A real RPG treat for those who owns a GBA.
First off, the story has a good mixture of humor and seriousness. The game itself is dark and moody but with an antagonist who looks and acts like a clown(think about the Joker in Batman). To top it off, there are 13 playable characters with each having his/her own story and skills.
And speaking of skills, each character has a job or a profession(whatever you may call it). And I'm glad that each of them is really useful to some extent(ugghhh...FF4..cough...cough...). And then there's the "relic" system. It's pretty much like your basic equipment but it can modify your char's stats or even change his moves/commands during battle. And you can equip 2 of these.
And in every FF game, there is always magic. This time around, you are able to equip espers or summons for each characters. Some are made available as the story progresses, while some you have to fight against them making it sort of as a side-quest. Each espers has its own set of spells(fire,cure,etc.) that your characters can learn. I won't have to elaborate on how this works, just play and see for yourself. And they are generally useful.
So you have a lot of characters but as any FFA games out there, you'd only get to form a party of 4 BUT in some scenarios you can form three party in a dungeon/place. You can switch parties at will. These makes the gameplay more immersive. The downside is that if your the type of person who sticks only to your favorite characters, you'd be having a hard time in the game later on as only those in your party can gain EXP. You won't have to work hard to level them all up but you will have to use most of them.
Battles are still done in FF style. The "action gauge" type much similar to FF4 and 7. Monsters are easy and not that hard, although some of them have skills/moves that will seldomly caught you off-guard. Boss are a little bit challenging.
There is a good replay value in this game. The music in itself is somewhat lacking in my opinion...FF5 FTW ^^).
The downside of this game is maybe its graphics. The graphics are good and a little bit sharper and define but sometimes it will confuse you. There would be paths you don't know that existed because of it. If you get to ride in a chocobo or an airship, it's all good and you would appreciate this nice little add-on but the view would make your eyes sore.