Hello there. In spite of my troubles with English and with obs, I did manage to complete my series. After defeating the final boss, I drew my conclusions regarding this excellent mod. Zombero invited me to paste my comment here, so that other players may join in and share their thoughts. Here was my original message:
"As planned, let us draw our conclusion after playing this mod. The first thing I have to say is that this was a great mod. I enjoyed playing it. Zombero did a very good job. I would (and will) definitely recommend Hardtype over the vanilla game. I even gave Zombero a well deserved donation. I will also thank our friend Isak Haha again.
Now, let's get into the recap. We will try to be as constructive as possible.
- The best thing in this mod is that it was hard by giving us more viable options and strategies to choose from. Most hard rpgs are "hard" by forcing the player to use the only viable strategy; Hardtype brilliantly did the opposite.
I liked being encouraged to use more than 3 demons and swap them in-fight.
- The new spells (Heat Riser, Chill, Antichton…) were very interesting. And, while that's just a detail, I liked having a detailed description for every spell, instead of vague information like we had in the original game.
Replacing "void everything" with "resist everything" on Masakado was definitely a good move. Maybe it would have been a good idea to have an "ultimate" spell like Last Word though. In the same vein, it also might have been nice to have one or two more useful spells on the Super Pixie, like Heat Riser. Her transformation would be an even more emotionnal moment with a spell like that.
- Maybe the player gets slightly too much experience compared to money - or rather too little money, your call. I got level 99 without even wanting to, but I had to grind a lot of money to do what I wanted with the Compendium and get all Magatamas.
Let us talk a bit about bosses, now. In my opinion, bosses are the most interesting part of any hard rpg, so that is what I paid the most attention to. Every boss should be a tactical challenge requiring a specific strategy, and to Zombero's credit, some of them were.
In this game, the best way for a boss to be interesting probably is to give the player several problems to handle at once, and to Zombero's credit, some of them did. The game is more interesting if the player needs to play several moves, but does not have enough turns to do everything: you have to improvise, and to choose between a "bad" move and a blunder.
- Overall, I would say that most bosses were too easy, especially in late-game, as I had many more deaths in random encounters. I don't think any boss killed me even once between Samael and Lucifer.
- Against Matador, I liked the "Dervish" spell, which deals damage and debuffs. That's a very good mechanic for bosses, but unfortunately, very few bosses had similar spells.
- Mother Harlot is maybe the best example of what a boss should be like. I loved what Zombero did with her. She has a status ailment, a debuff, Dekunda, damage, sustain, an "enrage" phase, and a sort of special turn (the Dragon Eye turn) that the player has to keep track of. (Her use of Death Lust is too random though, considering it is by far her strongest move.)
Many bosses have too simple mechanics, compared to her, so they either have enough damage to kill you and are impossible, or don't and are harmless. (Typical example: Ahriman in second form.)
- Some AI scripts are too rigid and exploitable, most notably Dekaja/Dekunda wise. Beelzebub and Dante, for example, were very easy to lock into a loop. (I do understand that Zombero doesn't have complete freedom in editing the scripts though.)
- Maybe a spell like Satan's Retribution from Digital Devil Saga (kill one party member) could be considered on some major bosses, to force the player into even more improvisation after a pivotal demon is killed.
Finally, I think this game (and the whole series) has one big gameplay flaw: the healing mechanic. A spell like Prayer means that your opponent will either kill you in one turn or deal irrelevant damage, as you can fully heal in one single move. And an item like the Great Chakra means that an mp-draining attack is pretty irrelevant too. That prevents bosses from being built around the idea of a war of attrition.
I think that, for future games, Atlus should nerf both damage and healing, and rework the mp mechanic into a resource you actually have to manage. I would try a smaller mp pool, an automatic mp regen, and no mp items, to force a more careful mp management.
In spite of these few innate flaws, Zombero managed to make the mod very interesting, and our fight against Lucifer and his Root of Evil is a rather good example of this. Well done, sir!"