I actually think the opposite. To me, the original sacrificed a consistent pacing in order to focus on certain narrative segments (that have their own pacing), that consistently increase in scope. So you can really feel like the world and the story are going to new high heights everytime, really making it epic. Character development is of course related to that, since they are majorly pushed out by these segments.
I still remember the Weapons attack on Junon. I played it many years after the OG came out, and still got goosebumps just by how freaking awesome it was.