More surprisingly, the overall difficulty has been ramped up, which is good; while the original edition's precise aiming and easy-to-win fights made you feel like a badass, it also made it way too easy to just mow through rival families. So while you'll still have all the cool abilities - like being able to rapidly target your foes and drop them with aimed shots to the knees, arms or head - your enemies are now better at coping with them. They're smarter, they'll defend their interests with much beefier goons and they won't put up with you starting fistfights with them for too long before whipping out the shotguns, honor be damned. And if you get them riled up enough start a gang war, they'll go crazy, hunting you in cars and actively firebombing businesses that pay you protection. And they usually won't stop until you die or pay an FBI agent to make them stop.
You won't be totally helpless, however; earn a rank in the Corleone family by completing missions, and you'll be able to hire some family goons to watch your back for a while and help you rough up shopkeepers for protection money. You'll also have access to weapon upgrades that weren't in the first one, and you'll even be able to buy a few cheats off of Xbox Live.
Not everything has been overhauled, though - the six-car-wide avenues of the game's New York are laughable if you've seen the real thing, and the enclosed, grid-like design of the city feels stiff and outdated when compared to the nearest free-roaming alternative, Saints Row.