I liked that the primary challenge was whether you would save your crew.
In theory it"s great, yeah. But given that they essentially wrote Wrex (the best sidekick) out of the story because it would have been too complex to integrate his life/death in the sequels, well... That should let you know what to expect in ME3. His and Liara's demotion to mere cameos is the irredeemable sin of ME2 to me, with the tepid final boss a distant second.
I only lost one member (Tali) and enjoyed a happy romance with Garrus. It was much more challenging, which I really enjoyed as an extension of ME1 (more of a big expansion pack than a standalone game). On to ME3.
Awww, poor Tali. I got everyone out myself back in the day. It's funny what you say about the difficulty though, because that's definitely not how I remember it. They must have really gimped ME1 to make sure people didn't give up. Anyway, enjoy ME3!