Quite a jump from your games in the series, but not necessarily a bad one. Change is definite in all things, and I don't think this changed for the worse in most regards.
This being more of an engine demo, obviously it's not having as high a score at the others, but that's not the only reason it didn't make it to 5. I thought that the combat system was excellent, but had quite a learning curve to it. I feel that there isn't enough teaching by example in your games, so you're left to see what's what long after it's explained to you. Over the course of these games, I've developed a familiarity to the system, and a love for it at that, but I have to say you didn't do an amazing job at introducing the concepts. If you just had a test battle with some arrows and stuff that would do wonders for new players.
So now onto the positive and negative changes I've noticed
Good things being:
- unique style of combat, especially the zero health to kill thing
- adding distance into the equation
- having some strategy into both moves and card "gambles" that you do
- some minor calculation specifications and tweaks, like the suit making it 10% more instead of the whole dice rolling thing you did before
- showing all the numbers, such as hit rate, to you as you played
- You can't see health at all times, you have to check it for each enemy/character
- drastic decrease in art quality of the backgrounds (though thankfully the characters stayed the same or better)
- Less fluent movement on the map, it felt much more like a Flash game than the others did for certain
- No Inn at the start to help you heal, and generally having a very rough start that it left up to chance
- only being able to change one card at a time, from the character that did the most damage that fight (this usually results in one character being much stronger than the others, and staying that way)
- experience being distributed based on the amount of damage (has the same effect as the last point)
- Not being able to copy and paste passwords
So as displayed and explained I felt that these changes were both good and bad for various reasons. Now I have some smaller complaints too, but they don't negatively impact the game too much. First off, you can't exit the dungeon to go back to the first store, and second there was a bug with the password that adds Hiro if you don't have him yet.
With all this in mind I thought that this was still a pretty solid experience, and will be playing it to completion soon. The only thing that takes away from it's entertainment is the speed at which it plays, which is too slow. In all honestly, not much could be done about that besides remaking the game to be more recent, which just isn't happening.
Still, good job Kinsman, it's been grand.