Just wanted to say that I felt something was lacking from this game the whole time I've been playing. I've only just beaten the 1st chapter after about 8 hrs, but I picked nightmare mode on my 1st playthrough which dragged things out. My feelings so far on the game are:
1. I have to say 'what puzzles?'. Nowhere have I been wracking my brains on what to do next. You just have to remember to hit the shrink button regularly. I've managed to pick up every memory after beating the 1st chapter, didn't miss any.
Rather, so far, the game has all been about the combat, and about occasionally missing some platform and getting to respawn immediately nearby and try again, the latter of which I don't consider to be gameplay at all.
2. Nightmare difficulty forces you to harness the controls and study attack patterns better so as to have a solid defense. I'm playing the pc version and I find the controls awkward, so add some fake difficulty points there, too. Probably doesn't help that keyboards often don't register multiple presses of certain keys. But I've gotten a harness on it now; throwing bombs, dash-spamming, and attacking from afar. The key is not hitting buttons at the wrong time, that commit you to finishing your attack and leaving you wide open.
Two battles were punishingly difficult until I figured out the right strategy, because they caused me to respawn right at the start of the level and negotiate it all again (and break open barrels) before reaching the battle that killed me.
One battle in particular added another 3 hours of play-time. It's the one near the end of 'Cranking up and pressing down'. I don't know if it differs in normal mode, but you had to avoid killing a certain number of the insect-spawning things or it would unlock a teapot.
The huge delays felt like old-school 'arcade' difficulty and I kinda like how it made me shout at my monitor in frustration like I used to when I was a kid. The delays between the battle forced me to think and refine my strategy, as I couldn't simply grind out 100+ attempts in the same time-span if I were respawning right at the fight until I lucked it out. I felt like I'd acquired a new ability in my fingers at the end of it.
3. Those ruins look like a rip-off of 'No-face', a creature in the anime "Spirited Away" that eats people.
As to why I'm posting in this thread, well I saw the trailer and I doubt it was a trailer made specifically to contain cut content. In other words, anything you see in the trailer that was cut is happenstance. Which makes me think a great deal more was cut, still.
I have a feeling this game would have been utterly amazing, i. e. not just loved by a core fan-base but by everyone. The cuts I suspect to have happened have converted me into yet another EA hater, whereas before I could take or leave them. It seems artistic integrity, or the idea of backing off and letting people create the best, has no reality to them.
I'm not a fan of the 1st game (because I've never played it) and whilst I initially found the game fun I've grown bored of its repetitiveness. I feel that what we got with the game was a mere echo of what could have been, and that a lot of the level-design was last minute substitutes. Once you've got a bunch of fundamental building-blocks modelled and animated (steam-chutes, floating platforms, fake sub-bosses that are regular enemies, etc. ) it's fairly easy to rush out a bunch of levels to substitute for something better that was meant to be.
I also swear Dormouse and March-hare was meant to be a true boss--but conveniently the collapse of the machine at the end could be interpreted as their own incompetence rather than having been defeated, hiding the seams, so their cutting that battle was a no-brainer.
What I'm also acutely aware of, and this makes me sad, is how EA may be 'right', if that's the word--this game probably made money for them, earned them the quick buck they were looking for, and fans seem satisfied or even love the game--and if none of us had seen the leaked trailer we'd be none the wiser as to what could have been.
I myself may polish off my playthrough in the next few years, though at the end of the first chapter, and having just faced more of the same enemies at the beginning of the second (and repeated themes like a slide with teeth), it hasn't made me hungry for more.