in any Final Fantasy game. Unfortunately Final Fantasy XIII doesn't have that triple A story that one might have hoped for. The game starts off by just throwing you into the action, without any knowledge of the characters all the while spouting off terminologies like Fal'Cie, (Pulse) L'Cie, Cieth, Cocoon, and many of these are not explained very well until later in the game. Having said that, the story does get better over time. Every chapter seems to improve the story more, or perhaps this is just because things started to make sense and some connections to the characters began to form. Once chapters 8 and 9 came along the story was finally what I expected the game to be. The story was intense and epic, and shocking but I guess the developers couldn't keep this up forever since starting with chapter 10 the story essentially hit rock bottom, and never really caught my interest again; It almost felt detached from the rest of the game.
When you combine all aspects of the game together, you get an enjoyable average gaming experience that hardcore Final Fantasy fans will love while the average fan may have rough time with, which is unfortunate for a main series entry.