Lost Odyssey's a lot better than Blue Dragon. The voice acting is pretty convincing and Unreal Engine 3 makes the whole thing move in brilliant detail without stuttering. The enemies level up with you so some of the battles can be frustratingly long. But it's worth playing just for the beautifully written "1000 Years Of Dreams" short stories.
It's random turn-based battles and if there's an ATB gauge, it's hidden from the player. There's a queue of characters and enemies in the bottom left hand corner and you can cast spells etc which can speed them up or knock them back but it's nothing like as explicit as the rotating clock in Grandia here. Truth to tell you're so busy swapping enhancements rings in and out to exploit the enemy's weaknesses it'd be kinda tough to have to worry about being attacked in-menu.
There's a real meat to the game, though, unlike Final Fantasy XII or the Tales and Star Ocean games, but it's a traditional JRPG, not a strategic battler like Last Remnant seems to be. The plot and characters are at least twice as deep as FFXII if you go for that sort of thing. I think it's Sakaguchi's best work since before FFX, maybe equivalent to XIII's level.
NB Many reviews have complained about the long loading screens but installing the game to disk cuts these down by a factor of 65-75%.