Rondo of Swords is a relatively new take on SRPGs with an interesting new way to engage in battle as it's biggest innovation. Instead of going up to an enemy and engaging it in battle, you create a path through as many enemies as you like, and your character runs on through 'em, hitting each one as you move on.
But since moving and attacking are now essentially the same thing, you cannot move and perform an action, such as move and then use an item, or even move and use magic. The only exception is with your archer, who can move and then attack, but he still cannot move and perform any other action.
Because of this, your positioning is crucial, and obviously your enemies won't put themselves in places you really want them to be. I don't even understand how certain spells such as Storm Rave could ever work to your advantage, with their odd patterns and your inability to position yourself in a place where they could possibly work.
There is a special stat called your "Momentum Counter," or MC. This is a number that raises every time you perform an action such as attacking, or using magic. The CPUs (most of the time) go after the character with the highest MC. This adds another new layer of strategy, as you can "hide" a character for a few turns, having the CPUs ignorge him, and then bring out his abilities while they're all gathered around another character. This is also helpful when you're trying to save your main character from dying when the enemies are zoning in. But since the CPUs don't always go after the character with the highest MC, and always go after whoever's in their attack range, you have to take an extra precaution.
This game is very difficult. In the very first map, it's just Serdic, Kay and Margus, all at Lv1, and countless enemies. Five of them are around Lv15, but only one actually follows you. You're going to need to retry many of the maps, and it can get very frustrating when you're only a move or two away from winning the map when you get bombarded by attacks. Another problem is that the most characters you can have on the field at once is 6, and one has to be Serdic. There are usually tons and tons of enemies who seem to always be stronger than you on the maps.
There are little "side-quests" you can send your characters on while you're fighting to gain special items, change their classes, or train their stats. One side-quest is also shopping. Yes, shopping is a side-quest. And if you send someone who's inexperienced at shopping, you may end up spending all your money on useless items, or selling all your items for not even a third of what they're worth.
Characters can be given special "abilities" that can help them in battle. Some of these abilites raise stats like their movement or keep their MC relatively low. Others activate when an allies makes a path through them, like healing some of their HP when they pass by. And others can be used (instead of moving) to achieve other effects. This adds a nice layer of customization to your characters to suit your battle stategy.
The characters are very enjoyable and the conversations they have with one-another when they are next to each other on a certain map can be very amusing. And for Atlus fans, Izuna and Shino from Izuna the Unemployed Ninja are also unlockable characters. The graphics are pretty and cute and very well done for 2D sprites. The music is also nice and has a tendency to get stuck in your head.
This and many other SRPG staples such as leveling up, states (status effects), and more are also abound in Rondo of Swords. Any fan of SRPGs must play this! It's very enjoyable in the long run. If you're trying to get into the genre, however, you should wait, as it may irritate you into complete hatred of the genre.