I think it easily had better plot and character stuff than the first two series because the first two both had minimal plot and nearly non-existence character development.
The problem is the show isn't anywhere near as attention-deficit disorder friendly as it once was, hence the almost instant crying when the series started without EPIC BATTLEZ OMG. Just look at all the stupidity over the EVERY EPISODE IS TRAINING thing, when it isn't even remotely close, and what training there was was almost always different every episode and served specific reasons for happening.
It ain't perfect by any means, episodes 3-4 kind of sunk the pacing, not because they were training but because of how they handled things - they kind of forgot that it's better to show, not tell. Want to introduce hotshot helicopter pilot dude? Have him pilot the damned helicopter instead of walking up to him and having him talk for a couple of minutes about who he is and how neat his helicopter is.
You could almost instantly fixed Strikers pacing by folding episodes 3-4 into one or shifting some of their contents around. Imagine if it had this pace:
1: Subaru and Teana's B rank test intro episode
2: Nanoha, Fate and Hayate's reintroduction
3: Training, other introductions
4: The train hijacking mission