I too am worried from what I heard on the 8-4 podcast. Honestly, the entire sticker system sounds flawed from what I've heard about it. Having every basic action be governed by consumable stickers and removing XP and leveling just seems bizarre. I will submit that I still don't completely know how the system works and will probably end up buying it but it still sounds worrying.
Also, I am totally in agreement about the party members. It really seems like a terrible decision to cut party members from the game. Perhaps it might make sense gameplay wise with how the stickers work but it still seems to be a sad omission.
As a sidenote, I never played Super Paper Mario but those characters looks horrible in design. They look like scrawled children's art rather than the finely designed characters that just happened to be 2D paper people from the first 2 games. Was the entire deisgn aesthetic like that?
I play games on a laptop with specs in a similar range to yours. What I've figured is that it all comes down to how well optimized the game is for lower end graphics. I'm also on an ATI video card but I've found in general most games tend to run better on Nvidia's of similar specs.
@I_Stay_PuftSamurai Champloo: Sidetracked was actually a pretty good game, though it definitely helped that I already liked the characters. But even for the unfamiliar, it had good combat that was dripping with style and was just dumb fun.