This is just a really neat, enjoyable shooter. It is on the short side, though. I finished it in a couple of days easy.
I don't think it's as good as the first one. I remember the first game being longer and having more freedom. A lot of the action took place in wide open areas, and you had the freedom to capture a variety of vehicles to help you complete your goals. That's pretty much gone in this game. The levels are smaller and much more confined. They are also very linear. You still use vehicles here and there but you are not afforded the same freedom. Most of the time you're on foot except in dedicated vehicle sections. For instance you're given an Abrams tank for one (rather short) mission, but once you reach your objective you have to get out and that's it, no more tank action. And that was the only time you could use a tank in the entire game! I remember in the first game frequently borrowing T-80s and BMPs, hopping in and out, repairing them with my power tool, and just generally having a big ole time crashing around the country side in them. That's all gone, sadly.
It uses the checkpoint save system, which sucks but seems to be standard on console shooters. It also has health regeneration, which really sucks. In the first game you healed yourself with a needle. The problem was you could carry as many as you wanted. I thought it would have been far better if you could only carry three or four. You'd have to find more as you went. They've gone in the exact opposite direction unfortunately, by removing the injections altogether. Now your health regenerates on its own as in Gears of War and (I still can't get over this) Mass Effect 2. It's something I really personally don't like. Not one little bit.
I also intensely dislike onscreen prompts that look like Xbox controller buttons, but that seems to be another standard feature of console games. Someone should tell them, if you want to detract from immersion into the game, that right there is one damn good way of doing it.
But the good news is your team is back! These guys helped make the first game what it is. Not only are they helpful in combat they're real characters. The actors do a great job voicing the characters and banter between them can sometimes be quite funny.
There are lots of very cool guns to choose from. Honestly it's agony choosing which one to take with you sometimes!
One improvement over the first game is they've done away with player respawn when you die. Now when you die you load the last checkpoint rather than spawning in again like it's a damn deathmatch.
All in all a really fun, polished and enjoyable game. But the short length and the restrictive levels hold it back in comparison to its predecessor.