It starts off pretty generic, and the combat system takes a while to develop. After 10-20 hours it starts picking up and getting a lot more interesting/original, and the combat system really blossoms into something nice.
There's a newgame+ option as well (similar to Disgaea and Chrono Trigger, among others) but you don't get to carry EVERYTHING with you. You'll need to do at least 3 run throughs to see everything / get everything / etc , but the second run through is a hell of a lot more fun than the first (you know all of the twists and you really appreciate some of the earlier moments in the game that you took for granted before).
Rent it and see how you dig the first part of the game. If you're digging it, buy that fucker, because it goes sharply uphill midway through the game.
I liked Star Ocean 3 more though :)