So i've purchased the D&D Players Handbook, i've had an afternoon to read and partially ruminate and what follows here are my initial thoughts. Im tempted to do an in depth review however Rob Donahue will do a better version that I. I haven't through linked here as as far im aware he been doing the reviews 'blind' with no prior knowledge or spoilers of the product - you'll have to do a google search for 'The Walking Mind' blog.
Books solid, hardcover - looks like it could take a beating. Cover illustrations is gorgeous - that pretty much goes through out, and thats at the centre of my initial reaction. Wow. This thing looks amazing, and not just the cover - everywhere is sprinkled with interesting pieces of art. Looking at the art direction for the book you cant really see the philosophy of the designers to cherry pick all the editions. The layout is akin to 3e, a faux book (where 3 went as far as to create a faux fantasy cover) The illustrations are digital paintings, they remind me of artwork that featured on the covers and pages of the TSR era AD&D (2nd to my mind) The rules, well they're basic with traces of 2nd 3rd and 4th
Im surprised at the number of classes. The earlier editions had less, if I recall - 4th I know for sure, ill maybe check 2nd and 3rd but, anyways - they've got pretty much every major class - even warlocks and monks. This brings me hope that we'll see less option based splat books and more adventure/campaign/fluff.
My major hope is for the DMG. This is where i'm hoping we'll see major elements (the modularity Mearls talked about) that mutate the game and allow us to turn it into what we want to play. Thats really what i'm looking forward to.