Open world can ruin a game, and linearity can ruin a game. It depends. Having every game be open world would suck. --- "I'd like to say I'll never forget him, or what he's doin'. What he's done. I surely would." - Bastion
If you can just go anywhere and do anything at any level, what's the motivation to improve your character? --- It's okay, I have no idea who I am either. http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a374/sage_assassin20/13295475117601.gif http://i.imgur.com/WOo6wcq.png
If I'm playing for the story (yes it's possible) linear makes it easier to get the story across. I've also found I get too distracted in an open world game, that tends to ruin things when I am trying to do something specific. Open world doesn't automatically make it better.
Oh, and I think people are forgetting just how linear older Final Fantasy games really were... That doesn't make the game "bad".
I really don't understand how anyone could not vote "depends."
Honestly, as a guy that's played both every single FF and DQ (and countless other jRPGs) AND every single TES and Bioware game (probably not something I should have done with their recent games...), I have to say that linearity can be very good if done well. It allows for a more structured story where you experience what the devs had envisioned when the made the game. It's like reading a great book or watching a classic movie. The same goes for open world stuff. It allows you to make your own fun. To live a second life almost.
Personally, I favor games that have several pre-determined routes. That way it feels like your actions and choices matter, but at the same time it's not just a mess with no structure.
The MegaTen and older Bioware games were pretty good examples of this. --- "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it." -Aristotle
All games have some form of linearity...I only really care about a game's linearity if the game is poorly designed or, boring. FFX is far more linear than other FF titles despite all of the others being just as linear in a narrative and progression sense but FFXIII which is also extremely linear, took out the other fun aspects of the FF games and thus suffered for it. --- I had a dream of my wife...She was dead but, it was OK...