I liked the predecessor and I like this game. The basic skeleton of van Helsing 1 and 2 are remarkably similar and work well in both games. Also, I think they've kept the quirky humor and atmostphere pretty much intact. Most of the new additions I think add variety and a freshness to the experience. The so-called "Tower Defense" missions work better this time, I think. The towers are more varied and pack a punch and combine in various interesting ways. Sending the generals on missions was fun too, though not very dramatic.
* Better graphics than the first and lots of much more interesting spell visuals
* More varied due to lair upgrades
* The chimera is useful
* Loot optimized GUI: both I and II need to be complimented on the GUI. It allows in almost all circumstances the kinds of comparisons you need to do. For instance, it's just great to be able to shop, then open Helsing's character tab to check up on DPS or whatever. All the panels that open are clearly optimized and always show just the right information (very few exceptions - it's impossible to get the details with crittical hit chance, mana regen, etc. while shopping.
* Nice new inventions in loot. Like the charged items, Ring of Guidance, etc.
* Short'ish game (but good replay nevertheless due to the different classes and builds possible)
* Somewhat weak ending, but at least they're consistent as van Helsing 1 was like that too
* Chimera needs to stop clawing at the invincible cat in the Lair (noisy, annoying)
* The nice new inventions could've been polished off a bit. Like ... can I recharge an item? (dunno)
* Just couldn't make Rune Crafting work. Seems I miss some essense capacity thingy ... no ideas how to buy or make one. Never inserted a rune in anything. Strange, since most of the game is so intuitive and simple
* Forging. Yet another feature I never found any use for in either game.
* ... and you don't even get to meet Vlados (like WTF)
Given the decent price it's a good buy, and if you like the genre and liked van Helsing 1 then this is a game worth buying. There's just enough new inventions to give it a familiar yet fresh feel. So it's a kind of "polished van Helsing 1". I think it'll fly this time, but the next installment should definitely do something extra to keep the attention of the fan base. For instance adding in some more choices and have those affect the story considerably (guys, it's not like you need to go all Witcher 2 on us, just throw us a bone relic...)