I just finished my first playthrough of v2.0 (second playthru of BNW - I played 1.9 previously) and thought I'd write up some impressions.
First off, great job on the game balance! I made a special effort this time to main characters I didn't focus on last time - Gau, Strago, Setzer, Mog - and found them all to have surprising flexibility and craftibility. The few times I found myself seriously stuck, I was able to think my way out of the problem by changing strategy (most notably, Gau Locke and Sabin in the minecart ride - thanks to the forum for suggesting Rain Man!) The challenge was on point: while I didn't feel like I game over'd too often, I would still start pumping my fist in the air and cheering when the death animation hit for almost every boss, it was that satisfying. Excellent work on the character scenes, too. I'm not a huge fan of the referencey humor, but that was toned down here, and I AM a huge fan of the awesome characterizations in this release - everyone seems more of themselves, Celes and Setzer really shine, even Gogo picks up a good line or two!
I wrapped up the game with my crew at level 30--32, Esper level mostly 22-23. Kaiser was great - I love the extra strategic layer for that fight, and it was extremely satisfying (although I'm still not sure whether I figured out what I was supposed to do or just got lucky). I was pleasantly surprised to run into some real difficulty with Kefka and had to retry the last fight a few times. Eventually, I used Runic with Celes to absorb the Meteor counters, kept up non-magical healing with Setzer and Sabin, and dealt damage mostly with Terra's Ragnarok procs, with the occasional double Fixed Dice and claw attacks thrown in for extra.
There were a few things that struck me as off. First, Edgar's Mana Battery seems underpowered: I gave him 15 Siren levels, but at the end he was still only hitting for +45 MP, so why wouldn't you just throw a tincture? (Especially since I was rolling in money well before the end game.) In comparison, his bro (13 Stray) Sabin's Chakra gives >50 MP to all three of the other party members - to match that performance, I would expect the Mana Battery to do more like +100 or +150 MP on one target. Second, I don't really understand the choice to remove the elemental beams from the Magitek Armor: it made the beginning feel less like "awesome introduction to the game world" and more like "boring filler to get through ASAP". (That was accentuated by Whelk being further nerfed, it felt like that battle was over in 3 hits.) It also removed some enjoyable storytelling from Cyan's dream. If it's a matter of the beams having identical effects, they could be used to provide an intro to the elemental system - for example, make the mammoths immune to ice, make wolves weak to bolt; maybe make Whelk adapt to absorb the last beam type that hit it, so the player has to keep rotating. Then the beams have a purpose in addition to looking cool, and the player has something to do besides mash A. Third, I really enjoyed the storytelling in the escape from the floating continent, but the forced use of one particular action in the battles felt like it went against the ethos of 'play how you like' that the rest of the game does so well. It's awesome, people will use it without being required to. And honestly, that's about it. Everything else is refreshing and awesome.
All in all, this has been the most fun I've had with this game since probably before 2000. Thank you so much to the devs who have put so much effort into bringing the strategy and gameplay of this classic up to par with everything else we love about it!