All the good parts of past JRPG's shoved into one game.
Luckily for those of us who enjoy these games, Falcolm and XSEED have put together an enormous labor of love that combines all the best aspects of previous JRPGs into one convenient package with 50+ whopping hours of gameplay.
The battle system is quite fun and it's easy to see where it dirives from if you pay attention. It combines the customization of FF 7's materia system, with the srpg-like battle fields of games like Grandia. If you're more interested on details read the Gamespot review, they did a good job of describing it. But know that it's quite rewarding to use your wide area spells and crafts to take down numerous enemies in one fell swoop.
It's also a plus that there are no random generated battles. All enemies are clearly seen on the screen and it's relatively simple to dodge most unwanted encounters (though they do sneak up on you sometimes).
The game seems to cater to player's convenience. There is a bracers notebook which catalogs everything that happens in the story so that you'll know exactly where you need to go at almost all times. At any time when you're not in a dungeon, you can press the square button which popups labels that show the location of each exit to your current position on the map (Not sure if I'm describing that well... It's a useful feature though).
Great care has been taken to make Liberal seem like a real place. Throughout the game you'll be able to find books and newspapers that detail the history of the country, and if you're so inclined you can even read fictional stories. The level of care taken here is clearly evident and you can tell the writers put a lot of thought into each detail.
Speaking of care and detail, the localization effort for this is nothing short of fantastic. I found myself frequently wondering how much of the charming dialogue and funny contemporary phrases were a product of the original Japanese script or a result of XSEEDs dedication to bringing us the best game possible. (note: Talk to the empty treasure chests. just do it)
This is one of the best RPGs I've played in years. The characters were easy to emphasize with. The plot stayed well clear of melodrama. And the battles were fun and challenging for the most part. Not once did I find myself wishing for voice acting or better graphics. Those things might have been nice (if handled well) but they simply weren't needed. I highly recommend this for any RPG fan.