Chocobo Tales is a far cry from it's FF Counterparts, but it's unique gameplay makes it a masterpiece of its own design.
I'll tell you right now -- Chocobo Tales does not center around it's plot, nor is it all about the cute little bed-time stories in the 'pop-up' books that you enter to complete the game. It's all about the Pop-Up Duels & Mini Games.
In my opinion, the game's plot line is a thinly veiled excuse to get you to collect Pop-up cards for online card battles, and to give you an obsessive-compulsive need to get the highest score on the mini-games (since you can turn around and post your score on the game's official website). Unlike the rest of the Final Fantasy series, it is not Chocobo Tales's story that makes it shine, it is in the game's unique battling system (pop-up duels & mini-game battles), and it's ability to use the pop-up cards you collect throughout, and after, the story to challenge online opponents to duels. Much like Tetris DS, where the biggest hype was in the ability to use WiFi to challenge your opponents, the Pop-up Duels are at their finest when they are online with a real-life opponent. Ultimately, Final Fantasy fans need to go into Chocobo Tales with an open mind, realizing that this game was geared towards younger, more care-free generations, and that it is a title where innovative game-play and fun take presedence over a captivating story line and extremely well-developed characters.