I started playing Hotel Dusk a couple days ago. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I found out about via penny-arcade. I don't know why that's embarrassing, it just sort of is.
Anyway, I wasn't sure of it at first, but I think that was just the flu. As I've started to get better I'm really getting in to it. The characters are really well developed. Tycho said
"It's basically a videogame for people who like books." which is as good a summation as I can come up with.
We're seeing more and more heavily narrative games these days, which I think is a good thing. All the games I've liked in the past few years have had very strong plot and character development, though they've been action driven. There have been many over the years that have attempted to be all plot and character driven, and for the most part I think they've failed.
Hotel Dusk, though, looks like a success. The big factors are the characters, who are surprisingly likable, and the lack of heavy handed plot devices. While the overarching plot is shaping up to be a hong kong style cop melodrama, it's no Indigo Prophesy "Welcome to the game, you've just killed a man for no reason, you have 30 seconds to act, too slow, game over" sort of thing.
The puzzles are a bit silly sometimes. You can't pick up that paper clip until you need it; that sort of thing. Nothing infuriating so far, but it is early days yet. I'll let you know if it starts teh s ucking.