YES, the game is way more gun-friendly and getting shot from off-screen is something that happens way too often. This is primarily why I enjoyed the first game's gameplay more. Pretty much why I couldn't play with a risk = reward mindset like I did in the first game, going for combos based on speed. There's so many guns that you have to be extremely cautious.
Yeah the story is all over the place so you really need to pay attention, like I didn't catch the first time that the final level was The Son going on a drug-fueled rampage, killing The Fans in the process. Only thing I really didn't understand, even when it was all said and done was why Evan (the writer) had that "Rage Mode" if you executed two people. He just didn't seem like that kind of person to lose it like that.
Believe I remember you saying you liked Hotline Miami. You should give the second one a look, I've never had such mixed feelings about a game before. So many elements of it that I either think are the tits, or think it's a step in the wrong direction. Overall, the first one is definitely better, but the second is worth checking out, it's strongpoint being the story since you play as multiple characters.