well, they've brought back any item equipping on the buttons. i was happy to see it again - being able to put the sword on either button (or unequip altogether) was great. but they took away item combining! in LoZ:LA, you could (say) equip the bombs and the bow, and shoot bomb-arrows at faraway targets. using sword and sheild buttons simultaneously, you could defend front attacks (like octorok rocks) and bump away enemies, if you didn't poke them with the sword.
on the other hand, there were attacks in MC that you could only do if you had certain items equipped. for instance, the downthrust attack could only be done with the sword and cape. then there's the sword and boots dash attack.
proper sword arcing.
along with 4S and LttP, you now cover about 180' arc in front of yourself. in the gb/gbc games, you had a crappy 90' quadrant-only attack, and for some reason two of the direction attacks were the same quadrant. that meant you had an area you couldn't attack into. good to see this covered.
all other attack ranges.
again they chose to have a 4-direction attack system. man, that really cramps my style. for some things, like block-pushing puzzles or the digging claws, i can understand that you'd only want to do things in 4 directions. but shooting my arrows in only one of 4 directions? 8 directions is even too limited in that respect, but its better than 4. same goes for the gust jar and any of the other ranged items. come on! you can do 8 directions without adding hardly any extra animation.
items are still useless.
you get a total of 12 useable items in the game, not counting the bottles. of those 12 items, the sword, boomerang, and bow are the only reasonably useful items. the sheild and cape are marginally useful, but not really. it would be wrong to not supply a sheild, but i only used it against the darknuts. if you need to avoid a ranged attack, just move. then there's the boots and ocarina, and they're only useful for moving around the world quickly. that means 3 of 12 items are useful.
the 'useless' items are useless in my mind because there is only a small number of situations where they're actually put to use. against some monsters you have to use the gust jar to get them to a state where you can use your sword on them. other monsters need you to use the sheild to flip them, and then you can attack them with your sword. at least they didn't overdo item forcing. if i had to use the gust jar on 1/2 of the enemies in the game, i'd be kinda pissed.
well, i'm not exactly sure how to give this an overall rating. you run around and find a crapload of kinstone peices, and then try to find people to match them up with. the first problem is that you eventually run out of people to match them with. there's a specific number of times you can match up kinstones, and when you've found the last matchup, you're all done. just another puzzle, right?
second problem is, why do all of these people have kinstone peices and no matches? on the flip side, why can't you ever find matching peices yourself? then, why can't you find an infinite amount of gold monsters? they only ever drop money, so who cares about them? they're just an interesting thing to find.
its nice that they tell you things about them as you play through the game. you don't know anything about them when you start, and by the end, you should have learned enough about them to know exactly how they work.
its is pretty nice. you get to zoom in on the particular region you're in, and plan a route through it. on top of that, if you matched kinstone peices, and you forget where they spawned the thinger, it puts a marker on the map for you. getting around the map isn't terribly hard either, once you get the ocarina and have the wind markers open.
you meet various trainers as you work through the game that will give you new abilities. its nice to be able to make use of these without having to equip an item to do them, even though most of them are sword techniques. there are 8 techniques to learn, and i use a bunch of them regularly - the beam, the spin attack, and the roll-thrust. having a variety of moves is something that really does make a difference. too bad you couldn't lock down your direction and have a variety of attacks at your disposal, like in OOT.. side strokes, and forward thrust.
i'll wrap it up here. those are the Big Ones for me right now.