I'm also considering switching to the review style I'm using on my other blog, but for now I'll stick to this.
Story/Characters: Both typical for this era. Characters have a minor backstory with a slight amount of development, but once that's done they hardly exist in the plot. Compared to the general quality of plots I've seen in all the games I've played so far this one is decent, but it's never going to stand with the greats of the genre.
World: The Madara world is basic fantasy; there are a bunch of different kingdoms and lands but for the most part there's not much difference between them.
Game Flow: Because of the lack of control over the system, there are a number of choke points where it's hard to advance without grinding. There are also a fair number of times when it's hard to know what you're supposed to do next -- usually you can just explore around and you'll find something to do, though.
System: The battle system is disappointing. You mostly just watch things happen, and you have less control over what happens than you would even have in the standard "mash attack" system. Magic costs too much MP so you can't use it very often, although at least everyone can attack effectively.
Side Quests/Optional Content: Evidently a lot of the characters and events are optional, but I don't know how much content this equals in total. It's often hard to tell if you're on a sidequest or a main quest
Interface: Overall we're fine by this point -- none of the common irritants I've complained about in the past are in this game. The one head-scratcher is the way they implemented magic. As I said, there's nothing inherently wrong with choosing a spell, then who casts it, then the target. But it's not like any other RPG and I never got used to it.
Graphics/Sound: As one commenter pointed out, the graphics are pretty washed out and hard to see. The character designs make everyone look like 1980s punk rockers.
I finished Lady Phantom today (for the other blog) so