What I played
I played all 26 chapters of the game, a total of 95 hours of play time. Chapters 1-23 I completed on Hard/Classic (permadeath). Chapters 24-26 I completed on Normal/Classic. I completed a few paralogue missions and a couple skirmishes.
If you're dying for tactical combat, this could be your fix. There's a ton of video game to play, and it certainly isn't easy on Hard/Classic. Beware that it's very cheesy and difficult to actually get lots of the support conversations. Late game levels abuse frustrating game mechanics to simulate difficulty by wearing the player down mentally.
The weapon triangle is back!
Lots of great music
Characters are rendered extremely well (very nice anime style)
Hard/Classic provided an engaging tactics experience on most maps
Character support dialogues were generally interesting
Character designs are almost all completely over the top and awful
Level scaling for skirmishes is completely busted, making it impossible to level up weaker units or work on supports if you play on permdeath (unless you want your units to die)
It's just too long. 26 chapters + 15 paralogues.
The same 4-5 villains are reused for half the game, and they constantly get away from you without dying
The beginning half of the game is just a glorified trek around the world to collect a bunch of characters and is VERY anime bullshit
The maps are simply too big. The latter half of the game frequently features 25x30 combat maps with 12-14 allies, up to 5 boss units, and frequently infinite enemy reinforcements.
The story is just a bad shonen battle anime. The writing of the main story scenes is initially just super corny, and then eventually it just gets melodramatic. I hope you like death monologues, multiple deus ex machina moments, constant talk of "dragons" despite almost no dragon ever showing their dragon form, weird creepy worship of your character as a god, recurring villains who constantly "get away" rather than dying, and a lot a lot of obsession with family relationships
The Somniel is a massive time waster, like Garreg Mach in 3 Houses. it was not uncommon for me to spend 2 hours between missions early on, before i started ignoring most of it.
Revive Stones. these are abused to make bosses unreasonably tanky. bosses often have 2 revive stones, meaning they have 3 total health bars. what's worse is that overflow damage doesn't carry over, so you have to micro manage who hits in what order to do optimized damage. i feel like the idea here was that on normal this encourages you to do a very anime bullshit thing of surrounding a boss with all your favorite units and making sure each gets a turn stabbing, but on Hard this often meant i needed multiple turns of 4+ attacks to kill a boss, which really got absurd when combined with infinite reinforcements on a lot of maps. this led to more silly AI abuse where you skirt the boss's engagement range by one square and pick off their support units with ranged attacks, a strategy i don't always find super engaging. tho sometimes the AI just gets tired of your shit and comes after you anyway. it was hard to find a single answer for how bosses work here.
Build crafting. omg this game is over the top. you have like 30+ characters and 12 emblems each of which can be paired with any unit and you can teach units skills from any of them. there are so many currencies to manage in this game. you can also upgrade and engrave weapons. you can switch classes and promote units. any unit can switch to any class in the game via weapon training via emblem training. it's dizzying tbh. the few times i looked up guides on the later levels, i was always shocked to see who had what units configured how, and like, they often seemed way stronger than i thought was possible. i didnt understand how a few of these game systems worked for way too long, so i may have been spending my resources poorly. but it's hard to grind to get more resources in this game due to skirmish level scaling.

Reviewed on Feb 26, 2023