I can’t talk much about the game, as it’s being run at Gateway2011, but Tyler GMed a one-shot adventure with some pregens for us in Pathfinder. We started out making characters for a long-running game, then put those aside to run the one-shot.
My impression of it is similar to my impression of DnD4e. And most of my problems are not unique to Pathfinder, rather they are problems I’ve had with DnD since the late 1970s.
I’m not a fan of character classes. I find them inflexible. As is obvious by my games of choice (GURPS, Hero, Savage Worlds), I prefer to build my own character type from the ground up.
I know there is choice in the DnD/Pathfinder class paradigm — with feats and multi-classing, etc., but this only approximates the flexibility you get in a classless system.
I’ve heard some 3.5/Pathfinder people criticize DnD4e for being too much of a board game during combat. I have to say, except for some small differences, I found the combat system to be almost indistinguishable from 4e.
The game rules that I think give 4e combat a board-gamey feel (at least to me) exist in Pathfinder. Those being the flanking rules and attacks of opportunity.
Mind you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the tactical nature of the combat system, but it’s a criticism that has a “pot-calling-the-kettle-black” quality.
There were some differences (hold-overs from 3.5e) that I think improve the game, namely the touch and flatfooted AC. To me the whole concept of AC is too much of an abstraction, and it’s one of the things that made me look for another RPG system back in the 1980s. The touch and flatfooted rules give a little more of a situational feel the AC, making it a little less abstract.
As I’ve said many times before, unless the system is a horrible, broken mess, a good time can be had with just about any system, as long as you’ve got a good group of people to play with. The same holds true for this session. It as a fun time, and I look forward to the next session.