Well we're happy to say- it's better. :)
The box is pretty much the same other than that lil' green tweak at the top of the box that boasts it "fires father than ever!" compared to the original Swarmfire. It's weird because unlike the Sharpshot, the Swarmfire was never really known for having BAD performances per se- and from what I have seen they're not doing this boasting of performance upgrades on the other Dart Tag blasters.
Inside the box, its the same ol' looking Swarmfire, other than the change in trigger and switch colours. The blue doesn't work as well as the orange in my opinion, but that's probably a personal preference.
The Swarmfire comes with a removable stock, to put it into what the manual describes as 'Attack mode" but it's really uncomfortable without the stock attached so I can't really see a reason to remove it. The Swarmfire itself is a bit of a weird looking blaster- it's still very Transformers/Bumblbee looking with its organic design, and feels a tad clumsy in hand.
I also find the finish of the Swarmfire to be a tad sloppy- there are some panels that are painted rather than them being coloured plastic, and in turn it means they don't quite match.
The Swarmfire is fully automatic and takes six C cell batteries. It gives it some considerable weight which isn't bad, but not particularly comfortable for one handed play.
Soo.. let's get down to the differences. Other than the blue trigger/switch, the new Swarmfire is aesthetically the same as the original; the main difference is in performance and it's attributed to a more powerful spring inside. It's very evident between the two- firing both blasters off shows the darts take longer to dip, thus going further with more force, but because of the stronger spring, the new Swarmfire shoots slightly slower than the original.
I personally find fully automatic blasters kind of boring to use. You don't get that satisfying feeling from just holding down a trigger and firing that you do from a manual priming blaster, though I accept and understand the 'need' for one in a dart tag game.
I have to say though it is a bit of a kick in the teeth to those who DID get one on original release- I really don't know why Nerf couldn't have just released a decent spring blaster from the start rather than releasing something they themselves were not happy with in the first place. It's the same I guess with special edition DVDs/CDs/games- and I guess it might appear to make good business sense, but it's still not nice for the real fans who go out and buy the blasters straight away.
I picked mine up locally from a Toys R Us for just under $40 (catalogue sale price)