Well sorry to double post folks but I needed to express something here...
I put a good 5-6 hours in on innocent sin today and feel truly in awe of plot in this game. (I just got past mt. iwa.... er... something or other... anyhow, just past the big reveal about main casts past without getting into any spoilers for those who have yet to play)
The story in this game reminds of something I had forgotten. And that "something" is the whole reason I played JRPGs in the first place! It had nothing to do with good gameplay and very little to do with things looking pretty (albeit both were lovely bonus). No... I played (and fell in love with JRPG's) for stories and casts like this!
It has been so long since I've played something with a tale of this caliber, stringing me through insanely long and tedious segments of gameplay, with genuine plot-point payoffs I'd forgotten just how satisfying that is. Now I'm not saying the gameplay is horrendous (although it is pretty freakin' dated) but what I'm getting at is with a story and cast like this it is a complete afterthought and almost lends to the reward factor of reaching further in the plot.
I can't say enough good about this game at this point. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is the best thing I missed in my youth.
Although I was a casual SMT fan before, this game has officially propelled me into SMT obsession.
I thank everyone here who, either, passively expressed their appreciation for this game or passionately announced on the boards how much they loved it. You have all contributed to edging me toward experiencing a game the way I remember gaming from when I was a kid... that is, an all consuming love affair with fiction and media that makes returning to real life all the more interesting and rosier (because you know at the end of the day you get to come home and play again!!)...