The subtlety is in the customisation of the characters, which allows you to purchase new "gambit" strategies - special moves that can be applied to team leaders so they can get on with things when you're not controlling them directly. Gambits can be interrupted manually, so a character who is casting healing spells in the general direction of the battle can be instructed to focus on a particularly badly wounded team leader when necessary. It's a system that works well and is great fun to use.
Away from the hectic, spectacular battles that form almost the entire game, there's a genuine Final Fantasy adventure. While there are few places to visit that don't involve fighting, you can go from place to place in a graceful flying ship, recruiting new team leaders and accepting quests (fights) from needy residents of the gorgeous airborne islands of Lemures.
Cutscenes are rendered in the realistic style of the PS2 game, which doesn't fit too well with the cartoony look of Revenant Wings. It's almost as if the producers are apologizing for the basic design of the sprites here, when in reality the in-game graphics are more than pretty enough to stand up for themselves. We love the reflective marble floors in the palace levels - the single best visual effect on DS.