I never played the original, but played three 3 player games a few days ago. We all had a lot of fun. Very backstabby. Very random. Strategy felt limited and was always in flux with cards constantly changing in your hand. Not too balanced as cards aren't all equal and starting positions can vary in advantage. We didn't mind though since the games took under an hour. Random, crazy fun.
So you must have been doing something wrong, or you are just casual players as I can't see much of the randomness in this game except for drawing cards. Cards are somewhat balanced and it's visible during the first play who's better and who's not. There are some lucky shots though but it's all about skill.