More of the same, which (depending on your tastes) is an amazing thing, or can be viewed as laziness.
For a change, it's nice to see a game that was a planned sequel, rather than a done and dusted one that's dug up and bled of every last possible penny.
Basically, if you love bloody combat, then you should at least rent this game. Enemies are dispatched with satisfying brutality, with various gory finishers available for the smaller creatures (via a "throw" command).
For the bigger creatures, a button mashing minigame pops up, of which quick reflexes are needed to succeed. Correct button presses equals blood splattered scenery, whereas mistakes result in Kratos being cut down to size. This minigame really does help keep you involved in the fights, unlike some other action adventures that make you feel you're doing the same old thing throughout the game, no matter what enemy you're fighting.
For those of you interested in the "adventure" part of the game, you may be a little disappointed. This game doesn't contain challenges anywhere near the magnitude of the puzzles in the original. But this may just be because as a player, you learn how the developer's "think" in creating the puzzles. A couple of them I have to admit i stumbled across the solution by messing around, so they possibly could have kept me busy for a while.
As far as lifespan goes, this isn't the longest of games, I myself finished it in a little of ten hours, but it does have a massive degree of replayabilty (collecting urns, unlocking costumes and various minigames). But once you've been through the game and experienced the amazing storyline, its just the combat that's holding your interest, and although it is unique, it can wear thin at times.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable game, and if you enjoyed the first there's no question that you'll enjoy the second.
As far as continuity goes, it's not strictly necessary to play the first (blanks are filled in, and this game can be treated as a seperate entity), but to enjoy the references and reappearances, the first will need to be played.
Lives up to the hype, and is definitely worth a play, and would look good in anyone's collection.