I don’t know exactly how far I am in the game. Maybe 2/3?
I don’t think there’s anything spoilery about the boss’s name but I’ll tag it anyway, (I’ve been very cautious reading this thread to avoid spoilers for myself), I’ve just defeated Experiment Z-57.
I definitely agree with the criticisms of the level design—unlocking lots of the abilities that aid exploration still doesn’t really “open up” the world. You’re still constrained by teleporters and trains and elevators zipping you back and forth between areas, which make those separate areas feel less like real spaces, and more like tangled corridors that overlap but don’t actually share an area.
I’ve also started getting frustrated with the bosses. Starting with Escue, it felt like there’s been a difficulty spike, and I was ready to tear my hair out by the end of the boss mentioned above that I just beat.
I’m not exactly sure how I’d change the fights though. When I did finally beat that boss, it did feel satisfying because I’d learned the patterns and slowly gotten better at staying safe through each of the many attack styles. But there’s too much frustrating trial and error to get there—the attacks are too powerful, there’s just a little too much downtime between attempts (loading screen, zip through a morph ball tube, skippable cutscene but you still have to wait a moment as the scene starts before you can skip).
I don’t know what would improve that. Maybe give the boss more HP, but also make the attacks weaker? That would allow for more mistakes in each attempt, but hopefully without making the fight easier. But then I guess if you’re adjusting the boss’s resilience, you’ve got to rethink ammo limits for missiles and stuff too, so it’s tricky.
The point is I don’t mind learning from my mistakes, but I’d like a little more room to learn in each attempt without being punished quite so severely for slip-ups.