It just speaks volumes of how pathetic basement dwellers can be GG ND, I am playing it now, and thus far, 8 hours in, I can tell it's a fucking masterpiece
How would you say the gameplay compares to the first game? Just in general. Better? Not that I disliked the gameplay in the original. I thought it was quite good.
Honestly, it is superior in every way, BUT do not expect a revolution. More like a very focused and well-executed evolution. The biggest change comes from the enemy AI. While the infected still pretty much behave the same way, human enemies are way more resourceful, and stealth is really not a solution for all conflicts. Most conflicts seem to be somewhat random, and the scripted ones are pretty obvious from the start, these are the ones that truly take the cake, and showcase ND's craftmanship at their best.
BUT, it does not reinvent the wheel. It feels somewhat like going from Uncharted 1 to 2. They saw that the formula worked, and they built several layers over it. I personally love it, and I am less than 1/3 into the story from what I can get.
Note: exploration is even more front and center this time around. Every building is an arena and one that can bring surprisingly varied results: maybe you get an arsenal, maybe some very depressing notes, and a handful of upgrade parts. It's a bit of a gamble every single time
Edit: the gunplay is something that benefits the most of the refinements. I play it on the middle difficulty (3/5) and there is no more spamming the enemy with meele attacks. If you run out of hiding, head-first, you die. Every shot trully matters. If you have 3 bullets, thanm make them matter.