The new HUD and announcer is intense, adding a lot of tension to the already-exhilarating gameplay. Weapons are much more important in this iteration of the franchise, as it appears that ships are far less durable than before. Just after a few nicks on the wall, you'll see significant damage accumulate on your shields. Thankfully, you can absorb items by pressing O. We expect the increased power of the weapons to cause far more ships to explode during a race -- and that's just cool.
Another significant change is the way ships control. Even though we're familiar with the teams from Pulse, we were surprised to see how differently they control in this sequel. The ships are much more responsive, and the over-compensation we typically used in the previous game actually had us crashing into walls more often. Obviously, the easier controls will be better for those that found Pure a bit too difficult.
With better graphics, better presentation, better controls, a brand new screenshot mode that lets you capture images in-game all add up to an experience that betters its predecessors in every possible way. We're insanely jealous of our European friends that can play the game now. For the rest of us, we'll have to wait until next year.