Nice review, but just a little point...
"A reasonable attempt to follow up on a genuine masterpiece"
Hmm. I would argue that a very talented team spending the last 2 years and a small fortune on developing a sequel is anything but a "reasonable attempt". I'm sure a massive amount of effort was put into the game with every intention of making it as good or better than the original.
A "reasonable attempt" is when several guys spend a couple of months rehashing the original in their lunch hour. If the game falls short of expectations then can I suggest the words "valiant attempt" would be more accurate given the huge effort that was actually put into the sequel?
BTW, I have no connections to the developers, I just couldn't understand why a company would only make a reasonable attempt at a sequel given the massive costs involved.