Well worth the patience
First of all let's get the bad out of the way. Graphics are not up to par compared to modern rpgs, there is a tendency for the framerate to slow down, controls take a little getting used to, and there are bugs (which can usually be fixed by reloading). Also, the beginning can put off many people for how difficult and slow it may be, but that is how this game is built (you start out as a wimp and later turn god-like).
The game picks up right before the middle of the game (around the battle tower), which can be anywhere from 20-30 hours of playtime (this game is HUGE, you can easily expand that time). That first 20-30 hours can be tough at times, which makes sense because this game is not for casual rpgers. You will die and at parts you may feel you are being pushed to grind, but the game adds a decent amount of quests and side missions to ease the grind. But after the game reaches the...well I'll say 1/3 point, is when it starts to shine.
The story becomes more intense as you are racing to cure the land of evil. The addition of dragon powers add a new dimension to gameplay. and the battletower...well if you play this you will feel the sigh of relief and joy from it. The music is well done and conveys the appropriate mood for each area. Loot...this is a loot lovers dream, loot is randomly generated, even in most mission rewards. I have caught myself reloading a couple time to see if I can get something that is even better.
There is a pet system where you can build and advance your pet through collecting parts around the world. As for character advancement...you are not limited to any certain class, you can train across all disciplines to fully customize with your playstyle.
In the end, this game is a great role-playing game that does not hold your hand. Casual rpgers may not like this one, but for any core rpg lover this game is a fun ride that will satisfy.