Depending on how you play it, Risen can annoy you to death, take you to gaming Nirvana...or anything in between.
The player has almost total freedom, but freedom comes at a price: so depending on your playstyle and in-game choices, your experience can range from a frustrating mess to pure bliss.
The story, the quests, your skills, items, strengths and weaknesses, they all depend on what you do in the game, depend on where you go and when, depend on choices you make. So its hard to find two players that had the same game experience, and thats part of what makes this game unique.
Risen annoyed me very bad for the first ten hours or so. Actually i dont remember another game that managed to irritate me as much as this one :P.
The worst part was the fighting system that seemed horrible at first. I was dying so many times trying to do simple things like going to a start location in the game or other trivial stuff like that.
But i kept trying and in the end i got totally addicted to the fight system and the frustration turned to bliss.
In conventional games, the begining is easy and it gets harder as you progress. In Risen you dont start as a super-hero, you start as a nobody washed on the shores of an island and your life will be very hard in the begining.
As you gain experience, better equipment and reputation, your life will become a lot easier.
If you manage to get past the initial difficulty and frustrations, Risen will offer you the most wonderful gaming experience, and that experience will be unique to you based on the weapon choices, faction decisions, story decisions, skills you decided to train and the timing of your actions.