The best game I have ever played. The game really is captivating.
The game, whilst, not as beautiful as the opening scene, is beautiful. The backgrounds to most of the places you'll visit are simply breath taking. The characters have nice 3D models and flow rather fluidly in battle and the only time I took to laugh was when they run on the map, but many games make me do that. One failure I see consistently of reviewers is complaining that the game play is not as beautiful as the cut-scene at the beginning, but I would like to remind everyone that it is still a Gamecube game...
The music is another aspect of the game that is incredible. The music really sets the mood for many of the places, scenes, and characters that you'll meet throughout the game. The music is simply beautiful, especially to those who really enjoy instrumental music. I even own a copy of the soundtrack.
The voice acting, in my opinion, is great. Many don't enjoy it and find it to be flat, but I don't. I think the voice acting adds the needed sense of normalcy to the games. I really believe it helps us to see that the characters in the game are still human. Each character has a voice actor that really suits their personality, especially Gibari and Savyna.
The combat system has a lot of mixed emotions for me. The first time I played the game I didn't pay much attention and even missed the fact that you could heal yourself in battle. Once I grasped the combat system I did much better. The combat system is totally about getting combos with the "spirit numbers" on the cards. If you get the numbers 1-9 in a row or 9-1 you get massive bonuses to your attacks that could easily end up tripling your attack strength.
The story is the real hook, line and sinker for me. The plot is SO incredible. If you're a literary person you will love this. The story is totally engrossing, more than any tales game or any other game I've ever played. There are plot twists in the game that will drive you batty! Several times my jaw simply dropped because of the twist in the plot. It's really an inspiring story with so many sub-levels. It's really so good it could have simply been a book and would have been amazing.
Overall, I love this game through and through. It's the best game I've ever played and all RPGs should look to it as a pinnacle and something to aspire to.