So much has changed since the last trip to the Animus that it's hard to know where to begin. While Assassin's Creed may boast that "nothing is true, everything is permitted", it is certainly true that this sequel feels like a new monster in comparison to its predecessor.
Let's begin with combat, as that was one of the top complaints of the first game. While there are some foes that can easily be dispatched with a simple counter-attack, many are impervious to that solution. Ezio, Altair's replacement, is now capable of using a large number of weapons. As you progress through the game you can purchase better swords, hammers or mauls to use as a primary weapon and daggers as a side arm. Each blade has a different set of statistics, so how well they deflect blows away or how quickly you can counter varies from weapon to weapon.