Well colour me impressed. When I saw that Mr. Nash and Mr. Whitaker were working on another edition of RQ I was frankly underwhelmed. Could they really change enough to make the rules worth buying? Obviously I was the one lacking in imagination. Having finished reading (or at least heavily skimming) the rules I am very impressed.
I quite like the changes made to character generation. Instead of getting specific points in a skill, say Stealth 10 for a Primitive character you get a pool of culturally relevant skills to add points to. You also get to choose three skills from a group of Professional Skills (ones you cannot have without training like Navigation). You then add 100 points to any of these skills. This allows you to focus your character on areas your interested in while still being believable from a cultural viewpoint.
Next you get to do the same thing with an occupation and then finally you get 150 points you can spend as bonus points on skills you already have plus you may have the option depending on the GM to add another combat style or professional skill.
The other change that I like is the additional of levels of difficulty which substitute for the old modifiers. So instead of saying it's negative 20% to hit a running target with a ranged weapon the GM can say it's Hard to hit a running target which imposes a 1/3 penalty to the shooter (i.e. 60% becomes 40%). There's also a set of fixed values for the difficulty grades if you prefer avoiding all that math.
They've also added Passions for characters so your character can love someone or feel loyalty to something. Or of course Hate an enemy. You can use these Passions to modify your skills or act as opposing skills. For example say you're representing the city you love but have to interact with someone you Hate. You could do an opposed roll of your Loyalty and Hate to see which Passion guides you.
I quite the changes made to the magic systems available as well. Common Magic is now Folk Magic and the spells have been somewhat reduced in power but the colour surrounding them has been increased. Hard to explain but now Bladesharp instead of adding X points to your skill and damage rolls sharpens your weapon so it goes up one die level. For example a shortsword goes up to a D8 instead of a D6 for the duration of the spell. And stays sharp after the spell ends. Nice. The other four types of magic look really cool as well.
As other reviewers have mentioned this is an extrememely well-laid out set of rules with lots of suggestions for the would-be GM. There are very few typos mostly grammatical in nature.
A very worthy successor to the RuneQuest line. Bravo!
[5 of 5 Stars!]