There is a NEW GAME PLUS of sorts, as all of your equipment, costumes, and upgrades carry over. You CANNOT select hard difficulty right off that bat. You have to play the game on normal first. If you already collected all the chests in your first play through, the new chests will contain different upgrades for you to pick up. Honestly, this isn't all that much harder than normal difficulty, especially since you will be upgraded. Just be sure to use chapter select and DO NOT reset your character by pressing NEW GAME. Just remember to keep your distance using RT to dodge and strafe. Also there are tons of spots where you can just hang back and pick off enemies one by one using your trusty rifle. Heavy strike or B, A is by far the most effective spell on all enemies (except those that fly). I know this isn't a comprehensive guide, but just figured I'd give a few tips for anyone venturing into this awesome game a little late like me!