Well I've played for about two hours now. Started a fonewearl, played for an hour and a half. For reasons I'll get into shortly, started over as a... forgot the name, but the male human ranger.
Overall so far not very happy.
1) Great animated cutscenes, animated conversations.
2) Weapons now have special attacks triggered by holding down the attack button for a little variety
3) New weapon customization abilities, apparently, although I haven't been able to use them yet. More than just grinding +1
4) Some destructible environmental pieces (fences, so far) that yield materials
5) Different races have different beginning sequences, and it -seems- that the storylines will be different. As a newman, I crashed in some kind of invasion pod and was commanded to go and mix with the humans. As a human, I'm following my mentor to join the hunter's guild.
1) Techniques have been SEVERELY GIMPED. Foi, Barta, and Zan are now all identical in all forms with the only distinction being what element enemies are weak against. Horrible, simply horrible. The fun of being a force in PS games is each technique, AND each variant of the technique (basic, gi- and ra-) has a different area of effect, so casting can be highly challenging. Now it's just a single target or hold down the button for a "fan" for all spells. Horrible. Takes all the fun out of being a caster, which is why I switched to a ranger.
2) I couldn't kill the first boss as a force, even after burning through a fortune of healing items. It's the very first "mission" so it should not be so difficult - it's not like PSO where the first boss came after several missions.
3) Your AI companions have bad AI, even after fiddling with the various settings.
4) Gameplay graphics are pretty ugly. I wish, given the DS's limited capacity, they had gone with a simpler, cel-shaded kind of look.
5) For some reason, although you can use the touchscreen to access some functions (map and chatting), the rest of the functions, even though they are displayed visually as BUTTONS, cannot be tapped. Inexplicable why you would create something that looks like a button to be tapped but can't be tapped, when other things that look like buttons can be tapped.
6) Still. Six. Actions. How can this not have been updated since PSO came out almost 10 years ago? Could easily have had 8 by using X, or 9 by having 3 banks instead of 2.
7) Although the rolling evade is interesting, the camera and targeting systems are clunky so by the time you turn around and get the camera facing the enemy you just rolled past, they are attacking you again. You essentially have to roll twice to get enough space to recover.
What's everyone else think?