Having completed the game as Yunica and now starting up as Hugo, I thought the topic of character differences and fighting styles merits a discussion thread on it's own. I've only just beaten the first major boss with Hugo at the moment, but please jump in with any safely spoilered remarks about any of the characters or abilities.
Yunica: If you swapped Yunica's character model with Adol's, I would not be remotely surprised. Very easy to dodge with and would put any mortal swordmaster to shame with the absurd axe combo speed. It then gets insane when you can add a whirlwind at the end. Her earth blast was a handy defensive move without being too broken, though actively meeting the giant Construct's punches head on and doing damage to him is somewhat amusing.
I thought the range, and huge, multi hit-box of the charged phoenix flame was so powerful that it kind of gave an Ys 2 feel to most bosses once you got it. That is, dodge like mad and spam fireballs. I found it kind of funny how Yunica is constantly mocked for having no magic ability, when her primary battle strategy is great balls of fire.
As to her limit break, its destructive power seems awesome when you first get it. (I remember rolling around at low hp to constantly drop nukes on enemies- great fun!) However, the fact that you can't move got me killed many times on a certain boss fight...
I was expecting Hugo to play a bit like Aisha or Mishera from Ys 7 and was hugely shocked by my first couple of hours with him. He feels really sluggish, presumably because his normal attacks have a noticeable recovery time, but on the other hand, can regularly block even boss attacks with his wind shield.
I like the fact that the fast and weak enemies you mercilessly slaughtered with Yunica are now actually dangerous and the static powerhouses (eg. shield knight mobs anyone?) that were annoying for Yunica get destroyed by his floating laser eyes of doom. I think Tom compared him to a human Shmup ship, which I like.
He certainly seems a major departure for the series in terms of his fighting style. I'm interested to see whether the Claw takes things equally in a new direction or whether he will be another Adol with a few new tricks.
This seems a fitting image to conclude as Hugo can't even be bothered to dodge most attacks.