I've not read all 65 pages of comments here, so some of this might have been touched on elsewhere, but I'm not troubled by a small party size. It forces some creativity about who you use for which encounters, which in turn means you have to make better use of each character's available abilities. If I could run a party of six instead of four, I'd probably only make use of one or two abilities from each character 90% of the time. The smaller party forces me to make broader, better use of the available resources.
I disagree with the idea that origin companions are lame as a concept. They're the people you meet along the way, each with their own personality, agendas, etc. When every companion is home-rolled, that can be great for a specific playthrough concept you want to do, but since it's impossible to give a home-rolled companion a personality, dialog, etc, that aspect of the game vanishes. Sure, I'll eventually cook up a party tailor-made for a few specific difficult encounters at higher difficulty settings, but I absolutely want to get to know the stock companions, do their quests, see how they react to different choices, etc.
Also, could you imagine the howls of outrage if a AAA crpg *didn't* offer origin companions? It would be a sin on par with not having a rogue class, it's just too standard a concept to chuck away without an obviously-compelling reason.