Thanks for staying engaged. The first two seem somewhat related: characters feel less grounded because their options are siloed, and elements fee disconnected from the world due to the numbers being overtly arbitrary. Let me know if I got that wrong.I've been thinking over what makes PF2 feel like a rollplaying game (using Justice and Rule's term). I think it is because all the options are so siloed. If I play an elven rogue, I pick elf and rogue feats. Elves and rouges may or may not have a certain ability. If they don't, I am out of luck. I am not freeing my imagination to create a character, I am picking from a rather closed menu. Some abilities are based on skill feats available to anyone, but this could be many, many more.
The second thing is something I mentioned above, that the rules create a world that feel ephemeral. There is not enough connection between the rules and the in-world image. The best example here is the one i already used; the only difference between large and small animal companions is the size of the playing piece.
The third is even more nebulous. In PF1 we used squares to move, had a zone of control (reach and AoO) and generally played an advanced boardgame. But that was somehow ok. In PF2 the same thing crossed some threshold to me, it became too gamey. This might just be lack of practice, I've been playing 3E, 3.5, and PF1 for decades and PF2 around 4 months.
All these points are subjective, they are how I feel. I am happy people don't agree because I still genuinely like Paizo.
The thing with companions seems to be a matter of framing. Savage companions do get better stats, but they aren’t tied to the size change, so it reads like changing size does nothing. The section on companions could benefit from being written like PC customization (where it’s about what happens to you then the mechanics rather than just about the mechanics).
I agree on the siloing. In my list of changes posted earlier in this thread, I included building martials off of a shared chassis. The framework is there in the APG via martial archetypes, but it’s not available to 1st level characters unless you use the (apparently popular) free archetype variant.
The free archetype variant should have been reprinted in the APG and made the default (outside of PFS?). Archetypes were a game-changer in PF1. Giving classes a free archetype would help diversify builds while also making characters feel more grounded (by taking options from a shared pool).