These pictures are not in chronological order; in fact, one of the pics is from Disc 1! It accidentally got in there....anyway, this is just to show the expanse/breadth of the game. Yahoosoda's impressions follow:
I just got to Disk 4 of the game and I'm surprised that Disk 4 doesn't entail running to the last boss right away. I'm currently at 36 hours at Disk 4 with my characters having an average level of 36. At this point, I do not have 2 levels of spell casting and I have not completed the spells for the prior levels. (Note that there are 4 spells per level). My mortal characters have not yet completed their own skill sets. I have the full cast, all 9 characters.
And I have a couple of side quests still unfinished. I think, the side quest portion will open up by this disk since the other 3 were linear. In the Asian forums, I have read that there are very difficult optional bosses in the game. And from the looks of it, I will have to get my 'Ring Formation' done right if I want to get the advanced rings.
Story is pretty good. By this disk, you will have some idea of what is going on but not the complete picture. It definitely keeps you playing until the very end. My Thousand Year Dream list isn't complete yet. I have a lot of blanks left which I believe I will unlock as I explore the world a lot more in Disk 4.
Other than that, I just got the vehicle, the Nautilus, that will be used in the world map and its very cool. By this point, monsters doesn't seem to be getting any easier. Of course they are beatable, but you need to have a good mix of magic and physical attacks to beat them up.
Just a clarification, I am not yet at the part where I can freely explore the world. I do not have the ability to do that yet but I know I'm getting there.