It does get easier but cakewalk is exaggerated. But I agree it's probably better for you to wait for the new difficulty modes. Hopefully they're not just +enemy health/-player damage though.
Unfortunately no - no exaggeration. Even as a RPG newbie in my first playthrough I found the fights after Hiberheim astonishingly easy, although I had to correct some character setups by adding abilities to drain resistances and willpower after leaving Cyseal.
I think I had 3 character deaths in my first attempt on normal shortly before the final battle, 2 of them in Cyseal in the first fights. The fights really tend to be on the easy side, although you might feel different as some enemies are hard (= long time) to kill, but at a closer look their damage output is often lacking (like Boreas).
The key is of course crowd control and battle setup - brute strength and blindly storming into the fihgts can be a way to desaster.