Awesome graphics, cleverly scripted storyline which makes MGS4 look even shorter with cutscenes included and a cleverly designed battle system.
One Issue though... Extremely linear! This game is composed of 13 chapters and the first 11 feel like you are playing the whole section of Midgar in FFVII. There is only one major area to explore (Gran Pulse) with is an oversized area like the Calm Lands of FFX and thats where the majority of the missions take place (thats if youre a completionist) but the 99% of the maps are just a straight line running from A to B.
The Crystalium leveling system is alot more basic than you may think its designed like a Talent Point System from WoW and by the time you find areas where you can powerlevel. But Square have decided to penalise people for that since you can only increase attributes to a level Cap and it will not increase till you defeat the chapter boss. This is a clever approach which makes every boss battle challenging and you actually need strategy to beat them (no more insane ULTIMA Weapons or Celestial Blitzballs to 1 hit overkill your enemy).
From my experience from completing the JP version which I own. There is no exclusive EU superbosses either (with the exception to a special Adamantoise) The game is story driven and beats the purpose of exploration. But I think making a game at this calibur for the PS3 and 360 would probably take 10+ years to develop.
To evaluate this. Think of this game as a MGS4 version of the RPGS.
To those who are Persona and other Hardcore JRPG fans you will feel dissappointed with your purchace.
But we still have FFXIII Versus (PS3 Excl.) and FFXIII Agito for the PSP to come out.
I dont see how they are anywhere near related to original however.