The reviews for this game that I saw touted it as a moderately fun, but archaic JRPG. I did'nt expect anything special when I picked it up. I'm glad to say I was surprised.
First off, this is a turn-based RPG in the style of the early Final Fantasies. Combat is purely turn-based, there are the familiar lists of spells and abilites. There are a few notable differences, namely the immortals and the ring system.
You have 4 characters in your party who are 'immortal'- if they are KO'd, they will autorevive after a few turns. These immortals cannot, however, learn abilites on their own. They must 'link' the skill with a mortal character who already knows it and battle to earn a certain amount of PP. Therefore a strategic element in party formation is added, made all the more important by the fact that you cannot switch characters in and out during battle.
There are also equippable rings in the game which, when equipped, add special effects to your attacks. There is, however, a catch. You must hold down the right trigger and let go precisely when the two rings overlap. This helps keep even random encounters interesting, and prevents the game from turning into an attack-spamming fest.
Otherwise, gameplay is not notably revolutionary. The difficulty is well done- random encounters are fairly easy if you stay alert, but bosses are surprisingly, but not insanely, difficult. Mercifully, this game requires next to no grinding, provided you play cleverly.
The story is average-ish. You are an immortal by the name of Kaim Argonar, who is a mercenary for the Uhran army. You have no idea as to where you have come from, or why you cannot be killed. The game takes place to a disappointingly cliched setting- 30 years ago, magic energy suddenly and inexplicably flourished in the world, causing nations to build huge machines and progress in leaps and bounds.
The antagonist, in particular, is a fairly disappointing 'Hahaha I'm going to take over the world' type.
While the plot is mediocre, character development is fucking phenomenal. Kaim's reluctant recollections of memory are brilliant, and even the most mediocre characters(Cooke and Mack) are deeply changed by the end of the game.
Memories unlocked from Kaim's past are presented in the form of short stories accompanied by music and backgrounds, and this is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in any videogame to date.
As far as music goes, I have two words for you- Nobuo Uematsu. That's right, the same man who was famous for the Final Fantasy soundtracks has lent his skill to Mistwalker for this game, and the result is predictably awesome.
The VA is reasonably good overall, ranging from brilliant(Kaim, Seth), to substandard(Ming, Cooke, Mack).
Overall, if you loved the older Final Fantasies, have some money to kill on an old-school turn-based jRPG, and are in need of a great storyline, this game is for you.