Disclaimer: I don't like stealth games and I don't like Steampunk. I only bought this game because I felt I should try it based on its potential GOTY status.
So I was really surprised that I liked it immediately. I like poking around in every nook and cranny, so the intro was great for me - cinematic, diving into the lock, turning the lock wheels, talking to the painter, and the thing with the Empress. I'd be hard put to imagine a better game opening.
I am playing the Stealth playthough, with as few deaths as possible. It is a little constricting, but looking at the trophies shows me that I can adopt several strategies if I choose (example: trophy for making 5 people commit unintentional suicide. I imagine that you possess them and hurl them off a bridge or something).
I like silent protagonists. Wait till you see the fool that they are going to make you play in Far Cry 3 and tell me I'm wrong.
But I like the whole blank slate thing. I'm hoping they do something unexpected with the plot though, it is definitely a bit bland. And I hope there is much more on Pandyssia or wherever it is.
Honestly, I think it's a good game rather than a great game - though as Daniel says in that quote, it probably is the best Action title of the year. Or up there, anyway.
My biggest problem with it is that the missions drag on far too long. It's taking me 3-4 hours per mission, which is far too much for me. I have no impetus to continue to collect the paintings or whatever when I spend that amount of time creeping around; I just want to get out of there.
I also wish there was more leaping around the roofops, rather than crouching behind waist-high barriers.
I was expecting to hate it though, so it is Unexpected Surprise of the Year for me, rather than Disappointment.