I can't say much about the story or characters, cause I don't understand Japanese, but the gameplay's pretty solid. The combat is fun, especially if you were a fan of Graces' battle system. The fusion mechanic is really neat, even though it hinders multiplayer funtionality (though I don't think that's much of a loss, personally). The overworld is a huuuuuge step up from Graces' hallway overworld and Xillia's "let's take the same map and palette swap it for every region" overworld. The overworld's kinda empty, but I still consider it a huge improvement. Also I really liked how they made exploration more interactive again with map actions and stuff like that. There are actual puzzles again! Lastly, the soundtrack is phenomenal. Both Shiina and Sakuraba are in peak form, imo.