I tried this game before but I got permanently stuck in one of the story-dungeons when I was under-levelled for a temporarily 1 on 1 boss fight. I recently started a new game, with saves on the world map (turns out I didn't need them), this time completing the game. It's one of my favourite RPGs I've played. It has:
- A levelling system that allows customisation within certain limits
- Combat which has strategic movement that is more than old-school turn-based RPGs but less than free-roaming RPGs
- Putting time into levelling doesn't simply increase your level but isn't too complex to the point of multiple branching skill trees
Some of my most fondly remembered titles of the genre include Persona 4, Dragon Age: Origins and The Legend of Dragoon. All three have their positives and negatives but I can always say that while I enjoyed the gameplay in these, story progression and character development always held my interest more. FFT is the only one which is the opposite. Gearing up characters in certain ways, grinding out job points to buy useful passive skills, doing the math to see whether my dragoon's jump will land on top of an enemy in time etc.
Towards the end I found my class-specific created characters dropping out of my squad for the various storyline characters with their many Holy/Divine/Fell/Templar Knight Job Skills, but all that meant was that I had new characters to grind out Move +2, Critical: Restore HP, Treasure Hunter, Equip Heavy Armour or Counter for, which the aforementioned created characters would be very useful for. When four Monks go out into a battle with a White/Time Mage, equipped with Job Points Boost, you can be guaranteed that you'll be coming away with plenty of JP at the end.
I would be more than happy to play a FFT game on current and/or next generation consoles and I have the perfect PS3 game to be used as a base, Valkyria Chronicles. The real time/turn-based hybrid style of Valkyria Chronicles, combined with what makes FFT one of my favourite RPGs could make for a game that I'd take over some of the recent Final Fantasy games any day.