I found Hard rough also in the “first few missions”, and then I hit my stride with some combination of skill and gear: “average equipment level” (iLvl in the MMO sense) is important here, if you are significantly below the level of a mission you take exponentially more damage, more than would just be implied by the lower defense stats. I’m near the end and finding that on Hard I need to grind for gear a little since now mission-to-mission its incrementing by 12 levels.
I honestly haven’t had problems with getting swarmed / attacked from behind: before putting your back to mobs if you trigger your party members (by default left/right on d-pad) they usually keep the others occupied. The finishers are invincible and slow time so I tend to dive to kill and then dodge back out again; despite the animation, the dodge has a lot of iframes.
Note that you can turn down the difficulty during a mission, and you can freely turn it up and down from the world map. I’ve been on Hard the whole way through . . . except for turning it all the way down for the Master Tonberry side missions.
I never listen to twitter, but I agree insofar as this is a “good game”, full stop. It’s not really “flawed but charming”, it’s just good with some strange but deliberate design choices. My favorite being all the times it pulls you out of a cutscene to allow you to talk to your party members who say nothing but “maybe you should interact with the thing that starts the next cutscene?”
You’ll meet the enemy type I’m talking about in the next mission.
By the way, I’m not sure what enemy type you meant to call out.