^ While I don't argue that everyone has their views on the battle system, some love it, some rather stick with good ol' combo-n'-TP.
Graces only LOOKS like an "auto-combo" system because the moves are all fancy and flashy and tend to hit quite a few times to build up that combo meter. But looks are deceiving.
Every single arte (A & B) has 2-3 attributions (Asbel's Plasma Shock has [I think] the vs. Paralysis, vs. Slash, and vs. Beast attributes -- meaning it's good to use against an enemy who is weak to those, and some enemies can be weak against as many as six things). Enemies attack fast, come if big groups, and tend to hit really hard, so you want to make use of the weaknesses. Problem is, not many enemies would always "fit" straight chains (previous Tales games have you hold the Left Stick Up to attack aerial enemies or Down to get the crawling enemies). So you have to link A artes to cater to specific weaknesses (the enemy has a Reptile element it's weak to in one of your A-artes, a Burn elements from another, but sometimes the directions change, so you have to link an "up-arte" with a "left-arte" and finally finish it with another "left-arte"). You can then link the basic attack A-artes with the more "flashy/magical" B-artes (which is ideal for a character like Hubert who, if you don't chain, have to wait to charge his spells, but when they're chained, they happen almost automatically). It's not an auto-combo, it just looks fancy; YOU have to construct a combo that will deal the most damage.
(READ AGENT'S PARAGRAPH -- IT's BETTER)
Also, the CC meter becomes very, very lenient later on. Not only when you get titles/weapons that increase your CC, but when you hit criticals (some skills let you recover as much as the whole goddamn bar so you're free to keep on chaining attacks) and get better at evading. You will still run out, but it becomes easily replenished later to compensate for more chaotic fights and equipment that boosts the CC recovery time.
Also, combos for enemies are easy to break out of unless you've focused on accuracy, and enemies will critical the hell out of you unless you up your evasion (traits often deemed..."less important" previously). Most Tales games are somewhat easy (as in some tough battles, generally easy main battles, and a few "wtf-hard" bonus battles); but the added kicker for this one was you'd get less SP for titles if you were over-levelled (which becomes especially problematic later on; title mastering is much better than level gaining).
If it is dumbed down, then my ass is getting handed to me quite a lot in the bonus dungeon because I suck ass at dodging, and I'm hardly gaining SP and Experience by this point. It looks fancy, but I've had way more close calls in this title than any other Tales game.