Ok, I played the first few hours, then started over and played through the beginning again- more on that in a minute.
I agree with you @LutherBlissett that it really isn’t as difficult as people have been saying, even if I did ‘die’ a few times- the ‘death scenario’ concept is really neat. When you die, the game looks at where/how it happened, and loads a new scenario. The first time it happened, I was killed by a chocobo. I woke up in a cave, rescued by some sort of god/demon/something? When I went outside it was pitch plack, middle of the night- and that is something it has in common with Dragon’s Dogma- holy shit is it dark at night, and your lantern doesn’t do much. I figured out where I was, started back toward my goal, and promptly got jumped by a couple bandits. I managed to take one out, but the other… I was rescued by a huntress from my city, and woke up back there, concussed, and failing. I decided to restart- a note on that- this game is basically Hardcore mode. No save-scumming. Your character only gets one slot, and it’s regularly autosaving. But like I said, you don’t ever really seem to die, so you shouldn’t let that scare you off.
In my initial play, I bought a few things, explored the town, and left. In that exploration, I ended up finding a bunch of the stuff that I bought. So when I restarted, I managed to outfit myself pretty well for my venturing forth, very very efficiently. I recommend looking down underneath the lighthouse.
The graphics are indeed pretty shabby. But it does run pretty smooth, so I’d rather have a game that plays well and looks a bit naff than one that looks amazing and is a pain to play, especially one that can be this unforgiving.