I had fun while playing it. Since the point of a game is to entertain, and I was very entertained by it all weekend, I'd say its a good game.
Ultimately, that's only what really matters. Endgame, leveling, mechanics aside mean nothing.
Do you personally enjoy the game? If so, then Yoshi-P succeeded for you.
Distancing myself from the BS about difficulty or even FFXI nostalgia, something I find myself flustered with is the absolute and utter insistence that a game is only good if it will last for years for an individual.
This is also another good point. You mention it but it's such a double standard in that we'll purchase a $59.99 game that'll last use a week or maybe two weeks. Yet, somehow the game that we purchase for $29.99/$39.99 and play for the free month only (worst case scenario here) somehow fails?
Honestly, Ifrit Extreme along with extra Nael Van Darnus fight were probably harder then anything FFXI offered. Or they are at the very least comparable to FFXI's tough fights. Heck, the bard af body fight (think it was body), took us multiple tries and felt harder then most Zilart gods and COP fights. What was the beauty of all this? As a casual player, I could complete most things with little help, or, I could join the multiple shouts for those crazy bosses and have fun getting my *** handed to me. It was a good balance, and I think ARR will maintain that.
This is why I laugh when people trying to mention FFXI somehow being more difficult than ARR because it flat out isn't. Time restrictive elements does not difficulty make. To make a fair comparison you *need* to bring the fight down to base levels.
What did HNM/Gods/etc. all do that made them difficult? The developers gave them ridiculously high levels (which screwed you for the dLVL check), defense, and usually -DT%. Outside of that what were they?
Every single one of them had access to some AoE move that high fairly hard and usually left a debuff -- just like most every other monster in the game. Every single one of them could be made infinitely easier by Elegy + Hojo/Slow alone -- just like every other monster. Every one of them had increased TP generation, but the frequency of moves they used increased as their health got lower -- just like regular monsters. Very few were outright immune to Stun mechanics, the majority of them could actually be slept (with literally no diminishing returns), and every single one of them
were made easier if height difference could be used to eliminate the danger of AoE moves on the ranged classes. The only two that escaped these boundaries (Absolute Virtue and Pandemonium Warden) were literally designed to not even be possible in the realm of sanity when they were first put in; that's not just bad design but it shows a massive contempt for players.
FFXI's difficulty came through the inventory, macro usage (or Spellcast), simple getting people, and FFXI's team excessive usage of time restrictions. Vanilla, Rise of Zilart, and Chains of Promathia showed them that they didn't know how to design really interesting bosses so starting with Limbus (late CoP) and ToAU+ they started to put time limitations on everything so people couldn't just stack healers to get everything done.