i -hated- this game for the first 2 hours or so. literally all you do is spam the x button every battle. sure the game is pretty and the music is superb, but the mechanics just seemed so dead. i think they waited a little too long to ramp up the paradigm system, but i also can see how it would be overwhelming. maybe just having 2 sets from the second hour on, something to kill that x mashing that was the intro combat system.
now that i have all of these paradigms at my disposal however, WOW. Im not sure if i like it better than XII yet, but its refreshing. the one major flaw with combat is the one thing XII really nailed - battle transitions. It is so tired and dated to have the *wooosh* and loading before a battle. it breaks the flow of things, and imagining what the feel would be if they left everything the same, but just locked your characters, pulled up the hud, and went to battle mode (as opposed to the screen changes) really makes me wish they went that way with it.
but back to the game. i am loving the characters (not hope though) and the story. beautiful game with a very mood setting soundtrack. i hear there are no towns, and thats a bummer. hm what else. oh the leveling. im not seeing much in the way of options on how to build, unless you really focus into certain roles... but its hard to know which one you should go with? i only skilled up once so far in over 4 hours just because i have no clue what to do. equipment.. not much here yet as i just hit optimize and balanced.
im sure i have a lot to discover but for a game i would not have recommended to anyone 2 hrs in, 4 hours i have recommended it to a few people and apologized for warning them off. really fun. its keeping me from playing GoW3, its that good.