Eugh I hate the Romancing SaGa games because the lack of save points would usually mean that if I took one wrong turn I'd get my ass into a Game Over screen.
But I respect it
In my on-going nit-pick with Eternal Sonata, I fight with it because I know it can take the hits.
I checked out Gamefaqs for good options on what the "best party" is (because with my limited time, I hate levelling shitty characters); but i love how hard that is to find in this game -- many of the characters are beneficial in their own ways that it's really hard to settle on a "best" set. Retto is all-around great, Fred can stack echos and heal, Polka can heal and use good magic, Viola is the mid-game Queen, Jazz is a tank, Falsetto can stack echos, the twins have good status-effecting magic, etc.
Also, the amount of side content is pretty big, but easily missed (meeting Dolce that 3rd time is *really* random).
Also-also, that church/cave dungeon was like...the sexiest place I've ever seen. Diamonds are a girls best friend...these were in a game, but still!