Just finished it the other day. Its definitely a upgrade on all aspects from the previous game. Here's what I think about it.
World & biomes definitely the highlight of the game, I liked the variety and the challenges each biome gives.
Felt like a gigantic world to explore, the "hotspots" or POIs were much dense with less void between them. In retrospect they are like, really packed together. But for a person exploring the world for the first time, feels a lot more bigger than it really is
More surface exploration was both refreshing from being underwater and I liked the challenge of keeping warm until you unlock the snow suit, zooming around with Hover bike was so much fun.
I especially enjoyed earlygame, making some oxygen tubes to the northern kelp caves where I got some useful upgrade. I forget what it was but it felt important to make such effort since I didn't have much at that point.
Story was all round better I liked the voice work and all the banter between the protagonist and Al-AN, not to forget all the voice logs which I found interesting to hear.
Instead of finding just derelict stations and ships, finding another survivor was refreshing.
Both the design and movement of all the life forms. Fish properly look like fish with all the wonderful fins and tentacles and whatever things each fish has attached to their bodies, merrily flopping around.
I felt the medium sized hostile creatures frightening! Especially the spiky one thrashing around with its 4 webbed feet when it's coming at you, gets your blood pumping.
There were less items and upgrades than in the last game but I used almost every item & upgrade in the game and they felt they had some use one way or the other. I ignored quite a bit of some upgrades & items in the last game since they felt unuseful.
Flares for instance did not have any use in the last game, they now they repel those furry polar reptiles which are really hard to deal with otherwise.
I felt really bad after knifing one to death before I figured that out. I made one nest of orphans out of my ignorance.
Seaglide radar! It's a lifesaver.
Leviathan creatures, all of them. They felt too agressive, predictable and just plain nuisance. I did not figure out any tactic how to repel them or avoid them in the last section of the game.
Leviathan attack just felt like a 5 sec pause of the gameplay resulting of me repairing my seatruck in the end of it.
Also the leviathan on top of the ice seemed to lack something and usually felt unfair for me to not be able to avoid getting hit by it.
Delta station. I did not figure out how to get there. That one cave entrance, seriously. I did three trips to the center island and I did not found a way to get to the radio tower until I searched from wiki where I can find a modification station.
Cave with red crystals. Again I failed to connect the dots and missed completely how to get there. felt 2 hours just aimlessly looking every place I thought I haven't seached yet until I looked it up.
Aside from me being bad at videogames.
Overall better game, in some aspects steps better, in other aspects strides better than the last one which I thought was one of the best games released in 2018.