I pre-ordered this game 9 months ago, i was that excited.
It really is a huge improvement , it's miles ahead of XIII and XIII-2.
XIII was alright, the second one was a huge improvement and now LR is a completely new game.
The combat is very nice, not lack lustre like the others before. The costume system is quite fun even if people look at and sigh at the thought of Light showing more skin than Yuna in X-2, keep in mind 90% off the outfits barely show any skin and aren't girly at all. They're a substitute to the party members that are no longer there.
Another advantage is that this game is *hard*. It actually offers a chalenging experience to the player unlike before. You can only carry a limited amount of potions/healing items and fleeing from battle will result in you being penalised.
The music is great, it has a theme and it isn't all over the place like 13-2.
Flaws: the religious theme can be quite in your face, but bear with it. It gets better.
Hope, who became one of my favourite characters in 13-2 has now gone back to being an annoying little kid. He treats Light like he is the always present parent. Very annoying.
You no longer level up by beating monsters, now you must do quests. It makes killing monsters a bit of a chore
The story is all over the place, you can go to new places but it will start that place's mainquest and it can be hard to keep track of what you're doing. But i think thats part of the HUGE freedom you have in the game.
Locations are beautiful, there are light hearted moments which make up for the depressing tone of the game and it's fun to play. Story is very interesting too. I definitely recommend it.