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Please be careful not to spoil anything, i'm coming into this game untainted.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this game had an interesting combat mechanic

You can kill a character permanently for one battle of power.

At first, I was intending to do a good guy/pacifist run, as is my norm.

NOPE.

It's battle number 4 or 5 (Mission is to kill Edward at the guillotine) and I am getting roflstomped. All but my tanky character get one-shot, and he gets 2 shot by the "realmreavers"... who also have 3x as much life as me. Even the level before that was costing me lots of potions and those aren't even bosses, just his minions. I like difficulty, but I am confused if this madness is intentional. Even with good positioning I am getting slaughtered. I've played quite a bit of Final fantasy tactics, fire emblem, etc, so I know my way around tactical RPG's like this.

Hm. I realized that I failed to get enough sin the level before this one. It sounds like that may have caused the enemies to get harder... I was expecting that it only meant I didn't get items. The worse you are doing, the harder the enemies get and the fewer items. Game design at its best.

So I guess I have a few questions:

Is there someway to significantly increase survivability or grind up early on?

Are there difficulty settings? I will play on the hardest, but I find it hilarious that this game appears to be obscenely hard and has no easier difficulty. Anyone unfamiliar with SRPGs would probably drop this game inside of an hour.

Is it plausible to complete the game without using the feather more than when the story demands it?

Is this game just really heavy on consumable usage, or am I doing something wrong?

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Owned again. This game makes the Dwarf Fortress learning curve look like a like a gently sloping shoreline. –  Lawton Jul 8 '12 at 0:52
    
I haven't played the game that much, but my impression is that it's really just that hard. –  Shinrai Jul 8 '12 at 1:03
    
Having played it some myself, yes, it's that hard. I put maybe two hours into it before I grew exasperated. –  Rilgon Arcsinh Jul 8 '12 at 5:56
    
That explains why it was a never opened squenix game going for only ten bucks. I looked up the metascore before, it was mostly positive with only complaint being the difficulty. I just assumed the reviewer was a baddie. I assumed wrong. –  Lawton Jul 8 '12 at 6:26

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