The first thing you probably want to know is; have they sorted out the controls? As this was the biggest problem in the first game, especially for younger players. Well the good news is they have, and you now get three control options.
First is steering using the control stick on the nun-chuck with an auto jump, second also uses the control stick for horse movements but allows you to press the A button to time your jumps. The third control method is similar to last years, but far far improved - instead of raising the controls up and down and ending up flapping all over the place, you simply twist the nun-chuck to turn left and twist the remote to turn right (there is an option for left handed people to switch these around) Jumping is a simple flick using both (either up or down) This control method is much tighter and far more responsive than in the previous title.
Another worthy mention is that you now have a small zone area before each jump. So if your approach is too tight an angle, the horse will refuse and rear up, or even throw you off completely.(This never happened in the last game, it would jump the tightest of angles or just stop dead if your approach was too slow) As you enter the zone it gradually fills green and this is when you need to jump, go too early and again your horse could refuse or clip and knock the jump, giving you a 4 point fault. Speed is controlled with the trigger buttons, B to speed up, Z to slow down - using these you alternate between stand, walk, trot, canter and gallop!
After the disappointment of last years title there has been much improvement made. As you can see from the video it actually has a storyline to it this time, graphics are very colourful, with a bold, almost 'cartoon-like' style which works really well and is solid. The grooming elements and general horse care are far more involving, and actually take place in the stable and not on a tiny pedestal. Picking and cleaning the horses hooves is cleverly done and works very well.
There is much to unlock; various tack, clothing, videos of real life events. There are six different save slots. Multiplayer is quite fun, although you all look the same & ride a white horse, it does allow for rider names so you know who's turn it is. You can have up to 8 players taking turns & add any events and venues you have unlocked. After each event there is a leaderboard with everyone's scores on.
Another improvement is being able to use the remote's pointer abilities to input names (much easier and quicker than that awkward old wheel interface)
There are a few downsides though, you have to be the girl you see in the video (there is no option to be a male rider, even in multiplayer) - customizing is minimal - skin, eye & hair colour (as well as clothes you unlock). You can put in your own name & name your horse (although during the cut scenes you will still be called Emma) The horse you get is standard, there are no breeds to choose from (you can change the coat and mane/tail colour, change tack) Commentary during events can get quite repetitive.
But these are minor niggles and after the massive overhaul it received this time, we can only hope the series continues to improve. I'd like to see online multiplayer competitions, an award ceremony for the winner/top three in multiplayer. More customization (male rider option) and maybe some split screen multiplayer games.
My conclusion is, if you didn't get on with the first game due to the poor controls then you'll enjoy this game much more, especially younger gamers. There has been much added in and it is generally a far superior and better presented package. I even managed to pick it up for less than the old game.