Only had a little time to play, so very initial impression.
Overall feels like another step forwards, had a "this is more like what it should have been" moment, when I had a random event pop up, which I could only beat because of the mace I found a little earlier in an explored hut. Made the RPG part a lot more alive. Having the champs rarer (by intent or just my luck) and most troops you build in groups made my sov also feel more special.
I liked what I saw of the economy, more careful planning definitely needed up front. I do think some of the initial formula for train times and mats might need to be tweaked for peasants to get them out quicker --needing a good part of your starting pop and plenty of mats now + 10 or more turns to build limits exploration or protection options at start. Another area I noted feeling slow now was research. I like that times were bumped up overall, but might make the initial curve on the tech side to be a bit lower. Since I can't spam studies now, its a lot of turns before I can research much.
A few other things: the AI I ran into spammed a lot of cities (pioneers were cheap compared to military units?) Had about 6 cities before I had 2, and wandering monsters seemed ignored their lone pioneers, or they were getting lucky or something. Just feels like you have to rush a few cities quickly or fall behind early. Enemy units being in singles instead of group stacks now that your units train in stacks feels a bit odd, might have things like spiders group? A few crashes in an hour of playing, which is more than the official builds.
But at least for the major changes so far I liked em, just need a bit of balance to clean it up. I'm sure thoughts will change as I get past the initial game, and will be interested to see if the economy continues to feel tight overall, or if things start to fall apart once a good sized kingdom is formed up.