I personally do not have nearly as much... enthusiasm for these issues, but I more or less agree with everything. Attributes are boring, the initiative system just doesn't work, the armor system is too binary, and the talents are indeed a bit of a crapshoot (though I do think they are on the whole still better than D:OS1). I don't find the defensive abilities nearly as terrible in concept as the OP, but they do feel rather halfbaked and simply undertuned. And yet, they are still somehow some of the more interesting abilities to choose from, if fairly bad in practice. I'd say nearly every single ability is fairly uninspired.
If I couldn't improve most of these things with mods, I'd definitely be a lot more disappointed. If there weren't so many cool skills, the gameplay would be pretty bland. Overall, most of the new systems feel like a step backward from D:OS1. I totally understand the move to simplify the AP system, and the armor system felt like the start of something awesome, but it seems like the attributes didn't survive the transition to the new AP system, and the armor system was never fleshed out out enough. The memory system broke the old abilities, and those never really recovered.
All the major design decisions make a lot of sense on paper, but in practice, things seem watered down. =/
My solutions to these grand problems:
Abilities should improve skills in their tree in interesting ways. Necromancy might increase the damage multiplier of Shackles of Pain and Decaying Touch, for example.
Attributes need more effects in general. I've advocated for attributes that are at least vaguely useful to every class, like in Pillars of Eternity.
Armor system needs nuance, either with a return of saving throws, or ways to increase armor penetration. For example, Necromancy could also increase the % of armor that Shackles of Pain or Decaying Touch could penetrate.
Initiative changes in OP sound interesting, would like to see that in action. Something like that could even be moddable if we had the old initiative system as a base.
Talents are more a set of smaller problems than some larger problem. I'll definitely be scripting new effects onto existing talents (for what it's worth, I think ambidextrous is a great concept, and it kind of makes sense. Try throwing a grenade with your non-dominant hand and see how quick and accurate you are, eh?)