This is going to be a short progress log out of necessity; I used up most of my free time today trying to push through to Omega Quintet’s ending, but I only just made it into chapter 9 (possibly the last or penultimate chapter) because a ton of sidequests kept popping up like weeds. Very annoying. Still, I’ve read that you find out in chapter 9 whether you get the good ending or not, so that’ll be interesting to see. I did absolutely everything I could and wasted hours upon hours helping random idiots with stupid sidequests, so it’ll be truly infuriating if I end up with the bad ending.
Having maxed out field abilities is nice
In chapter 8, I managed to get everyone’s field upgrades maxed out. It’s crazy how quickly it happens—one moment there are a bunch of places you can’t get to, and then you do one or two sidequests that open up all of the areas. Apparently one character’s ability to jump only works when her field skill is at level 3, so there are a bunch of jump points scattered throughout the game that serve no purpose until this point (assuming you’ve gone out of your way to do the “show me a skill” sidequests). It’s nice being able to finally pick up everything I’ve had to leave sitting around up to this point, though doing so did require running around areas for the millionth time. And it’s not the last time, either, because sidequests often give you rewards, but force you to run through areas to pick them up. Such a transparent waste of time.
The difficulty comes and goes
Enemies are definitely getting a bit spongy and starting to hit harder, but that’s not a universal truth. Really, the difficulty spikes come out of nowhere and then suddenly disappear, allowing you to steamroll through enemies again without any problems. Side note: it’s stupid that trying to pan the camera up to get a look at a giant enemy causes the girl to react like you’re trying to look up her skirt. I guess it happens whenever you pan the camera like that, but still. Have some situational awareness.
A few various observations
This is another boss-type enemy that’s really tall, and I mindlessly tried to pan up to get a look at it, only for the lead character to act like the whole thing was a rape-y overture. Jesus. It didn’t help any when the enemy attacked a character at 2:16 and her clothes broke in a voyeuristic little cutscene. It turns out that this happens when you forget to repair everyone’s outfits for awhile, and this is the kind of thing I could definitely do without. Anyway, this fight was a little difficult, but not really in a good way. More in an annoying, repetitive way. Enemies with lots of HP cause you to blow through your SP really fast, and then you’re stuck wasting time using a bunch of SP-restoring items so that you can actually start doing Harmonic chain attacks again.
Speaking of which, you lose Aria around the end of chapter 8/beginning of chapter 9. Not sure if she comes back eventually or not, but combat isn’t quite as good without having all five party members present. The more people are present, the more equipped attacks there are and the more options in combat there are. Right now a whole bunch of attacks I leaned on aren’t possible anymore, and the only way to obtain them again would be to grind out a different character’s proficiency with the same weapon (and since there are five weapon types, that’d mean losing out on whatever they switched away from, making the whole thing self-defeating).