I've definitely noticed money being a lot harder to come by, but in the same regard, items aren't as necessary as they used to be. Maybe you only get 2000 gil throughout a chapter, but you don't need to heal out of battle, you don't need to recover MP or anything, and character deaths are few and far between once you get the Paradigm system down. As long as you're quick enough on the draw, you can switch to a healer any time the HP bar goes red. The only thing I found money useful for was buying upgrade items, which you can collect as you would money in the other games. The drops are just harder to come by than a steady amount of gil after every battle. To be honest, I think that being able to reliably grind out money just makes things too easy.
At first I was more annoyed by Vanille's half-accent. It shifted from strong to non-existent frequently, and it was driving me insane. Her being extremely bubbly was kind of weird too. I can only really say I dislike her because she's taking away play time from Lightning, who is my fave. I'm probably gong to have to cosplay her; she's such a badass.
There were a couple parts early on that were frustrating for me also. Since I rely on staggering the enemy, when I have a 2-char party without a commando, it takes serious timing to raise the chain gauge and forces you to rely on the second character to actually do the majority of the work. Also, as I mentioned before, I really don't like the Sentinel play style. For such a high-action battle system, waiting to cause damage until the enemy hits you is a severe drop in entertainment. Maybe I'll unlock an ability, that makes it better later, but so far, it's not very fun for me.
Not to get off subject with XII but I have never met anyone who liked it o.o() I haven't played it, but my circle has a lot of issues with it.
I've been hearing a lot of reviews about the game and almost all of them are negative, but after playing it for a while I really do find the game to be entertaining. Maybe it can be a little easy at times, but in every game since IV there were points where you could just walk through the game spamming the attack button. You'd get to a boss or a hard mob, and then have to work a little, but it wasn't hard by any stretch of the imagination. XIII just automated a lot of the menu flipping and stuff and let you focus on switching paradigms instead of waiting for the character with cure spells to be ready. It diverted your attention from the non-perspective character and let you focus on the enemy. I find every battle to be kind of like a time trial, which has become a lot of fun for me. And Tsenta has it right when it comes to surviving battles later on. You have to pay attention to what you're doing and switch your paradigms or you will die because every once in a while, they throw in an encounter which is much tougher than most of the rest of the fodder. These aren't even necessarily bosses, but there's enough HP that you can't just take'em out easily, and they do enough damage that you can't just go all out on damage. So auto-battling through those is pretty much impossible. As for what a brain-dead monkey can do... what can't they do?
The party-splitting thing is just to give you play-time with each character and let them all have their moment as the perspective character. It also forces you into using certain Paradigms that you otherwise probably wouldn't use. But having been forced into them, I actually found out how useful they are. Every role has a use, and the combinations you can make can be extremely useful if done right.
And the enemy weaknesses change over time, like all the other games. You start out in an area weak to lightning, then find a place weak to fire, and so on and so forth. Some things never change.