I haven't tried the latest release, but have been somewhat impressed with past releases. It works a bit differently than Word, so if you're very used to Word, it will be a bit of a learning curve (but not much).
It's been fairly Word compatible for a while, I've used it to recover Word documents for my boss that got so corrupted Word couldn't properly open them! I just load 'em into Open Office and re-save them as something else, and she's able to use them fine in Word again. Quite impressive, really!
I'd definitely say to try it -- it's free, you don't really have anything to lose. And no, you don't need any Microsoft Office product installed for it to work.
The only thing I should mention is you should have a decently fast machine for it to run well-- it's not written in Java (a common misconception) but it does need a good amount of horsepower behind it to run totally smooth. I'd say at least a 1Ghz machine and it'd be fine. (I only bring this up as we have some old machines for a computer lab that we'd like to have as small, "free" software stations but can't run OO very well)