Though the game is open world its world is not as expansive as a game like skyrim and there are far fewer places to visit, also the way the world is set up you have to travel through certain areas to reach others and shortcuts can be hard to come by, added to this is a strange fast travel systel involving you buying special one time use gems but the game world is quite pretty and as the combat is fun you shouldn't mind this too much. In comparison to Skyrim in fact the combat is better, more exciting with more dangerous enemies and more types of attacks you can use. You can even clamber up a giant cyclops to stab him in the eye, or on to the back of a dragon to cut at its wings. The difficulty involves a relatively steep learning curve although it gets much easier once you've leveled up enough to avoid most of the 1 hit kills.
The character customisation is excellent and if you're in to that kind of thing, you really can make your character look however you want, a tiny old woman, a huge hulking barbarian with tree trunk legs and a big gut - and everything inbetween. In true JRPG tradition you can give your character pink hair! There are a huge variety of weapons and armour in the game and reminiscent of monster hunter, you can use salvaged parts of defeated enemies to upgrade your gear. Though the plot is simple and the side quests are uninspired there is still enough epic action to make you forgive the games shortcomings.
It is worth waiting before you try exploring bitterblack isle. The enemies in the dark labyrinth beneath that island make the games regular enemies seem a push-over in comparison.
The main quest can provide a good 20 hours of gameplay, more depending on what sorts of side quests you try for. In fact that's one detraction from the game, many quests can be locked out if you progress too far in the main quest and sometimes you will fail a quest for a reason you never would have been able to foresee. Make the wiki your friend and you won't have the problem much. Also the levelling process involves differences in stats so to be the best fighter, you might want to level a while as an assassin for the attack boost or a strider for the stamina gains. I wish they'd done that a bit differently but you also get a 'pawn' which you can design like your main character and choose their vocation and special skills, too. Learning how to best use the skills is what will give you the edge in combat, especially for magic using characters. Some of the spells have ridiculous cast times - like more than ten seconds, but if you're followers can keep the enemy off you that long you have access to some potent and epic looking effects. If you're online the pawns you summon at so-called rift stones are actually the main pawns of other players. I tend not to be online so I got random generated ones which is fine but doing it offline means a deficit of rift crystals which causes some problems later on when they become the main currency.
The game is well worth taking a stab at just for the good graphics and exciting combat. You will feel a real sense of achievement after killing your first drake considering the battle is likely to take you a good 20 minutes.