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...which was another critically acclaimed JRPG with "a mature story, interesting characters, fun gameplay." I played it for about 12 hours before dropping it. Couldn't stand the cliched characters: the extremely perky (and only) female, the tough tank friend with HUGE armor, the gentle/intelligent male mage, the "badass" protagonist.
The perky female does quick DPS. If there was a "gentle" female (aka Love Interest), she would have been the Healer. I'm guessing she would have appeared eventually, but I quit the game before then. These are 100% NOT characters I would consider "interesting."
My favorite JRPG storyline was Suikoden IV. It didn't have a "main bad guy". Everyone, including the villain, was trying to do their best for the land. The main character wasn't running around, able to do everything perfectly his first try. Every one of your party members had a logical reason for following him mindlessly, as JRPG party members do.
I strongly suspect I'd like Xenoblade Chronicles' gameplay. It's just the story that's keeping me from plunking down $50...eh, maybe I should give up on JRPGs altogether. I probably wouldn't even like Suikoden 4 if I tried playing it today!