It's been years waiting for a new story in the ever-expanding universe of Final Fantasy. SquareEnix has tried very very hard not to disappoint, and so far they are sending the series off from the PS2 platform deliciously. This edition continues to grow the established stories, delving into the world of Ivalice from Final Fantasy Tactics.
It's safe to say that better graphics and sound will not be found on the PS2 for the remainder of its lifecycle. On a widescreen, 720p television, you would almost not believe this console is mere Y2K technology.
While long-time players might balk at the new battle system, it has been refined since the early demos to flow quickly and offer a minimum of tedious button-pressing. Those that wish to micromanage can still do so in a Wait Battle system, with no autopilot. The AI, especially of the monsters, is the most organic I've seen in any offline RPG. Efficient control over the survival of your party takes planning and logic skills, a refreshing dalliance from mindless leveling up to boost stats.
This opinion is writ after only 5 solid hours of play, but so far there is no disappointment to be found. Not even in the voice-over cast. Well done SQEX.