Exalted. A great concept, and a great system with regards to the first edition.
The second edition just keeps on giving!
The main point to make here is that the setting is the same. Unlike the World of Darkness rebuild, this game does reset history in order to improve itself. Fans of the original Exalted product should enjoy this fact.
This also means that a lot of the original material is easy to translate to the new game, as most of the original charms and ideas are still there.
So what makes it different?
Well, the charm trees make a little more sense now. They are, in some cases, more robust, but in general they are easier to follow and understand. I am not sure I care for the use of colored gems to show relative needs for skills and essence, but it is something to get use to.
Combat has been given an interesting rework. Initiative is fluid now, based on relative character speed as well as the actions you wish to perform. In fact, as one of the Exalted, there are times when you will be able to easily complete two or three maneuvers before your opponent can move. This even applies to using combos and charms in battle, as these now have times attached to them.
The basic idea of combat initiative.
Everyone rolls their initiative. The person with the highest number of successes becomes the Zero point. Everyone subtracts the successes from the Zero points successes to establish their reaction point. They cannot attack until that particular count comes up.
Two fighter roll initiative. Fighter A gets 3 successes, fighter B gets 6 successes. Fighter B goes first, and in three counts, fighter A can perform an action.
As the combat goes on, the initiative will fluctuate, allowing an ever flowing performance of actions, charms, and combos that seem more like a real battle than your standard 'I hit, You hit' systems.
On Count 5, Fighter A takes and action that adds two to his count. He can act again at Count 7. Fighter B cannot act until Count 8, so fighter A will be able to take two actions before Fighter B can take one.
It is a very inventive and interesting look at combat.
However, as you see, it is going to take a little to get use to. And this is one of the major distractions to the new system. Combat.
The first few times you jump into combat, you and the storyteller should go slow, using a chart to help everyone see when they will be able to go again. In fact, this is one of the main ways the folks at White Wolf recommend combat be tracked, and they give examples of this in the book.
This really is the only major concern I have found in the book so far, and it is a concern that will go away once you have participated in a few combats.
Very little has changed, but enough has to make this book is worth the money. It is good for both the player and the collector.