I think you missed the main plot of the game, there are no aliens to my knowledge.
I sort of like the gameplay, because it is not artificial like so many others.
1. The NPC are a constant thing in the world until they die. Even if they do a quest and need to move from A to B, they are not teleported like in any other game I know, they walk and this is immersive as hell. This was also the case in Risen 1.
2. The combat has simple rules. You hit/shoot in a direction and if your weapon/projectile gets in contact with something, it registers a hit. Then there is a combat role to get away. That is it. There is a special attack and the spells/buffs/chems which support the combat.
3. The quests are not all black/white or grey. You are playing the NPC the same way as they are playing you. Once you know the outcome of the quest or spoiler yourself, it is of course less surprising but I had so many jaw-dropping moments in the game!
4. There are no artificial walls, there are no tunnelquests. That quest with Anna, I just did that and I was stunned! Had to kill that Kampfkoloss somehow. So I attacked with PSI, then ran, attacked, ran, attacked ran. Thank god they follow you to the end of the world, because the Kampfkoloss at the entrance to Ignadon finished him off and I solved the quest.
Elaborating the combat a bit more.
- projectiles are objects, you can actual evade projectiles for example. Not many games have that.
- the autofocus for melee-combat is rubbish. If you disable it, the combat is much mir fun. You swing or run into the direction you are looking at, no more rules required!
- this is not Assassins Creed and there are no arenas, you need rules that apply anywhere in an open world (KISS)