1) Two-Player Split Screen of Awesome You can see the new split screen in action during the vid we posted earlier. But in case you can't quite tell what's going on, here it is: the two players are totally able to walk away from each other.
In LEGO games of old, this wasn't possible and a lot of co-op gameplay was lost trying to wrangle the fixed camera in a way to keep both players on the same screen. LEGO Indy 2 instead goes into split-screen mode when the two players get far enough away from each other and helps the players keep track of each other by having the split line swing like a compass in the direction your co-op buddy is in. So if I wander to the left and upwards, the split-screen line will swing down and to the right so that I know where to go if I want to re-join my buddy I just ditched.
2) The Build-Your-Own Adventure Mode The LEGO builder mode might not excite people (because they'd rather go play with real LEGO, or prefer to let The Sims serve their architect fantasies) — but the part where you can build your own LEGO, layout your own levels and create an entire adventure from scratch ought to get you excited. It's beyond even LittleBigPlanet in awesome because you get pre-created cut scenes in between the levels you've built. It's like being one part architect, one part level designer and one part film editor.
3) They Actually Re-built Old Levels This was a huge sticking point for me. I mean, what would be the point of having an entire second game for just Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the LEGO builder mode?
LEGO Indy 2 recognises this absurdity, so they've gone back and re-built all the old levels from the previous game. And they threw out the old hub system where you obtained missions from the University. Instead, the main hub appears as a line of LEGO boxes with a movie poster on each box. Inside the box is a hub specific to that movie that's like a mini-level, with lots of places to explore, bolts to collect and sometimes even vehicles to get around in.
You can see an example a rebuilt level in the screen shot above (click to enlarge). The image on the left is the old bridge area of Temple of Doom. The one on the right comes from the new game and as you can see, it's now a boss fight against Mola Ram. Similarly, other levels from the old game have been made over into big-scale brawl levels (where tons of LEGO characters are brawling all around you as you navigate the level or join the fray), or into driving segments, like the one I fell in love with from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
So, really, if you love Indiana Jones even a little bit, you owe it to yourself to check out LEGO Indy 2. It's not a glorified expansion pack, it's not a LittleBigPlanet wannabe. It's Indiana Jones meets LEGO just like it's supposed to be — and it's looking so much better than the first game.