But wouldn't it be safe to say that most any RPG has repetitive combat? After even 20 hours of Final Fantasy, Persona, or whatever, you've more or less been playing the same battles a zillion times. Makes me wonder, what is that X factor that makes the same combat feel repetitive in one game but not so in another where you don't mind it?
That's a really good point actually. Hadn't thought about it.
Let me think... In the examples you gave, "Persona" and "Final Fantasy" I would say it is the new skills you learn or the new party members you get. It gives you more options and allows you to approach similar battles in entirely different ways, if you so desire. Even after you have your full party you're still going to be learning new skills and/or gaining new abilities.
In Resonance of Fate (as far as I've played anyway), you start the game with near your full potential. Sure, you will obtain new weapons and you can upgrade them to make them slightly different. But the strategy remains much the same each battle, you just get stronger.
Each battle I still have Zephyr with a MG and Leanne and Vashyron with HGs. I start off with Zephyr and run him between the other two at an angle taking shots at enemy (possibly with a jump). I then take Vashyron and do the same thing at a different angle to set up a triangle. I then start a Tri-Attack using Leanne and shoot as much as I can. If the battle isn't over then I do it again. The only time this changes is in boss battles, in dungeons where the terrain isn't predominantly flat or if I need suddenly need a hand grenade or some healing.
If this was Persona 3, for example, I'd be constantly having to change tactics in battle to suit whatever my enemy's current weakness is. If I'm really having trouble I might even have to swap my party around or fuse some new Personas with different abilities.
I think the other thing about RoF is that, because it can be so hard, I tend to stick to the same strategy because I know it works. I don't want to keep getting frustrated when I feel ripped off and then throwing my money at retrying.