I bought the game as soon as I was able to earlier today, and I definitely don't regret it. $5 for a game of this quality? Heck yeah. Just logging my game progress here for self-reference when I work on Wiki articles. Can't remember everything, after all.
Not sure how far into Chapter 2 I am, but I've already clocked 5 hours into the game. Granted, I did spent around an hour or so being lost when I was trying to figure out what to do to get to Adrian's dinner party. Ended up grinding up quite a bit and defeating monsters I probably wasn't yet meant to defeat, and getting spoiler hints I wasn't meant to get. Well, if it was really meant to be a secret, the story would've locked me out. Which it didn't, so I guess it's all fair.
However, even with all the grinding I did, the mandatory storyline fight wasn't a complete pushover. I wonder if main-story enemy stats will scale to Eirudy's stats? It would certainly answer the issue I (sort-of) had with Witch Spring 2, where Luna would easily obliterate main-story enemies and then act like she was winded from it. (Though on one hand, I did enjoy mopping up enemies like they were nothing.)
Overall, I think that combat mechanics in WS3 are even more enjoyable than the previous two games. I was frustrated by the lack of a guard action in the previous two games, so I'm glad this game added it.
It took a bit of playing around to fully understand some of the new mechanics, though. All the myriad menus were a bit confusing, and I'm still not sure what some of my Magical Swordmanship skills do. The magic triangle has also been tweaked a bit, though my Eirudy is mostly a swordsman more than a magic user.
Dolls replace the Pet system of the previous games. So far, I really like it, if by virtue of the fact that you can have more than one of them in battle. Dover is my current Most Valuable Doll since he boosts Defense, Agility, and Physical Attack. He's also a mount, which means that in most cases, I can just ride him into battle. If it's against a difficult enemy, I won't be wasting a turn summoning him and can summon another combat-only doll.
(This is also why Eirudy is more of a physical attacker for me; Dover costs a relatively hefty 20% of my max MP. Outside of items and Guard, there aren't that many ways of recovering MP in battle, at least so far. Summoning dolls can get pretty MP-costly, so using physical skills will spend up HP more, which will get healed back by dolls like Little Emilia.)
My only gripe is that some of the dolls I've summoned into battle don't do anything against the boss, for whatever reason. (Both instances were in the Ice Cave; Warrie couldn't do anything to the Ice Golem, Rachel couldn't do anything to an event enemy.) Not sure if that's a bug or if that was purposeful, but if it's the latter, I'd like a message that says "can't use this doll here." I should've screencapped that...
Crafting and Training:
Being able to craft multiple copies of an item in one go is really useful. At least, when I remember it exists. Having to do it individually in the first two games got really boring after a while. Still wish there was a way to skip the crafting/training animations, though.
I quite like the training regiment that this game uses (choose the five activities, and then Eirudy goes through all of them; also doesn't cost any HP/MP). However, considering that days only pass for training and certain storyline scenes, I'm curious as to whether they have any significance, aside from a gauge for players. Furthermore, I get that the training days/gauge is meant to limit how much you can grind, but I've trained pretty significantly and still find myself with an excess of training days. I guess it's for people who really love grinding, huh?
Story Speculation (spoilers):
Something I noticed from Chapter 1, when I was trying to find Adrian in the underground cave, was that the green runes on the ground didn't react to me. Then, when Adrian rescues Eirudy, he teleports out... on the green rune. And when Eirudy steps on it, it says that it's a teleport rune that she doesn't know how to use. Yet Adrian, a human boy without any magical knowledge insofar as we're aware, could use it... suspicious.
I've seen, through the trailers, some plot threads I haven't yet reached. Seems like Eirudy will have a "despair outfit" at some point, unless that's locked to the supposed bad end route. Adrian's explorer buddy should also be showing up in that case, so she's probably a mercenary--I've entered three mercenary camps so far (and accidentally looted one camp's chest in the process) but they were all empty. Clearly, they're meant to be seen further along in the story.
And in my How Do I Progress In The Story world explorations, I've uncovered two things: one, Eirudy is a descendant of the god Revgato (at least, according to some Shezarian ghosts). Two, Raymond calls himself "god's messenger" yet doesn't seem to be aware of who Eirudy actually is. Given that Adrian mistakes her for Shezarian, and then the ghosts of actual Shezarians call her a descendant of Revgato, it seems pretty likely that Eirudy herself indeed has Shezarian blood. (Makes me wonder who her grandmother really is... even Eirudy points that out herself. Moreover, where did the deity part of Eirudy's bloodline even come from?)
And on one last note, I am really glad this game auto-saves whenever you enter a new area. It lets me test out dialogue options for optional battles. That Ancient Dragon in the desert kicked my ass, let me tell you. (It also seems that the dragon is meant to be fought during/after Eirudy's despair moment, given the dialogue she has with it should you try to talk with it.)