The game is really rough, what does help is that you focus on playing more strategic instead of just going ham in a smart way. Try to focus killing enemies with UT's for more orbs and use the delimbs smartly. Don't focus on killing enemies, focus on dying slower than them. What I mean by smart delimbs is for instance delimbing a guy so that he is 'disabled' (you can quickly delimb with moves like >Y with the Claws). This gives you a quick way to get i.frames via an OT if needed (like when becoming a christmas tree of exploding shurikens), but also gives more breathing room in some fights (especially in ones where more enemies spawn). Don't be afraid to spam 360T OLUTS with the Lunar or going ham with the Swallow>Izuna with the Claws. Yes it is cheap, but this game pulls no punches so neither should we.
Almost made it through Chapter 3 yesterday but took a break to play some of the Survival Challenges. Having a good time all in all and really hope to get some experience in. My gf is away for two weeks for work so I have all the time in the world to become a master ninja.