It really is as bad as they say.
I know, what's the one thing I absolutely abhor in RPGs? Randomness. It's what ruined Crisis Core for me. Well, 'unlocking' skills? Random. Leveling up? Random. And you don't level up, you level up stats. Individually. Randomly. I spent like 30 minutes having my party members leveling their Attack and HP, while my main character got nothing, I was actually starting to worry if the main character would get anything. This mechanic is as dumb as it sounds.
Oh, and there are no savespots outside of town, so if you die, you lose everything. I spent 20-30 minutes grinding, actually having some semblance of fun, when I accidentally triggered a boss fight. Turns out just because it's on the starting area doesn't mean you can tackle him, because he destroyed my entire party in one turn, and I lost aaaalll those random level ups. You've no idea how much fun that is. At least now I get to spend another 30 minutes grinding, hoping to unlock the skills I unlocked and getting my stats back. Randomly. Explain to me how did anybody think this was any kind of fun?
Quest 64, often ragged upon and treated like a 'bad game', a game that I actually enjoy, got this right. You want more HP? Get hit, even if on purpose. Want more MP? Use magic. Want more strength? Hit the enemies with your staff. You see, whatever you wanted to strengthen, you had to use. It made sense, even if some people found it tedious. This system is tedious and doesn't make any sense, and the randomness makes it stupid and annoying. And no save spots on a dungeon? Seriously? Want to have challenging bosses on early areas? Fair enough, but at least give me a chance to save, at least midway through the dungeon, give me something, dammit. Let's compare this with a modern challenging game, Dark Souls. If you die, you are given the option to get what you lost. There's also checkpoints spread throughout, it's punishing but rewarding at the same time. This game is only punishing, with the added 'random' factor as the cherry on top.
And there's also not enough information, how is 'Cheap shot' stronger than 'Wild Swing'? Both attacks claim to have an attack power of '2', except that one of them has a higher 'support', whatever that is, than the other.
And what's the point of having formations if I will have to abuse 'protect' most of the time? Enemies deal obscene amounts of damage, so you need somebody to tank it with guard. Take another challenging game, Etrian's Odyssey.
A) Bosses can be seen on the map, so it's up to you if you want to avoid them, or risk trying to avoid them. This applies to FOEs, but even bosses are clearly marked on the map. So even though
B) You can only save on the town, you are given enough information as if to decide if you want to risk your progress or not. And even if a FOE catches you off-guard, unless your back is against the wall, you can try to escape from the battle.
C) You level up through experience, and upon level up, YOU, the player, decide what to upgrade. There's no randomness, you can have proper character builds deviced by yourself. And, tied to this, we have
D) Character classes, where even the Paladin, the class specialized on tanking, shines. You don't need to tank every battle, because not every enemy is obscenely strong. Formations have more freedom, there's more tactics to be had than 'Have your tank guard the other two, and the other two either attack or heal'.
See? Those are retro-styled games, but taking into account modern sensibilities. This game is stuck in the past just because. Things were acceptable back then because the standards were different, because we didn't know how good it could get.
The Legend of Legacy is absolutely terrible. The faux difficulty I could live without if only the level ups weren't random. If I knew that replaying the 30 minutes I lost would get me the same results, I wouldn't half as much. But for all I know, I could spend upwards of an hour without getting as much HP or Attack as I managed, ENTIRELY THROUGH LUCK, on my main character. This is punishing for all the wrong reasons. The game is terrible, if you want a retro-styled, nintendo-hard RPG, get Etrian's Odyssey. Get The Dark Spire. Get anything but Legend of Legacy.