A perfectly fun game ruined by a very unlikeable main character, and his unrealistic ideals.
The battle system has not really been changed, with a few tweaks here and there, but any veterans of the series would recognize it right away. Instead of always having the default hex shape, now the battle field can be in different shapes during boss battles. Also, you eventually gain control of 6 party members, only 3 of them fighting at a time. Even characters who did not fight, as long as they are in the party, they will gain the same amount of experience as the ones who did. It's kind of weird, but it works well, as all the characters will be forced into one-on-one battles at some point.
Gameplay in general is very easy. Characters level up insanely fast, and reaching the maximum of 100 does not take as long as you would think. Other than the occasional boss or two, battles are not very hard, and even if you lose, there is always the option to start over again from the beginning of the battle. So really, there is no danger of losing your game progress, assuming you can win eventually.
Dungeons are very puzzle-heavy, but they are not exactly hard to solve. They pretty much all involve shooting different kinds of bullets to change your environment. For example, shooting ice beams to freeze water, or using a powerful bullet to push blocks are just some of the things you can do. However, in the later half of the game, there are quite a bit of riddles, and some of wording can be very ambiguous. For a few I couldn't solve without consulting a guide.
One thing about this game that I like is the abundance of side-quests. Even right at the beginning, you can start to collect items and grant people's requests. And if you do so, you'll level up quickly in the process, and the game is a breeze.
Even though this game is quite fun, I can't wholly recommend it because the main character, Dean, is extremely unlikable. He is your typical thick-skulled insensitive boy who wouldn't change his mind no matter what once it's made up. Also, he just refuses stop butting into other people's business. His favorite phrase is "you can do anything as long as you don't give up!" It's nice in theory, but it just doesn't feel like it fits well in the game. Every time he speaks, I mainly just shake my head and ignore whatever that comes out of his mouth.
My bet is that Wild Arms 5 was intended for a younger audience. Indeed, the battles are relatively easy, and the characters have a kiddy feel to them. Whatever the case, it's a very fun game that can easily take over 60 hours to play.