The characters are actually fairly likable in all compared to Tales of the Abyss' cast, who felt they they were just together out of duty more than friendship or anything. Still have to beat Tales of Vesperia though before I can really talk about that I guess. Have to say though Yuri is a much more interesting protagonist than Luke, that I can instantly tell.
The voice acting is pretty good when it's there, sometimes in what one would believe are important scenes it isn't voiced. In one cutscene the voice acting didn't kick in until halfway though it and it was actually an important scene lol.
The combat changes to Tales of Vesperia are welcome since the field of fonnon thing from Tales of the Abyss was a horrible idea or clumsily put together. Rarely could you get different spells and such with it (unless you use Guy and spam dragon tempest).
Instead of anything silly like that they added a way to finish off enemies quickly by using artes of the correct type to lower a gauge of certain enemy types enabling a finisher you can use to get more exp gald or items at the end of battle. It's rather fun to exploit an enemies weakness then instantly kill it, or in the case of bosses deal some damage.
Also most enemies attack in all directions making the free run less overpowered compared to tales of the abyss' in that game you could pretty much avoid all attacks with it easily. Since it is kind of useless I rarely use it, but it does help in some cases such as avoiding ranged attacks or magic or moving to a different enemy easily.
Kind of sad they didn't put unison attacks in really liked those in Tales of Symphonia, and the burst artes and new overlimits kind of suck so far, you now get staggered if hit in overlimits and if you get hit while trying to preform a burst arte it will cancel it, or at least it did with Yuri.
Overall it's been a fun jrpg, though I am sure they have made better tales of games since and if not then what the heck. Would buy a ps3 for graces and xillia but no money lol, story of my life.
This has been random person on the internet rambling about a japanese rpg that is several years old.