I had some hands-on time with DA2 at PAX and I came away pretty impressed. I will say, though, that there is a definite console focus this time around. In fact, it was playable on both PS3s and 360s but wasn't even shown on the PC. If you've played a console version of the original then the combat should be pretty familiar, actually. You can still pause the action and assign commands with the radial menu. The biggest difference is just the pace of the combat. In the first game if you pressed the attack button you first wander up to the selected enemy, do your attack animation (which was usually pretty slow), and then damage was recorded. The big difference in this game is that the response to button presses is much faster, and furthermore repeatedly pressing it results in combos with varied attack animations. So there is a little bit of the action game aspect to it, but not in an intrusive way. The faster pace and instant response to button presses seems well-suited to playing with a controller, but I'm not entirely sure how well it will work on the PC.
Oh, and the graphics and framerate are both significantly improved compared to the console versions of DA:O.
The framed narrative approach to the story is interesting and I think potentially a good thing, but I didn't spend enough time with the game to really see how it will all work. The claim is that this way they can tell a more involved story that spans 10 years of time by jumping just to the interesting and important events, which I suppose is true but I'm a little afraid that this will mean sacrificing exploration and side quests aspects that I actually do enjoy. Anyway, I am by no means sure of that. We'll have to wait and see.