|4 stars, and if the passionate fan in me had his way, it would be a five. I'm gonna start with the great things. The setting is awesome, it's awesome in it's scale and in it's diversity. It's a world were the divine is everywhere, and yet most people cannot fathom the will of those divine being. Guess what you are not a normal human, exalted is a game of epic, it is not made to emulate the common man surviving in a gritty world, it was built for players to trick river gods, to fight titanic and nightmarish beasts, to walk in a whirlwind of intrigue. It's a system you could use to play Cuchulainn, the irish demi god with his magical spear, or to tell the story of Odysseus wandering for years upon the sea, or the journey to the west from chinese mythos. And for this the system work well, it's unique, it's unsettling at first, it can be be a bit crunchy, but when you get in the system my god does it flow well. One of the best part in combat is the gambit mechanic, made to allow the player to do pretty much any action not planned for by the devs in a simple fashion, it's also very good to create special boss mechanics. I've hear complaint about the social system and the craft system, the social system being to complex, which i do not agree with considering you are not obligated to use the full system for every interaction, and works very well in a game of intrigues, and for the craft...well i'm ok with it but understand why people don't like it, you have to generate "lesser" by doing menial tasks allowing you can spend to accomplish harder projet that will net you "greater" xp you can spend for trully awesome artefact or construct. IMO it mostly depend on how leniant the gm is and how interested in RP this kind of thing players are. If they aren't and just want to craft stuff that gives bonus, they gonna be bored quickly, if they like it, it's an heroes journey by itself (also you can find house rules online for alternative system, haven't used them tho).
Now we come to the problem the system poses. It is NOT a game quicly learned and played, you need to invest yourself in the game for it to run smoothly, and for GM you lack certains tools like a true bestiary, which is hard for a new GM to balance your foes. Its take on fights can be puzzling for player because it is so different. Most GM will have to change the way they describe fights. I had difficulties at first but now use this style of describing the ebbs and flow of a fight instead of describing hit or misse for every attacks for pretty much every system i run. In the end it made me a better storyteller, but it took time and effort.
The fact they used kickstarter to finance some of additional content tend to stretch the time between books, and the pace for release is sloooooooow, and we still don't have a fucking bestiary (you can find homebrew tho), and if i'm not mistaken the terrestrial exalted is pretty much done but still not available for purchase for non backer, and the lunar exalted book is in beta for backer so who guess when customers will be able to buy it.
Also the art of the book is meh, some arts are good some are barely acceptable (the cover is awesome tho).
To conclude, if you take the time, and you understand what kind of story it's made for, you'll find a unique and very good system. Me i've become an addict.
[4 of 5 Stars!]