There is never a tension after armor is gone, because your CC can't fail. In D:OS1 CC could always fail so you had to be prepared for that case.
It's because everyone's defensive options suck; El-whatever-the-fuck-his(or her)-name-is made a good point about the house being empty.
Larian half-assed the abilities and load-outs (player and environment side), coupled with a few other questionable decisions (scaling of gear, AP economy etc) leads to odd pacing.
The current armor system can work, but it is 100% dependent on abilities not being so... bleh. However, that would have required a lot more testing, iterations, and other resources (graphics and otherwise).