personally, i think the humor in the game is making it so much more satisfying...and the fact that now when you elementally put something down it's visually and audibly better. the scorched bodies while they're running at you, when they're shocked to death they spew gibberish, i haven't acid bathed anything yet. while the head doesn't go "pop" when you shot it, the goliath's having some meat and brain stem is pretty gory and absent from the 1st one.
BL2's violence and PG13 gore seems more aimed at hilarity and it works well. I don't really miss it at all.