I’ve noticed this too. I wonder if it’s a matter of language, though. Do spells like shackles or charm actually get blocked by armor, or does armor give you a chance to resist the spells? It’s unclear to me, but if the latter, that would explain some of this.
The initiative system though is probably at the root of combat frustration for me. There are times when all you can do is sit there and watch a seemingly endless parade of enemies whack on you without being able to do anything. And when they get to go first, sometimes it’s all over before your first character gets to move.
That, and the combats where you start off with, say, four enemies, but as you kill them, four more spawn. And then four more! Or, they die, but they don’t; they just respawn, only stronger! Stuff like that. Oh, and some of the (otherwise very nicely done) interactions with NPCs that generate skill checks will, if you fail the check or checks, devolve into a no-win combat situation requiring a reload. And as some of these encounters are unavoidable, do either to scripting or pathing of your characters, it’s kind of frustrating.
Nevertheless, the game is wicked good.