Well it's certainly playable, but "very solid" seems like it's pushing it to me. The characters lack any depth and the combat is a huge step back. It tries to be a more ARPG-esque battle system but what it boils down to in practice is just button mashing. Then there's all the completely unnecessary fanservice they shoved in the game. Yes, AT was always heavy in the innuendo, but having characters literally strip off their clothes in the middle of battle can't be called innuendo anymore. And since the revytails are so shallow to begin with this time around that's really the only thing you remember them for.
While still not great, the difficulty and hard option are much better than the difficulty of the first 2 games which end up as complete snore fest (even if you keep your starter equipment, I did that on both and it was still piss easy).
The 3d models are pretty well done considering the shift from 2d to 3d and ended up the best 3d in a Gust game to date (back then).
The music was still divine and the way you could equip 'song parts' in combat was a pretty neat addition (how come nobody ever mentions this one?).
The little unclothing animation was COMPLETELY avoidable
in combat; it ONLY
happens if you shake the controller when the graph is on a peak. Seeing there are way more 'not peaks' than 'peaks', if this thing offends you, it is trivially easy to skip (it is shown a handful of times in the story though, no skipping those). You don't get any special bonus for doing it on a peak either, so no loss at all.
The METHOD_HYMMELI cutscene just before the last dungeon is damn awesome.
I won't defend against your other points though as you are completely right. I'm just saying this game as some good points too.
I still think the biggest difference is you all went in expecting something better than 2 while me and CluelessWonder went in expecting Superman 64.