I definitely have a mental block about this game. There are things I don't like about it, sure, but I've played other games with these same qualities and have not had quite the same aversion. Hell, some of them I even really enjoyed.
I'm not sure it's fruitful to try and get to the bottom of this phenomenon. There's no other way that could go than for me to make a long list of petty complaints and that would be dull as fuck to write about (let alone read).
Instead, I'm just going to try and focus on how good I'll feel when I'm finally done with this game. I've dreaded it for a long time now, perhaps unjustly, but not mistakenly. It really is as difficult to play as I imagined it would be. It would be reasonable to speculate that I created this trap for myself, and that my gloomy pessimism in fact made this critically well-received turn-based strategy game more of an emotional quagmire than its gameplay really warranted.
I'm open to the idea that I'm the one who's wrong here (although I don't know how anyone can stand the unit-movement UI, it is seriously terrible). However, even so, I have to accept the world that's presented to me as real, don't I? Within the limits of my bubble of subjective perception, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is a burden to play for 20 hours, even if 80% of the world disagrees.
That's just going to make the finish all the sweeter, though. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.