Let's get the 'collector's edition' out of the way. The figurine is misleadingly positioned in the shot, the perspective makes it look larger than the couple of inches it actually is. It's like a gashapon toy, with a bendy sword. The Map/Poster is a double-sider rather than separate (cheap), orchestral background music renders the CD fairly meaningless. In other words, don't bother unless you can get it for the same money or a couple of quid extra. Publishers really need to do better.
The game. It's flawed, glitchy, and constantly threatens to tumble over into "why am I doing this?" territory (similar to Two Worlds, which it closely resembles in numerous ways). The skill system is initially impenetrable, choices made are unreversible and result in players being forced to advance their characters without knowing if they're actually doing it 'right'. If any game needed a strategy guide, it's this one, and as sod's law would have it it's one of the few recent console RPGs which have none.
Combat consists of holding 'attack' for the most point, the skill system does have depth but it literally takes several hours to even start to get a handle on it. Skills are mysteriously locked when on horseback for no reason, quests are generally of the fetch or "kill this" variety. The voice acting is so bad it's funny, yet the hammyness stops it being flat, which is where Two Worlds fell. The teleportation system is patchy, glitchy and travel can sometimes be a chore.
So where's the fun? I don't know exactly, but it's mixed in there somewhere. After spending umpteen hours wandering around, completing quests, discovering the mechanics of the thing ("so that's how you increase your running speed" etc.) it dawned that I'd gone past the point of the initial must-collect-stuff frenzy and gotten to the point where the game sinks or swims on what it allows you to do with all that stuff. That's the point where even the most persistent Two Worlds player will start to lose the reason for playing and where Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom breaks down completely. That hasn't happened, in fact the game is getting more and more enjoyable.
I've only used one character so far, but there's six to go at, and both light and dark story paths. One of the coolest things (and it seems insignificant) is that skill levels are raised with randomly dropped items, whereas attributes such as strength raise with character levels and an additional point per level for you to distribute. What it means is that you get the predictable character improvements while at the same time given more reason to power through mobs of enemies, moar skills!
Despite exploration being muted by the fact that you can't actually do anything with the different locales except trade and get more quests, the sheer volume of quests does buoy the experience because of the constant drip-drip of background info. Suddenly coming across a village which isn't marked on the world map (the majority of points of interest and settlements aren't) and the promise of more quests is a real shot in the arm. The little touches like that and the shared hoard for all of your characters to dip into really helps round it off.
It's not the easiest game to describe, but in brief: if you like your RPGs ultra polished steer clear. If you want to play co-op then approach with caution, bugs ahoy. If you have managed to stick with Two Worlds, then jump right in. If you don't mind imperfect RPGs then get now or wait for a price drop, cos If you do like what you play with this one, it has just as much gameplay to offer as Fallout 3 or Oblivion. Their superficial thieving and scavenging facets don't really do more than what Sacred 2 manages. Hope this helps you.