I was a little reluctant in buying this game as i really didnt know a lot about it as i have never played any of the series prior to this.
The first 2 1/2 possibly 3 hours to this game are very slow. It basically introduces you to the fairly complex story and what you have to do in the game. After that you really are left to your own devices, you can build relations with your allies in town, explore the dungeon or build up some of your none combat stats (such as going to school to build intelligence)
the battles are pretty basic in their format by using just the simple turn based system as used in many RPG games. one thing you will notice is that there some of the battles offer a good level of challenge (im on normal difficulty and lost the party a few times)
The basic plot is you have to uncover the mystery of why people are dying in the small town of Inaba, but you only have a limited amount of time to get to the truth, theres no way you can do it all in a single play through, there are multiple endings to this game and you could easily spend 100hours in getting 2 of the endings!
The characters are typical japanese Anime style types but are all likeable and i was really laughing my head off in certain parts of the game! only downside is the annoying music throughout... other than that a brilliant title to grace the ps2 i was certainly suprised by it! definatly worth a try!