I haven't been able to enjoy JRPGs for about 10 years now. Xenoblade changed that. That's about the strongest recommendation I can give.
The combat becomes pretty frantic after a few hours. In the first few hours where you've got a handful of abilities (or "arts" as they're called) you'll spend some time autoattacking between moves. Before long you'll be cycling through your abilities at a blinding pace, positioning yourself to trigger extra status effects and watching for openings created by the rest of your party's moves. It's quite fast paced and, at times, chaotic. In a good way.
The MMO aspect shines through in a good way. Mostly. The vast, open areas are a joy to traverse and explore and the presence of ludicrously higher level nasties (or just roaming packs of enemies) keeps you on your toes. There's also unique named creatures that often provide a decent challenge set to some kickass music.
The worst MMO aspect added in are the sidequests. They can involve some nice little subplots but they almost all involve finding X many drops, killing Y monsters or finding unique item Z. I'm a little over 50 hours in now and I spent a good 15 of those sidequesting. Thankfully all the sidequests are optional and you can skip right over them without impacting the main plot in any way, though you'll miss out on a few mechanical extras and a boatload of XP and gold. Which may be a good thing, since over-levelling can make the game a bit too easy. Until you meet this bastard,
It's not flawless, but it's a genuinely lovely game that's excited people for a very good reason. If that doesn't convince you then check out the opening 10 minutes
. I was grinning like an idiot by the end of it.