I'm fairly surprised and impressed. There's a counter attack, critical attack and different enemy conditions that allow for you to do more damage or take more damage.
Story mode is better than DW7 which is great, they even fixed my issues with DW7 Story mode which was only allowing you to use on character. Now you can choose from 3 characters, of course they have to be a part of the current mission.
I haven't dabbled in Ambition mode yet, Free Mode makes a return and now they have a crafting system for weapons which I also have touched.
Seriously, they put a lot of thought into this entry, much more than any other entry.
I play a lil bit of everything on a lil bit of everything. Not changing this until we get a Viewtiful Joe 3 or HD collection of VJ 1&2 (started 8/14/12)