First I will say, I truly believe this is the first "Next Gen" game to be released on the PS3. CoD 4 was a good attempt, but the lack of AI ability was disappointing. This game really starts to utilize the raw power of the PS3.
So, after a 5 1/2 hour run through here's what I've noticed:
A prior post commented the graphics were so-so. They are actually quite good. Its the little things you don't look for that enhance the image. For example running through water, the ripples you leave, your reflection can be seen, the way the water splashes up. Going through a forest leaves are falling from trees and the trees have distinct texture. Open fields the tall grass moves when you run through it. The colors are rich (playing on a 1080 LCD TV), outfits have a high level of detail. The opening video is incredible.
The controls are a little more cumbersome than prior DW games. Not sure why, but controlling the camera angles while trying to fight is a little more awkward in this game. Takes a little getting use to, but there is the usual options menu to change. This menu cannot be accessed in game though, you have to do it before loading a campaign. Doesn't make sense.
Actual game play: I like not dealing w/ a group of personal guards. I dont think they added much in prior games. The horse option is a nice feature. Fairly easy up the rank of your horse, but they are really only good for sprinting across the map if the battle goes wrong.
Instead of items you can pick up a myriad of weapons w/ different attributes. Some may increase the power of your attacks, increase rate you fill your power, etc. Much better than scrolling through 4 menus of items trying to mix and match.
Skill is similar to FFX in that spending a point here or there will up defense +5 or attack +10 or give you a new skill, etc.
The fact that you can climb up ladders, certain walls, swim through rivers etc. adds a new element to the game. instead of having to run half-way around a map sometimes you can simply climb up a rope or swim down stream to get to the next area. Simple but adds a lot.
What really sells this game is its use of the AI power the PS3 can provide. Yes it can be a hack an slash, but your enemy starts to think for itself. Your allies will call for help if they are struggling. The AI can and will do the same. The AI will also adapt somewhat to your attack. If you run head on into a column of troops they will split and try to surround you. Corporals, Lieutenants, Majors will try to rally the enemy and reorganize them in battle.
So this requires some strategy beyond hacking and slashing. If you always sprint into battle slashing officers, mini-bosses and main bosses will stand and block your attacks then direct their soldiers to attack you from behind.
Finally, I found this game to be fairly challenging. Normal difficulty can provide quite a challenge if you're not careful because there is a lack of health (a lot fewer boxes to break open). Also you have limited number of save points you can use. There is more depth to this game. You can run through the quests and finish the game but then go back and complete challenges in each quest (kill 500 guys, capture point A and B in 10 min, etc.) to gain skill points. I have heard there are more characters to unlock and then play through the game with than any prior DW.
DW6 is starting to use the PS3 to its full potential. Its a great game, and I think it will have a high replay level down the road. 2 player mode works very well and of course even after you beat the game w/ every character in every mode, there are still the mini challenge games. These have been expanded a little and offer more variety than prior games.