A captivating, incredibly detailed adventure game that builds upon the shreds of mythos presented in the first game and weaves a tale that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
I must admit, I began this game with some reservations, having suffered through the tedium of the first game and it's bland presentation. But as soon as the game began, it dropped twists, turns and plot bombshells, and never relented until the very end, keeping me on the edge of my seat while presenting an expanded world with deep characters and a merciless deconstruction of the Black Mirror Mythos. All questions brought up by the first game are answered, and more questions are posed that kept me guessing until the very end.
The puzzle design in this game is top notch, with enjoyable puzzles that make sense, and the protagonist's exhaustive notes and little flairs of genius don't feel like they come out from the void, but rather from his own character. Each solution feels natural and like it is part of a believable progression of his character arc. I particularily enjoyed the non-item based puzzles, as they were often layered and presented with a code to break before the mechanical part of the puzzle even began. Richness of puzzles like this are incredibly rare, and should be valued. The puzzles, also, felt well rooted in the world, and even the most arbitrary sliding puzzle becomes a charming character trait for one of the many well-developed characters.
The game's aesthetic is a huge step up from the previous game, creating lively and deep locales to explore that straddle the line between photorealistic and oil painting. The lighting effects, in particular, are fantastic, lending an authentic spookiness to what could otherwise be a bland set. The effects are simple, often just a alpha channeled overlay or a translucent image, but the game does marvels with what it has.
My only criticism of the game's aesthetic would be the relatively stiff and mannequin like character models. Though an improvement from the last game, a lot of the models seem to look rather dull and lifeless, especially when viewed from close up. There isn't much in the way of expression, though the game goes out of it's way to find alternate means to portray the characters, such as novel camera angles, good cinematography, and dramatic body movements that don't rely on facial expressions. In all it wasn't distracting.
The game's writing is fantastic, though suffers from occasional translation weirdness, as the characters refer to things in esoteric or crude ways that a native speaker would not do (such as referring to thermite as "welding powder", which, while accurate, is not the way a native english speaker would refer to it). Mostly, the voice acting covers for the minor typographical errors in the text, but this is not really a problem.
I couldn't recommend this game enough, though in order to fully appreciate it, you'd need to play the prequel, Black Mirror. Black Mirror II relies on a lot of callbacks, and references to gameplay mechanics, and story elements that would be sorely missed if you didn't play Black Mirror. So if you can suffer through the original game, you will be rewarded immeasurably by this sequel. That alone is worth the price of entry.