I seem to have played this game before (just pop in different characters!) As I like this type of game, I did appreciate the new, sharp interface, and some of the music, but the characters overall rubbed me the wrong way [sorry!] Thats the only reason I gave a lower score.
When I began playing this game i was very skeptical about the combat, but i hung in there and found it to be very rewarding after I got the hang of it. I should point out that its a bit boring when you're still a child (in game), but a couple hours in your character grows up a bit and the combat really lifts off.
The story however...ugh. About 10 hours in I felt like the game still had little direction. In most rpgs you can kind of guess where you're going and what your goal is in all of it, but not this one. The only real story I got was that all these nations are at war and your character fights for one nation at this point and then 5 minutes later he's helping a different one and then 5 minutes later he's helping yet another.
And for the characters...I really just want to mention Sophie. What the heck is going on with those pigtails? Why do they have to be so long that they reach the ground? I want to meet the people who designed her just so i can ask what they were thinking, and potentially end up punching them in the face based on their answer.