I'm playing in normal and it's been fine so far. Just gotta remember to use ur bombs and traps and such. Sword buffs are very important too, obviously. It's all about preparation. The game is crazy good.
Funny you mentioned the traps, as I particularly never found a proper way to use them. They were somewhat slow to place and by the time you meet enemies, they are already somewhat aggressive so I would never find the proper moment to use them. The only time I thought they were good were in the arena where you have some room to run around.
You can cheese the fuck out of the first real boss by using all the traps you pick up around Flotsam. That's the only way I ever beat the son of a bitch. :P