I liked the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing quite a bit, so I was excited for II. The original game had its problems, but had enough atmosphere and quirky humor and story for me to enjoy it. Where VH excelled, VH2 does not.
1) Game's atmosphere is beautiful. I particularly like the outside areas. Unfortunately, very little of your gameplay experience takes place outside.
1) They attempted to fix the lackluster skill tree from the original game. The original lacked choices and most of the skills were useless. They did a complete 180 and the skill tree still sucks. Now, it is oversaturated with no coherent structure. Certain skills unlock other skills but have no function in relation to those skills. For example, Want to build around ice damage? Pick one skill on the right, arbitrarily attached to some fire and lightning. Then, try to pick a skill on the left, arbitrarily attached to other random skills. Makes no sense.
2) Balance. Game balance is awful. I played the original game on the hardest difficulty [I play most ARPGs on the hardest difficulty]. VH2 seems to have mobs that are weak [on any difficulty] and mobs that do an incredible amount of dmg on any difficulty other than "casual". Even if I built my character around heavy defensive passives/tricks ranged/casting things [which tend to do more dmg in general] hit BRUTALLY hard. There's also the occasional 1 shot from a challenging to see ability when swamped in a pack of mobs.
Edit: I've now played through the game with a second character. My first was a thaumaturge that really struggled with balance. My second was the original hunter character, but built around spell-casting. I played my second time on hard/heroic difficulties - stacked the mana shield defensive ability and some other defensives, and could face-roll pretty much anything so long as I had mana. Again, certain skills are way more powerful than others, effectively making the oversaturated skill tree still feel problematic.
Edit Two: Played more on the thaumaturge on heroic. Balance is really what is holding the game back. Built my character around abilities that could do damage while moving and crit chance/crit dmg [crit chance around 32-35%, crit dmg maxed @ 450%], and high HP, made heroic pretty easy. The problem, though, is sometimes you just get 1 shot from off-screen, even with high damage reduction. Difficulty basically scales like this: Mobs have higher health making it take longer to kill them. High dmg abilities do insane dmg and can result in 1 shots. The longer a mob lives, the greater chance of a 1 shot. Not sure how they can really fix this, but it makes build diversity fairly limited. At a certain point you just have to be able to do damage while moving and you have to spec heavily into defense.
3) Storyline/Quests. This is really my main qualm with the game. The storyline of this game is really disappointing. Maybe the storyline isn't disappointing [as it makes sense in the context of VH1], but the way it is executed is disappointing. The questing sucks. Very little variation, mostly based around tower defense. The vast majority of your missions are "secure X, Y, Z points by battling through streams of enemies. This was my least favorite type of mission in VH and it seems to be what the entirety of VH2 is built around. If I wanted to play Tower Defense, I'd play Tower Defense. The final boss fight, spoiler alert, is not even a fight. You literally kill streams of enemies until his force field's HP hits 1. He then blows up and the game ends on a pathetic attempt at a cliff hanger. I understand the attempt at a military strategy/real-time invasion, but it simply fails to be enjoyable.
4) End Game: It's about what you expect. You get "random" dungeons [just reskinned areas of the main story] and tasks to complete within them. Some of them also have interesting things that makes them substantially more difficult [Your companion won't help, can't regen life/mana, etc]. I did a few of them on heroic difficulty. They were a challenge. The quirky interactions don't take place between Katarina/Helsing so it's basically just the mindless challenge of slaughtering enemies with certain affixes that make the already poorly balanced gameplay more difficult. I'm glad they added this feature. Unfortunately, it does not do much for me because I've already done a lot of this in Path of Exile AND Path of Exile's system is better. All in all, I think it will be fun for people who haven't already beaten the model to death in other games, but wasn't real fun for me.
5) Multiplayer: Much like during the launch of the first game [in which it wasn't even functional], multiplayer is quite buggy. In fact, I've only successfully joined 1 game [I've tried to join many], and the host disconnected shortly thereafter, rendering my efforts obsolete. I've also tried hosting multiple times. I will get a message that "x is trying to join your game", but they are never successful in doing so. Not sure if it is a bug, a lack of stable connection, or what, but multiplayer seems quite hit or miss.
If you did not play the first game, don't buy this. The first is a much more complete experience.
If you loved the first and are desperate to see where the story goes, buy this.
If you loved the first for what it was, and aren't too attached to the story, don't buy this.
The game simply lacks what made the first game worth playing - the quirky nature, originality, and great atmosphere - while not really fixing any of the detracting factors of the first game [lack of real diversity via skill tree].