I beat the game yesterday - today's morning actually - and I have to say it was a rewarding experience.
First of all, let me say I am relieved. I was stuck in the last dungeon, without my strongest characters and few healing items; I got my ass kicked about 3 times and the last boss still had about 5.000 HP. I thought I wouldn't be able to beat the game, but then I kept wandering through the dungeon, and every 15/20 minutes I found a respawned enemy. In the end I was able to level up about twice, considering the enemies there give you a lot of exp. Then I could beat the boss, with only Jack alive and all my healing items wasted. Close call.
Anyway, the battle is mostly button smashing - considering you have some healing items to back you up - but still I had fun with it. Still, not the best Tri-Ace job.
The graphics are good and match the game. The songs do match the game, but they are not my cup of tea.
I was expecting a really mediocre and very cliché storyline, from all I had read about the game, but I do think people were too rash in their opinions.
First of all, the plot has some clichés, but considerably less than other games, specially when you have in mind all the different stuff the game provides.
I chose the human path, and the first good surprise was how they portrayed humanity and their antagonists. Without giving too much in and spoling the game, let me say I enjoyed the fact my side was not meant to be the devil incarnate - like it is so common to see, humans = bad to put it simple. Non humans were vile and vicious in their hate toward humans - elves specially - and most often than not, humans were just trying to stay alive. Sure I saw the "humans are greedy and vile creatures who destroy everything" type of reasoning, but that was more the perspective of the non humans than something the developers were trying to encompass in the game.
Furthermore, I thought Lucian a very fine NPC. He was meant to be the tool of destruction of humanity, it was his fate as some sort of "God", but out of his own will he betrays everyone and the natural order itself to give a chance to humans to further develop their civilization, because even considering all the misgivings, he thought the merits should also be taken into consideration. Anyway, what I mean is that I thought this one was original and well done.
Of course there were the shortcomings as well. I can barely stand anymore characters saying "It is my destiny" to explain
their choices - who played know what I mean, two NPCs specifically. Even if in this game that short of answer makes a bit of sense, it is still a frustrating and mediocre way of conducting things.
Also, the whole last boss dialogue and it's conclusion afterwards is pretty ridiculous. I mean Jack's reaction and replies to
. When you take into consideration all I have said in the paragraph spoiler marked, it's painfull to watch all that self righteousness in Jack; it's awkward. It spoiled the experience for me, but I am used to it in JRPGs.
I also have to second the people complaining about the ending. It was the shortest crap I have ever seen.
Other few complaints, like some plot holes, unexplained events, few story scenes - this game took me almost 40 hours, but there were very few story sequences proportionally.
Anyway, the story does have it's misgivings and a fair share of discrepancy, but it was overall a fine and original experience to me.