Don't think of this as a Gothic RPG, think of it as a new series Action RPG. This game has fun action with an RPG story.
Gothic 4 is nothing like Gothic 3 it has a totally different soul to it. Think of this game as an Action RPG with more story than the typical Action RPG and you'll know what to expect. Try out the demo, it will give you a spot on feel for what to expect (the retail copy will even have you repeat some of the tasks in the demo - you can't bring over the demo save).
Fighting consists of encountering an enemy and attack then block or dodge and repeat. Generally the enemies give good signs of when you should dodge or block. When you kill enough enemies or complete enough errands (most quests are errands of some sort i.e. speak to X, Deliver X, Kill X and bring me X from corpse) you'll level up and get to assign 3 points into a few different skills which makes you better at that skill such as a magic like lightning or fire or else shooting the bow or fighting with a weapon. You don't get to choose how to improve stats like health, strength, intelligence only skills.
I played the demo and enjoyed it. To me it felt like a hybrid of Diablo and an RPG. I feel it combined the two nicely giving me an action oriented RPG game with story and characters.
The normal difficulty this game defaults to, definitely should have been called Easy. I understood this from reviews on the demo and having played the demo so when playing the retail release I selected Hard as the difficulty (some prefer Gothic but I don't like a Hard game just a normal difficulty one). I feel the Hard difficulty setting is what most would consider Normal. I rarely die, but I do occasionally and often I leave a battle on the verge of death so Hard difficulty feels like a good one if you like an average challenge.
The story feels like a typical RPG story with several characters you'll encounter and help additionally there are a few ways to handle some key arcs in the game that seem to have meaning (but this could be an illusion not having played it through again to try another scenario).
If you enjoy an RPG yarn and an action rpg like Diablo or Torchlight you'll likely enjoy this game. Don't expect it to be great though it's an enjoyable game but it certainly isn't epic. If you only have money for 1 game in the next couple months you can find better elsewhere (this time of year).