The controls are similar to FF3. FF4 of course uses the Active Time Battle which is different from FF1-3, it was the standard battle system for FF4 till FF9, where the monsters will NOT wait for you to select the commands. I am playing this at the fastest speed and don't have a problem with the controls.
Story-wise, this game puts FF1-3 to shame. I'd say this is one of my top 10 JRPGs of all time (and I played 100s of them).