Alright, here's my response to the criticism by Black_Elk

>The party is smaller than I would have liked
That's fair. I would have preferred a 6-man party too, but the 4-man party is more in vogue with video games nowadays, and it falls directly in the center of what DnD 5e is balanced for, saying that the average campaign is usually balanced for 3-5 players, with 4 being a happy medium.

>companions are fewer in number
Larian is going for a quality over quantity approach with their companions, making them very interactable and having big personal quests. We also know that more companions are to come, these 5 are just the ones we have starting out. Baldur's Gate has always had a lot of really cool companions, but usually they haven't been this involved with the world.

>classes available to play as a PC right now are very limited
That's an EA thing. The other 6 classes in the PHB will be released as EA goes along.

>the variety of Backgrounds doesn't really make up for the lack of variety in core Races/Classes (or the subs within those, like having a variety of magical schools/priest domains etc.)
Again, this is an EA thing. More races will come, at least the three others in the PHB, and possibly others.

>Char creation and aesthetic customization options like heads, voices, or even clothing/armor sets to define the character's look are pretty limited
Oh yeah totally. I hope they expand upon character creation as time goes on.

>level cap is lower than I'd have thought
Again, Early Access. It's a level 1-4 adventure, fighting goblins and hags.

>There is a good number of spells, about 80 altogether, but the spellcasting UI has a way of making this seem on the low end, or maybe its just because some spells are clearly better, so I only use like half of them.
To be fair, certain spells have *always* been better than others. More will be added as time goes on. Perhaps the reason for the low-looking count is the fact there is little overlap between the Cleric and Wizard spell lists, so right now they each have, like, 40.

>Right now it feels like there are maybe 50-60 NPCs and about as many unique combat encounters on offer
There are definitely more than that. Not a ton of them are super significant, but you can have a lot of one-off encounters with the NPCS. the Tieflings and Goblins especially have a lot of little conversations.

>Basically going to the wiki or and then looking at the aggregate material, its not as much as I'd hope from a first Act. Unless the second and third act are way more expansive. Or if this is like a 5 act game, rather than the 3 acts everyone seems to assume. About 25 hours worth of gameplay is what they said. Its hard to know how much bigger its going to get with the full release, since the EA is being presented more like a teaser.
The areas are, however, highly detailed. Of those 25 hours, you can spend a good few of them at the Druid Grove just messing around. That list also groups the entire Underdark section as one giant area. I'd say that Act 1 was suitably long imo. This is also considering that it isn't the full of the act, as the Githyanki Creche, the Shadow-Cursed Lands, and Moonrise Towers (Which, by the way, was confirmed by Kevin VanOrd, one of the devs, to be part of Act 1.) are totally missing from the game right now.

I don't have a ton to say about the rest of it, but this was a well-constructed criticism. I find some issue, and I hope that as time goes along, most of this will be addressed!

I honestly hope you have a most marvelous day!