It's with bleary eyes and a yawn that I write this, so bear with me if this isn't the most concise of (reviews?) ;)
I've just finished my first playthrough on Normal and I can without a doubt praise the experience as one of the most entertaining games I've played in years.
As we all assumed it would be the writing was absolutely superb; fantastic little one-liners and 'gabeisms' throughout the story were just the beginning. I was pleasantly surprised to find the comedy running through in to combat as well, with hilarious classes, ability names and monster descriptions to keep you laughing all the way through. Classic PA.
The graphic style was absolutely spot on as well, and was delightful to watch in fullscreen and evoked a great feeling of nostalgia for the old days of pixel-graphics (and specifically for me, some good ol' FFVI!) Without heading in to spoiler territory the environments were constantly interesting and enjoyable, with areas throwing back to even earlier graphics and games at times to mix things up.
The gameplay held up well with each fight feeling fresh and different with a huge selection of enemies and special conditions. The MP system was strategic enough to keep me on my toes, along with having to keep a constant eye on the (ATB?) bar to plan ahead, tempered by the increasing power of monsters as the fight progresses resulted in a well-paced and superbly executed battle system. The range of classes and skills available is pretty big but not dauntingly so, allowing you to set up your characters in conventional roles or create a hybrid team for a more reactionary playstyle.
An honourable mention also has to go out to the soundtrack, which further immerses you into the 16-bit ambience and nostalgic, yet quirky, feel. (A soundtrack album would be amazing!)
I'm sure I could go on about this fantastic game for much longer, but I just wanted to quickly sum up my experience and hopefully find out what everyone else made of it!
(P.S As you can probably tell it's my first time posting so be gentle!