Sooo, I'm now on the final boss of SH3 on hard action mode on my first playthrough, and am feeling quite screwed.
I have full health, but no healing items at all, 30ish handgun bullets, 12 shotgun shells, and 64 smg bullets. This has proven to be highly inadequate, so I've been forced to basicly run in circles dodging attacks until it exposes itself, and get a single maul hit in before needing to run away again for fear of getting hit.
I just kept up that hit and run procedure for a full half hour, getting 40ish maul hits in before finally getting flamed to death (I can survive up to 3 hits, 4th will kill me), and this is rather disheartening, since seriously, 40 hits to the head with a maul should be more than enough. It's a maul.
I suppose it must be theoretically possible to do since I can usually dodge things, but oh god is this ever going to take awhile. (no pun intended
edit: I switched to using katana, and eventually beat the final boss with a final time of 27 minutes and 42 seconds (just for the boss, the overall game took a shade under 5 hours). Now to play with the various toys I've unlocked...