Starting as warrior I cannot recommend 2 handed weapons strongly enough. With skill investment you will get a large damage boost from strength gains. Also take Battle Rage.
I went this route and it's hellish fun. I ended up with Aidon as my initial companion (and for a long time) and I won't lie even on Normal it was quite challenging at times (I didn't buy Health Potions, massive overstocking yourself seems a bit Cheesy Way Out to play imo). Even though you can deal great damage, and to crowds, you're not getting that shield bonus (directly, plus a threshold bonus) or a bonus from higher Agility. So you take damage. Focus on the best Armour value armour and get a few points of Endurance and get Body Development.
I left Hirge for ages (mid-teen levels) and getting her was a night-and-day change in difficulty. Her drip-drip-drip-ing health into you rather than you see it inexorably ebb away...