I think the story is better than the story from awakening, but I agree with the rushed feel.
and yes with the new RNG (which misses 99% hit attacks) the gameplay did get a lot more random >< the new pairup is much better, no more enemy reinforcements that kill you as soon as they appear.
I think in general the characters also got better, especially for birthright (why is everyone in Nohr crazy?). Some of the parent-child supports are also really good, but that's always the fixed-parent-child supports the variable-parent child supports are incredibly generic (Velouria-Camilla supports: *hug**hug* leave and be safe *hug**hug**hug**hug*)
and yes unbalanced teams, grinding helps a bit, but it is so hard to level dark mages >< if only they would ever hit something...
(I finished birthright and am playing conquest right now, haven't had the time for revelations yet)