I beat the final boss on my second attempt on the default (easy) difficulty, sitting at around 10 hours playtime. Had about 85 lore in total from both attempts, so I do not think it takes unreasonably long to unlock everything in the store.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I really like the aesthetic of this game, it all blends together rather well and it certainly feels a notch above all the generic-comicy-WoW-style-of-graphics. Entering a dungeon made me tense with anticipation (and fear) every time and I really liked the progress meter showing the number of remaining stairs and bosses. Fortunately, my stress level playing the game always felt just right, whereas playing something like Darkest Dungeon was sometimes more stressful than enjoyable (even though I ultimately did finish that beast of a game as well). Loved the Tolkien reference with the pipes (pipe upgrades are very recommended!).
I agree with everybody who says the movement is tedious. I made frequent use of portal and teleport scrolls, the haste sanctum, boats and dungeon entrance portaling, but it still felt tedious to me. I agree that you can’t simply get rid of that aspect of the game, but it’s not something I enjoyed very much. I also feel that the combat lacks strategic depth. I usually felt that for any given character and set of equipment, the optimal combat turn was pretty straightforward for almost all enemy types. Darkest Dungeon, for instance, offered me a lot more meaningful choices on each character’s turn. The UI needs a serious overhaul. I didn’t find any shortcuts for selecting skills, nor did there seem to be shortcuts for targeting specific enemies, i.e. slot 1, 2, or 3. I sometimes had a nasty selection bug that prevented me from targeting opponents other than the middle one. Inventory management is a chore. There really should be an option of showing all of your character’s inventories at once with the option of dragging and dropping items. With the exception of trinkets, item progression was rather dull, with clear incremental increases from tier to tier.
Dungeons are much easier when your characters are one or two levels above the dungeon’s displayed level. I liberally strolled around killing a lot of overworld enemies for this. Never willingly engage with one or two party members, do try to use ambush when attacking with your awareness party member.
Pipe upgrades are key. Always buy godsbeard when given the choice. I generally favored pipe upgrades and herbs over item purchases.
My best item, by far, was the book of healing I picked up in the first third of the game. Mass heal is super powerful. Even more powerful, however, was the time jump / chrono shift ability (can’t remember the name exactly, the wiki seems to list an outdated set of abilities) which effectively makes one opponent skip a turn. It is, by far (!), more useful than stun and makes controlling single powerful opponents extremely easy. I don’t think I would have finished the game successfully without this ability.
Always make sure to have a sanctum on each hero, as they essentially give you an additional life. Destroying chaos generators gives you extra life points or the option of banning a scourge, so do try to find each and every one of them. That said, killing scourges actually rewards you with powerful item drops, so do not ban all scourges just because you can.
For my playthrough, the sea caves were excellent for levelling and loot.
Not sure about the best quest rewards, I generally went for money or chaos reduction. Always pick up quests if you can, even if you are not sure you can finish them in time (you usually can).
Has anyone tried this coop? I am somewhat reluctant to push a friend into buying this, as I suspect the tedious movement and the rather shallow combat will suck the fun out of this rather quickly…