One question that will make or break this game for me. When can you save? I want a portable game, one that I can play for ten minutes on the bus. Can I save at any time (outside of battles at least), or can I only save at certain locations, or have to activate some sort of save station?
There is a trader dressed in red at every village/rest point and just before every boss where you can get supplies and save. Aside from that, you can save anywhere on the world screen, and I often recommend I saving often for beginners. It can be used as a reset point if your party loses too much health or is nearly wiped out. In new areas, this can be quite welcome.
On a personal note, This game is very good and the replay value is exceptional but that being said I will not want to replay all the sub quests upon NG+, personally I believe it will ruin the game for me and if I stick to the main route on NG+ I will probably play through 2 or 3 times. Time will tell but with that said I have almost finished my game aiming to do everything and I have, grinding for money is abit... annoying* but you can set an auto attack pattern and +100 per cent encounter rate and just do something else while periodically taking a few steps in game and leaving your ds3d to it so to speak.
*I normally watch a film and by the time I am done my 'PG' is bursting.
No one else has so I'll explain chapters 5-8 and try to give this topic light again. Starting on chapter 5 you will have to awaken the crystals. Again. This repeats UNTIL CHAPTER 8 IS OVER AND YOU HAVE PROGGRESED INTO 'ENDGAME(chapter 9, in other words)'. Again, this is the only time you getfull freedom. Each time you go into the holly pilar you'll wake up in the until you'll MAJOR SPOILER MAJER SPOILER
chapter 8 where you'll fight AIRY!!! This is only the true ending and theirs more after it. You also fight Alternis dim in chapter 5 and 6. Okay, on to th- Oh wait, I forgot to mention the false ending. This only occurs if you break a crystal. I haven't dine it so I can't tell you anything about it.
Saving. It depends on where you spend your time most, but before bosses, on the world map and sometimes the story you can save. Don't worry if you in a dungeon and you can't save. If you go from one area to another anywhere unless it's off it'll autosave so don't worry about it. Grindibgs fast if you have the right stuff, but otherwise slow. There are chests and locked chests that have some of the best stuff in the game that you get the key for at chapter 6. Better stuff in the bonus dungeon thought. No complicated stuff but stuff like flowers that silence you, traps that blind you and geysers that hurt you. You can avoid this by leveling up one of the jobs and equipping ability dungeon master. Proggresion is fun chapters 1-4 and boring 5-8. Excpect to grind for the final boss(es) Magic, (surprisingly powerful) punches and weapons like katanas staffs and axes. The game is overall a 85% good vs 15% bad.