I have been a fan of Piranha Bytes since Gothic 2, and have played and beaten all their games. For some reason the Pirate theme and look of this game put me off; it seemed different, and worse than previous titles. After picking it up for just a buck during the Humble ReBundle, it pleasantly surprised me. I'd rank this right up there with the rest of their games. Adventuring in their open world maps, stealing and beating up NPCs is great fun. The game is also VERY pretty on max settings. I actually thought the combat was an improvement over previous titles; it was still difficult, but learning an enemy's patterns and fully utilizing your abilties (leveling up your 'player skill') proved fruitful, and that's satisfying. The voice acting was decent - nothing incredible, mind you, but I tend to be picky and felt the actors were pretty good; their manner of speaking reminded me of Game of Thrones a couple times.
If you take your time with each island, exploring it throroughly and completeing all the quests, this is actually a reasonably long game. My first (very thorough) playthrough was over 50 hours, and the game is constructed so that you cannot get all the skills or experience all the content in a single playthrough. I don't know if it will hold my attention for a second go-around, but I could see my clock hitting nearly 100 hours if I do, and that's great bang for your buck.
Another reviewer complained that training and items were "too expensive" and the game was "too difficult". I couldn't disagree more. Too often, loot and gold are meaningless in games. You hoard hundreds of thousands of gold and have nothing to spend it on! In this game, you need to choose what gear and training you get with care, and that gives a real sense of value to loot when you get it. As for "too difficult"? Maybe my opinion is different as a fan since Gothic 1, but the challenge in these games are part of the experience. Why should you be able to go anywhere and beat anyone willy-nilly? One of the most memorable experiences of Gothic 2 was when I faced a situation in which I found myself unable beat a crowd of Orcs guarding the enterance to a city, and was forced to make a break from my "kill everything" mentality, and instead find a way to sneak past them and then proceed to RUN FOR MY LIFE! This was such a breath of fresh air! Furthermore, if you use all your resources in this game (proper gear, potion use... strategy) you can prevail in any fight, and overcoming the challenge makes it all the more satisfying when you do.
This game might not be for everyone. There are bugs, and quirks, but looking past those you have a very thoughtfully and lovingly made game here. I definitely recommend it. If you like Risen, or Gothic, this should be a safe buy, but you may want to wait for a sale.
All said and done, I really enjoyed this game, would have paid more for it, and would like to pick up the DLC when it goes on sale. Looking forward to Risen 3: Titan Lords, for sure!