sorry but to me the gameplay wasn't broken, the story wasn't poorly told and the party characters definitly weren't flat either. if you would compare cast and story to for example something like xenogears i'd understand your complaints but compared to ffx i can't, sorry. and when it comes to freedom: better 2 interesting options than 10 boring ones.
Sorry to interject here, I couldn't resist. Gameplay is broken. Ravager + Healer + Commando = Win on every normal enemy (Lower Level). Ravagerx2 + Commando = Win on every normal enemy (Higher levels). It got so bad with me button mashing X (Or A on the 360) that I literally started watching T.V. shows while fighting enemies because it became so monotonous and long. Story telling is horrible. Everything important is in the datalogs (Seriously they put the entire war of Transgression and the real motives for Bartandalus in there). The dialog in the game is horrible. The characters keep spouting the same non-sense throughout the entire game. Zazh is the only character that doesn't, but then again he and Vanille are the only characters with actual character development. Characters are your typical Japanese archtype anime characters and again; there's very little character development. FFX is very "open" compared to FFXIIII, at least one game lets you go back to almost any point; plus there's quite a fair amount of side quests in FFX(Compared with any FF game). Can't say the same for the FFXIII.