okay, so i'm about halfway through my first playthrough. in typical Bioware fashion, the story is what pulls you in early, even if it is somewhat predictable and derivative. as the game progresses, you see more of that same predictable an derivative story, but the way its done allows you to enjoy it without rolling your eyes at endless cliches.
what i'm not liking is the tactics system for the combat. its just simply too complicated to have to go in and adjust 50 different options for all your party members tactic slots. while i appreciate the ability to customize the friendly AI like that, Bioware should've done a better job of programming the AI to suit casual players that aren't looking for the "ultimate RPG experience". what makes it worse is when you're actually in the middle of a battle, and you find out that your tactics aren't set up very well. this forces you constantly pause the game just so you can go back to your tactics screen and change things up hopefully before you all die.
so, yes, the story is fun and reasonably well told despite its deficiencies, but combat is, thus far, an overly complicated chore. not a particularly good first impression.
and, for the record, i'm playing on normal difficulty.