I see a LARGE amount of negative reviews popping up about this game, and all I can say is that the people playing this game who have given it bad reviews are simply not , in my opinion, " into " their RPGs.
This game has some similarities to Oblivion ( massive size, open world) but at the end of the day if you like RPGs that require some serious hard work ( Think Might and magic series 6 -9, or Gothic 3, all of which i thoroughly enjoyed) then this game may well be up your street.
It requires a lot of time and effort to play and get the best out of, but frankly considering the size of this game, and the detailed graphics, I am amazed how well it runs on 360. I have now completed the game twice ( on PC ) and am going through it a third time of the 360. I would advise NOT playing it on easy , go straight to medium.
The story is and ok RPG tale, your sister gets kidnapped, you have to find who, why and what you need to do to get her back. There are 100s of side quests, and two clans you can join ( joining and committing to one clan means the destruction of the other)
The end game gives you an option of 3 different ways to complete the game, and I would say to get to the end of the game takes around 30-50 hours.
Saving and loading is very fast on 360 and the game runs very well.
To briefly answer some of the very unfair criticisms levelled as this game by the other reviewers on this site:-
Graphics- Push the 360 to its limit and do very well. Every now and then a zone needs to load in , and you get a frozen screen for anywhere between 2-3 seconds. Hardly game breaking.
Combat:- Starts out with simple hacking and backstepping, new skills learned later add Fire, water, earth , air and Necromanitc magic. Advanced stealth, backstabbing, pick pocketing, multiple firing of arrows, improved combat from horse back and faster swimming. There are lots of other skills to learn too....
Horse/mount riding:- Not as free form as Oblivion, essentially the mounts cannot climb over certain surfaces ( steep sided hills , walls etc ), so they auto track to find a way round the objects, and this is where people don't take the time to understand how the mounts work, get annoyed at them, and slate the game. Simply stop the mount, turn round and continue in a different direction. Simple.
Quests:- Some are simple kill quests, many are tied in to each other and when you complete one part, it connects over to another quest. Lots of XP and cash for these ones.
Essentially, you need patience with this game, and a good sense of humour as some of the voice acting is pretty poor quality ( often made me smile) but it all makes up for a new gaming universe/experience.
One thing I would say, don't bother paying for the special edition, as the extras are total rubbish, just buy the standard version, as all you need is the game. The Spec edition comes with some artwork, a few tracks from the game and a very poor small hardback book which tries to set itself up as a desktop version of the game, why not print a nice artbook instead ?
The online side of this game requires a VERY fast internet connection, but allows you to play missions with upto 8 other players. However, your online character is for online only, your offline character for offline only.
When this game first launched ( march this year) it was on PC and was version 1.0. I wrote a review that pointed out many issues that the game THEN had. The Xbox 360 version ( and PC version) is now patched upto version 1.5 and now plays like a totally different game. Excellent quality patches and a company that listens to its user base and improved and fixed the game based on the feedback it got from players. Great Game. FULL STOP.