The reviews I read say the game is good. The character development is great. The battle system is fun, even if it is very standard by this point. It has its flaws, loading times for one. So, all in all, it's a good RPG. I guess that means everyone will think it sucks and not play it.
The reviews on 1up and Kotaku weren't glowing. Both of them mentioned that the story was the high point but the turn based combat, constant loading cutscenes, random encounters, and poor design all brought the game down. For me, any combat system that relies on timed button combinations to pull off moves isn't worth playing. That was the one aspect of Xenogears that I hated.
If anything, Final Fantasy XII taught us that Jesus loves us and that RPGs can have a crappy storyline if the gameplay is really, really good. But is the opposite still true - that a good storyline can make up for hackneyed push-button gameplay?
It is pretty damn good from my experience so far. I sat down to try it out after picking it up that day and ended up playing for 6 hours without realising it.
Sure the loading times and random battles (after having not played a game with them for so long) are a little annoying, but you get used to them and pretty much everything else in the game is great so far. It made me remember why I fell in love with turn based RPGs in the first place.
I can't say that gameplay, art direction, and graphics don't matter to me more when it comes to RPGs. Storylines are great and all but if I'm not having fun playing it and it doesn't have any visual appeal, I'm not going to stick around for 100+ hours.
It's easy to forget a crappy storyline if you have lots of fights and missions, but it's a lot more difficult to forgive shitty gameplay.
Your comment reminds me of Shadow Hearts: Covenant -- a well-rounded story populated with likable characters (save for the stale but totally hottt main character) and endearing situations, though a game plagued with dumb character designs, merely decent visuals, and a boring battle system. That the game took place during World War I was so awesome, though its downsides ultimately didn't make up for it in my opinion.
But that was so awesome!!!!!!! How many games have you searching the whole world for gay porn to feed the insatiable, lewd hunger of a pair of queer tailors so as to barter the porn for new costumes???
Shadow Hearts: Covenant is one of my favorite games. As for the battle system, Dean, did you have terrible timing or something? I will always applaud a battle system that does away with mashing on attack commands and keeps things interesting.
populated with likable characters [...] though a game plagued with dumb character designs