The map design argument i feel is too opinionated to be taken seriously, i don't know about you but i thought the rainy boneyard spoke, the tree level was gorgeous, the castle defense felt great, the desert chapters all felt unique, and the walhart maps were extremely fun, and i could continue into the paralouges but i won't.
1. Map design is probably one of the least opinionated areas of strategy-game design. You can analyze map objectives, secondary objectives, enemy types / variety, and environment without adding too much of your own personal bias into things.
2. You're conflating map design with map aesthetic. Awakening is a beautiful game, and the locations of the maps are varied and look great. But tell me if you see a pattern here: the boneyard map is an open field with some pillars in the middle; the tree level is an open field with some puddles lying around; the first Walhart map is an open field; the desert map against Aversa is an open field; etc. Most of the maps lack meaningful secondary objectives or creative enemy placement that encourages strategy -- it's just a) throw the player into an open field, and b) spring as many enemies at him as you can. It's dull and pales in comparison to games like FE5 and FE7.
If you meant from a strategetic view they didn't make me think i will also disagree, i still had to watch for archers, block chokepoints, use walls to your advantage, form groups, bait certain enemies. etc.
This is obviously what I meant, yes. And if you have specific examples, then by all means.
And all games will have broken characters, fe7 isn't free from this, its as balanced as you want it to be. Lunatic mode in awakening may need a little expert touch but with some pairings it can be pulled off
...Lunatic is balanced in the opposite direction -- it's far too easy. Even Lunatic+ can be broken in half after the first handful of RNG-heavy maps. And FE7 without Rankings has good balance, but with Rankings has the best balance of any SRPG I've played. Feel free to challenge this if you'd like, since I've yet to hear a compelling counter argument.