Certainly the gameplay and storyline was pretty familiar, but there were some refreshing tweaks. One of the best things was a somewhat enhanced hand-to-hand combat system, especially in some microboss battles. One of the things I found lame about some recent games are the big setpieces where you watch some canned animation and then when something flashes onscreen, you mash the right button to see more canned animation. It may increase the care that goes into the visuals to make it epic and cinematic, but at the expense of gameplay. In these fistfights, there's still some of the mash the right button element, but you still have a lot of control, while at the same time, the fights are clearly partially choreographed with nice mo-cap sequences that up the cinematic-ness. But the blending of game and canned animation routines is much more seamless.
I also enjoyed the quiet interlude with Drake in the desert. It might have been just a canned montage of Drake wandering over sand-dunes, but instead you have at least a little control over his movement. It's not much, but at least if you walk him along the edge of the crest of the dune, he sends little slides of sand downhill that are real pretty. Later in the sequence, as wandering in the desert takes its toll, it's another nice touch that if you stop moving, you fall to your hands and knees. Poor bastard.
And I shot a lot of bad guys and saved the day, so there's that.
I may have complained about the shortness, but obviously there's the multiplayer as well, and I enjoyed that a lot with U2, even though I'm not much of an online gamer. I enjoyed the multiplayer beta for U3 earlier this year (and it was a bit strange running into the French chateau in the campaign mode and knowing the geography intimately. Deja vu!) So I'll probably log plenty more hours getting my butt handed to me in the multiplayer.