a bit more longwinded: its the sort of RPG with a passable and simple battle system and good mechanics. A much large bulk of the budget (compared to games of similar genre) is put into scenario and character development and visuals. While theres no aweinspiring graphics, the visuals from the sprites to portraits to emoticons are very well done. Story and characterilization is superb and the world view is brilliant. Its the sort of RPG that u'd read as a book, and the battles u encounter either enrich that (via boss battles) or is just a bonus. Dont expect a super awesome system, although the system they do use is similar to the materia system of FF7 and does allow for some strategic depth. There is also somethin akin to the limitbreak system, but all in all the battle system is not the game's forte, the story is.
tl:dr - if u like a good story then its the perfect match. If u cbf reading too much and usually skip dialogues just to get to the hack n slash with millions of skills to upgrade and levels to grind, i'd try something else, like god of sparta.
fanboy answer: zomg awesomesauce cant wait i have 3 copies of it already and now i'll b getting my 4th in english FFFFFFFFFFF *frothing + twitching on the ground
Graphics and cinematics don't bother me too much ATM the current rpgs im playing through are Arc the Lad II and legend of dragoon (again) both for the PS1, though from the images this looks like YsVi and Felghana which were both nice looking games.
one thing i wondered is that being the first chapter is it still lengthy or is it a short rpg, and are there a good amount of locations that you visit (IE towns and dungeons)
i'd say 15-20hr would b a fair run (not rushing too much, not trying to find all secrets, not re-enacting all scenes by player etc) of the game. Game has 5 chapters (plus a prologue or with a prologue, cant remember). Each chapter will have a few different location to visit (towns/NPC areas, and enemy areas aka dungeons), usually around 2-3 of each. That of course is quite dependent as some dungeons are huge with no maps and some smallwith maps.
script-wise it already has a script larger than most RPGs on the market. someone else might have the string count to compare it with another more well known RPG. I'd say theres certainly more script in this game (i.e. scenes, not minigames or random ppl to talk to) than say FF7.
It sounds good... also the fact its part of something bigger (IE SC and 3rd) would make the game feel more "epic" kind of like the original golden sun, the game itself wasn't that long but because it was part of a two game story it felt like the start of something big.