This game was just so damn relaxing - the slow pace might turn a lot of people off, and I bet I'd get bored of games like this if it was all there was, but it's the opposite. JRPGs are full of plots that start with hometowns getting razed, going off to save kingdoms, usually ending with your obligatory fight against God on the moon or something. In Sophie, nothing happens. Okay, that's a lie, things do happen, but they happen so slowly and they're so out of the main focus of the game that there's no real sense of urgency for 99% of the game. A lot of Atelier games are like this, but Sophie just might be the best example of it yet.
The main story in the game is really pretty bad, though. It's probably what kept Sophie from being 9/10 territory. I really think they should have made Meklet and Atomina more significant characters if they wanted the player to care too much about the 'main plot' when it finally started rolling.
The dual artists thing (two different artists, NOCO and Yuugen, designed the characters) also bothered me a bit. Yuugen's characters can be a bit too shiny and contrast too sharply with NOCO's, it ends up looking odd sometimes. I would have preferred NOCO to do all of them, I think, or at least picking one and sticking with it. I'm glad there's no dual protagonists this time though, that was getting a bit old after two consecutive games of it with Escha & Logy and Shallie.