Seems I was a little bit too fast... The deeper you get into the game, the more it starts to crash! :((
Also the little tricks like setting compatibelity to XP SP3 doesn't really work... it seems with those 2 hangings when starting the game the 1st time after an fresh installation is nothing more then Windows trying to automatically set a compatibelity mode by its own... Why? Because when I tried to set it for XP SP3 it was already set for W7! (Don't forget my Rig runs on W8.1... so I guess this will be the same on an W10 system too!)
Had a similar situation, not W10 but W8.1 x64 (yes, still alive, until the very end ;)
Installed Sacred 2 waaay back (about 2016), but actually never played it until today! (20.12.2018) Started the vanilla GOG version with GOG Galaxy, but nothing happened. Sacred 2 was visible within the Windows Taskmanager, but nothing else, so I shot it down there.
First I did "Verify/Repair" from GOG Galaxy (it scratched around a bit and you could see some installer flashing shortly in the Tasklist), after then tried to start it from GOG Galaxy again (2nd time now), again only visible within the Taskmanager, and again I shot it down.
And... you can guess it (as described by BrokenBull above), when started the 3rd time with GOG Galaxy... it run. Without any compatibility settings done, no other modifications, just run the vanilla installation from GOG Galaxy. So far no crashes, even after a couple of gameplaying hours in a row.
Really strange thing though, but well it works, at least for me right now. (I'll see what it's like when I build a new W10 Playbox in a few years... ;)
Post edited December 23, 2018 by vickerl