One of the best single-player RPG's ever made. I wonder if Gamespot reviewer finished this game.
You can make the game easier and create "hotkeys" for health and magic potions if you want (just read the readme file after installing the game). The graphics are actually quite good and no other game has this dense foliage and complicated and variable landscape that Gothis 2 has. The world is fun to explore because it is so varied and large.
The combat is hard at first and success in the game requires genuine thought and planning. You can't simply run around and kill things. Gothic2 is very different than the typical PC RPG game because you acquire abilities quite slowly at the very beginning of the game while you are in the main town.
Later in the game, the sense of reward one gets when one succeeds in a fight or quest is great. Some of the quests are quite original and not the standard "FedEx" delivery quests.
There are factions and sub-factions that really do figure into the game and the decsisons you can make. The world changes as you make those decisions. You make permanent enemies and friends depending upon those decisions.
I don't easily give a game a 9 out of 10, but this one actually deserves it. It has flaws: the combat gets wayyyyy too easy in the last 3rd of the game and the last chapter is disappointingly short and a tad lame. But if you like long, complicated games like System Shock and Thief2 and Deus Ex1, you should think about Gothic II. The first Gothic was a strong 8, but Gothic II deserves a much better score.
I strongly suspect the GameSpot reviewer didn't actually play this game for long before he reviewed it since the game has a few faults that only appear later in the game and he makes no mention of those. If he mentioned those faults, I might understand his score.