Feedback-time! Based on playthroughs in VN, Normal and Hard-mode (so I can't comment on easy mode...not that it would even be neccessary
I enjoyed the more realistic vibe of the characters a lot. I like being offered something else than "everything Loli". The changing expressions worked amazingly well for me (love Galina's and Diana's horrified/surprised looks), even if a couple of them were slightly on the odd side (examples: Diana laughing felt off, Charlotte smiling looks a bit vulpine, but that's not neccessarily bad). Most of the time the chars work well with the backgrounds and I had no problem with the achievement/scene graphics being in a slightly different style.
The following minutia are the common bane of visual novels, but I'll mention them anyway:
-A few instances where the outfits do not correspond well with the text. For example, depending on the team talk options you take before continuing with the story, you might get some of the chars appearing to the briefing room in party clothes. Or, depending on the order of team talk, you might get Mizuki digging dirt and complaining about her ruined fingernails while wearing her see-through blouse. And why is Xavier trying to box with Samuel in his jacket and woolen vest and does Samuel really want to break those sunglasses on his forehead? And the little tufts of hair/fur/antennas that rise from the heads of Nator and Vialle are cut off in mid-air.
-Left right issues, yea, the bane of flipping characters around in VNs. But maybe the romance CGIs could have been flipped around as well to have Diana's tattoo on her right upper arm, like it is during most of her story?
I like it a lot, although I didn't go fan-crazy on it like I did with SOTW.
I chose to pay that little extra for the bonus content because of the soundtrack, though! (That's my main deciding factor for reg/bonus purchases, by the way)
-Excellent balance on Normal-difficulty, imo. Kudos for that!
-On hard there are 2 fights that I'm not sure can be won after certain choices before the fight. I'm yet to beat the save-the-sibling-mission in a timed mode, whereas without the timelimit it was pretty straightforward. Also Graciela's NPC sidequest requires serious resuffling and good luck to not get overwhelmed. Towards the end the 4 alien fights + 1 final fight were on the other hand relatively stressfree...just throw Mario's deck in there with the demolition crew and you're golden.
Rant about the VN-mode
Coming from a SOTW grinder, take these comments with a salt grinder...
Storyline doesn't really branch that much, so I would have little reason to go through several replays of the whole game in the VN mode...i.e. too few things change. Also, I think the pacing and the immersion is kinda lost with the battles being just glossed over. I know why this option is there, and I gave it a try, but honestly I'd use it in a novel that fully branches after the first few chapters, not here. Also, being able to get achievements like protect colony and chase Shiler without fighting at all feels like a cheap trick.
Aside the branching comment related to the VN/mode, I really really liked the story.
I find the slice-o'-life and alien-war/intrigue interplay quite refreshing. I also adore the level of language/writing, which is colourful and enticing and doesn't fall flat anywhere (unless it's on purpose and the characters want to send somebody to the brig for the exceptionally ban pun.
) I also enjoyed the approx 38267653289 references to other works of popular culture and beyond. (I LOLed when one of the descorians spoke like a friggin' unsullied.
Characters were mostly well fleshed-out, especially the two POV characters and it was fun to play their respective NPC-sidequests after switching the POV. In addition to the siblings, here are favourite characters of mine in no particular order: Alpha S'lurix, Samuel, Graciela, Galina, Mario. I kinda found that pitiful Alpha Khan (hope I got the name right) of the Palidryans endearing, too.
I do think that the double-entendres were overdone in some points...not because there were so many of them, but because a) they were tossed around so often and b) because almost everybody uses them. Regarding a) I think that equal amount of them concentrated in fewer scenes might've worked better for me. B) however leads in my head into a danger of blending the characters together...yes, they still react and feel differently about the choices regarding alien life and death, but they all talk and joke around like a bunch of med school students in a Frothy Friday Faculty Fair..which doesn't make sense with all their diverse backgrounds.
All in all I like the game a lot and consider it well worth the (bonus content) price!