I started up my new playthrough today and got through the whole prologue, up to the first meeting with Donovan.
I've gotta say, this game makes a killer first impression. It's excellent from both a gameplay and story perspective, and does a great job of slowly and gently easing you into the gameplay and story, all while offering up enough action so that it doesn't get boring on repeat playthroughs. There are also some cool little details I didn't notice the first go around. I completely missed that at the very beginning, you could execute the hostage and then dump both him and the already-dead body on the floor into the nearby swamp to feed the alligators (there's even a cute little "feed a gator two chickens for 75 cents" sign where you can do it, haha). And the base gameplay - shooting, stealth, driving - are as solid as ever.
The graphics don't even bug me as much as they used to. Honestly, I think the main problem is the lighting. The character models, vehicles, environments etc. all look pretty great, with nice detail and fluid animation, but the lighting lets it down when it gets all f*cky at times. The reflections off the cars look kinda crummy too, but pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, and there are times when the game looks great. I've never been a major graphics snob anyway so I dunno, those minor annoyances aside I'm thinking it looks okay.
The story's shining even more this time around too, and I actually got this really depressed and anxious feeling playing the prologue, just knowing how things were going to turn out. And the acting is just outstanding. Father James' actor in particular just gives a heartbreaking performance.
I know the game gives into that repetitive framework after this prologue, but it'll probably go down easier for me this time around with more tempered expectations, and I'm much more invested into the game this time around. Maybe it's because of those lowered expectations, or maybe it's because I have the DLC stuff like races to distract from the empire building, but I'm hungry for Lincoln to get his revenge and see what kinds of adventures and scrapes he and his crew get into a little later into the game.