After hearing this was a must-play as the first major fan campaign, I was surprised by how poorly T2X has aged – though the HD texture pack puts a lovely sheen on it.
It features a new protagonist, exploring different parts of the City more as an assassin than a thief, and nearly everything is customized: cutscenes, voice acting, music, art, weapons. It features a lot of cool tech experiments, like an item that changes your arrow types (water becomes ice), and some gnarly dismemberment on zombies.
The problem is most of its missions are…just not very good. It has a few standouts, but the rest range from forgettable to outright bad, especially the ones pertaining to a boring subplot involving smugglers. Most are weirdly empty, as though the devs forgot to make a final enemy/NPC pass, and thus pose no real challenge. You’re just sort traipsing through detailed but empty streets, or caves, or hideouts ad nauseum. And there’s not much in the way of differences between difficulty levels – just incremental loot goals.
The in-mission writing is terrific - a real loving sense of place, with no purple flourishes, great readables all around (the museum level is particularly strong on this front). But the overarching story is just flat-out bad. The “twists” are visible from miles away, and while the protagonist is nicely voiced, she’s such a gullible dummy it’s hard to feel invested in her journey. The main antagonist is laughably cartoonish and the final level is a rushed climax that fails as both a Big Twist and a satisfying conclusion.
I’m sure this was a big deal upon release, and the overall effort is impressive, but the individual levels don’t hold a candle to work that’s come since.
Biggest surprise: the level of customization. Every single facet – from the AI to the voice acting to the sound of your footsteps – has been given a full makeover. It really feels like a giant old-school expansion pack.
Worst bit: The story, which is such a bummer because a huge amount of effort clearly went into the cutscenes etc. But the writing is just bad, predictable and hamfisted. There’s no way around it, and it undermines the whole experience.
Best bit(s): The museum, the haunted hospital, and the grand hotel. Three straight-up great slabs of thievery and spelunking. (The Hammer cathedral and the brothel are both solid, too).