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When starting the game you are given two weapons. Should I keep what they give me or buy something else. Should I just go with what I have and only buy upgrades (sword, great sword,etc.). Also would distributing skill points on using less SP be the best way to go?
It depends on the character stats and what you wanna make them in battle...Azura has high focus so give her spear/bow or use her as Signimancy user or healer. Galil and Barbarossa has high str and def, if you wanna make them as attacker equip them with high attack weapon like Great sword or axe or if you wanna make them as tank equip them with shield.
I usually pick talent that reduce art point usage when you use them in battle first...also don't waste talent point early because you'll learn new talents later.