Wow, great RPG, and a great way to kill spare time!
Each character has a different set of skills to learn, and each skill has seven levels. The seventh level is called Master, and allows you to use all levels of the skill. The types of skills vary from attacks (like swords, daggers, axes, and multiple magic spells) to defensive manuevers (counterattacks, defense/resistance increases) to special skills (critical hit chance increase, anti-flying attacks, self healing over time). The variety of concepts that the game introduces is large, and each playable character is very different from the next. Larger characters, such as the Dragonute, run slower than light characters like the Archer and the Ninja. Each time your character levels up, you obtain one skill point and 4 attribute points. The attribute points go towards raising health, special, hit/miss ratio, and attack damage. The skill points go towards leveling up your characters skills.
When you defeat monsters, they will sometimes drop items. Each character has certain items and weapons that he/she can equip, and generally the monsters will only drop items according to the character, but the items that don't match can always be sold for gold back at the castle (sort of like your home base). Materials like scales and dark matter can be found from monsters or chests, and then forged into armor. There are many sets of armor, weapons, and tons of items to obtain. Certain items can also be forged at the Temple of Light (I think that's its name) to create better items. Monsters may drop what is called a monster card. These cards can be collected on each save file, and you can trade them with your friends. There is a different card for each monster, and they describe and list the stats of each monster. Collect them all to earn a special prize...
Finally, let's not forget about Soul powers. These can be aquired through side quests, in certain locations, or from the Arena. These are powers that accumulate in a meter at the top of the screen, and when the bar is full, pressing the select button will cast the Soul power. Depending on what Soul you have equipped and what level it is, it will do damage to all of the enemies on your screen, and it usually will do massive amounts of damage. I prefer to save it for bosses or tight situations, but that's just me.
I strongly recommend this game to any RPG lover/fan, and I think that you will find a lot of gameplay time included with this game. And when you beat the game with one character, you can always start a new one...but don't delete that character, cause now you can enter advanced mode. The storyline is the same, and it appears that you start over, but you still have you skills and items, and now all of the monsters have become stronger, making it much more fun to level up your character!!!