(I am reposting this from a reply to the First Impressions topic)
To begin this rant I have to say that I absolutely hate it that I don't want to play this game anymore.
I am a huge fan of the Tales series (this game is a Tales game in everything but name and combat) so I went into it with high hopes, and my first impressions were that I loved it, the presentation, the merit stamp sequence and the heart system are all really cool, but as I got deeper into the combat I realized I really didn't like it at all. One, I have never found a monster collecting system compelling other than in pokemon as I feel it just distracts from the characters of the story. Two, switching between familiars and characters and their commands is too clunky, the fact that it takes several steps (some of which don't pause the action) to get from using a familiar to use an item is just absurd to me. Three, a lot of the difficulty of the combat to me comes from the fact that MP is scarce (characters don't have a lot of it, doesn't regenerate and restorative items are ridiculously expensive for how much MP they restore) and I don't find that kind of challenge very fun at all. I may give this game another go (I'm maybe 2-3 hours ahead of Brad in the quick look), but I think I may just replay Tales of Vesperia or Tales of Grace F even though I will be really missing everything about this game.
As a demonstration of my love of the Tales series I will just say that Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube is my favorite game I have ever played.