But to be quite honest, fan expectations had hyped it to the point that it would probably never live up to our expectations. The core combat is relatively unchanged, although each weapon has multiple unleashes and takes time to master (whether or not this is a nice touch or simply obnoxious is total YMMV), heals are GREATLY boosted (the player gets their first party heal only a few hours in the game, and it isn't obsoleted until mid-way through) and aside from that, the system is more or less the same.
As for the characters; well they're a bit of a hit or a miss. Almost all of them are blatant expies of other characters, and the only three who aren't are Eoleo (who has virtually no plot), Sveta (who's almost Mary Sue
like), and Himi (who is basically there for the very last portion of the game and gets LITERALLY no plot). Combat wise, it's very annoying somewhat to only have stat expies of the previous heroes. To their credit, they got rid of the out and out clones, but the new characters, Sveta and Himi, are respectively, a Game Breaker and useless. Of the four first party members, most people will end up replacing all of them save Matthew, who follows in his fathers footsteps as being a general ass-kicker (note all of this assumes you don't fiddle with classes, in which case it's all out the window)
The plot is grating for the first half, and excuse worthy at best for the second half. The player only visits a few old towns and largely explores what was a completely empty stretch of land in the first game which has suddenly sprouted towns. Many old characters are mentioned, but never appear, and Isaac and Garet are completely ignored after the first hour.
The lock outs are probably the most infuriating part of gameplay; there's no way to find out they're going to happen without spoilers either. Djinn are still randomly hiding on the overworld as well, which means you better explore every corner or lose them forever.
The music and the graphics are absolutely stunning though, and it remains a generally fun game. However, it fails to live up to the previous titles charm and by the end, many players are just glad to see the end of it. On the other hand, it is blatantly setting up for a series, and this first title is likely then somewhat of a reboot. Let's hope the future titles manage to capture the charm of the previous games.