Great game only gets better with sequel
First was the concept, refined from the first game. A FPS, that doesn't play like a FPS. Who hasn't thought about being the world's best cat burglar or jewel thief? Here you actually get the opportunity to try it. Don't go into a room with bows blazing because you certainly won't last long. This game was a great idea from the beginning, and Looking Glass (R.I.P.) did a great job with the idea. Hide in the shadows, sneak through windows, pick pockets, eavesdrop, kidnap, backstab and any other thiefly skill are all included in ths deep game.
Second, the levels/maps were extremely large and well done. There is always more than one way to reach your level goals, and the variety of objectives ensured that none of the levels seemed repetitive. Puzzles were challenging but never impossible.
Third is the sound. This game has excellent sound and as you would expect if you were a thief, plays an integral part of the game. It is much easier to avoid people if you just stop for a second and listen. Your ears will save your life more times than naught.
Four, The story. The story to the sequel is much tighter and believable. The between mission cutscenes were excellent, even if they were just still frame art. The story kept me enthralled the entire game, and kept me interested in continuing. It is also nice to get side stories that help flesh out the main plot within the game.
Five, the weapons. The weapons are more tools than actually weapons. I must admit, my favorite are the frog-beast eggs. You have to love throwing eggs around, having them hatching into frogs that will follow your enemies around and then explode in their face.
As to what was wrong with the game -
First and foremost, the long loading times. It takes over a minute to load the levels. Now granted the levels are huge, but I have seen similar sized levels in other games load much faster.
Second, the graphics. Though the graphics are slightly improved from the first game, there are an awful lot of instances of clipping. I can't tell you how many times I threw a guy in a closet only to have his foot or sword sticking through the door. There was even one point where a guard was stuck in the floor.
The Bottom Line
As you read above, the game is extremely "thief oriented". This is no shooter in the strict sense. You will find yourself climbing through windows, hiding in the shadows and crawling through the rafters, just to find that additional cndlestick that you can sell on hte balc market. Oh, and you get to save the world as well.