Did this chapter earlier tonight and it is pretty rough. The rescue staff a guy above mentioned is a good idea. For some reason in my game I didn't even think of it so I flew Sumia up to the edge of the cliff and had Maribelle hand Ricken off to her, flew him down to safety, then used Sully with Kellam supporting to ride into the fray and keep Maribelle safe long enough for everyone to retreat. It ended up working well, but it took me a few tries to find the right combination of opening moves to save them. Rescue staff would have been a better idea, but I can't remember where I got it at this point.
I'm not going to make any calls on Tomb Raider probably until I've played it or know more about it, but most of the coverage I've seen has mentioned there's some controversy surrounding the game but then dismissed it as without much merit, like they did on the stream last night. So most journalists/outlets seem to be agreeing with you, OP? It is being discussed but the mainstream coverage I've seen has mostly been ultimately okay with it.
I love FF8 and the junction system, even though you can get game-breakingly powerful if you do the right things. Maybe that's part of the appeal? The idea that if you put in the time drawing, exploring what can be refined into what with the GF abilities, finding hidden draw points, etc. that the reward is very tangible. Triple Triad is great on its own and the integration into main game with card mod and the various refining abilities you can get is really exceptional. It always feels like you have a ton of options at your disposal, in terms of how you're getting magic and what stats you're boosting with it.
Hard was really tough, so the fact that there are two difficulties above it is kind of baffling. I don't know how that would even be possible. But mostly I tried to shootdodge as much as possible, since that works even when your meter is empty, and being in cover when I WASN'T shootdodging. If you land in relative safety behind a desk or something, sometimes it's better to just stay on the ground and blow the heads off guys as they peak over/walk around it to get to you. Also, if you hit X while on the ground after a dive, you'll immediately slide into the cover you're near, which is better than getting up and being exposed for a couple of seconds while trying to get into cover. And like someone else said above, hit the back button to turn off the useless laser sights and get your regular retical back. Really, though, just playing on normal seems best. It's not like there's no challenge to it.