It manages to feel both old-school and refreshingly new. Sure, the character archetypes are JRPG standards, but the world is immense and interesting. It's a game that's recognizably a JRPG, but blends in some real MMO influences. And speaking as someone who doesn't like MMOs, this is a great game.
I knew I was in store for a good game when i read the creators focused more on game play and other elements instead of graphics and movies. Xenoblade first and foremost is a role playing GAME versus the majority of crap square pushes out today that is a pretty cg movie you get to interact with occasionally. One of the best rpg's of this current generation, without a doubt.
This is what the last couple of Final Fantasy's should have been like.
Beautiful music, an interesting story, a balanced and complex battle system, and lots and lots of quests. I've played it for 30 hours now and I think I'm still only getting started in the main storyline. Yay!