Personally, I thought the environmental puzzles in Hellblade were a refreshing change of pace, thematically relevant & satisfying to solve on their own merits. They increased my feeling of engagement with the game.
I hope they don’t drop them for part 2. They seem like a part of Hellblade’s identity to me & I think it would feel weird if they were just gone suddenly in the sequel. I do enjoy puzzles though, so maybe I’m just biased
Going to spoiler this, just in case.
Hellblade spoilers below
The perma-death thing was a clever trick that Ninja Theory pulled on the player. The idea was obviously to increase tension & it worked on me. The first time I played Hellblade, I believed that death was final. I thought it was brilliant.