OLD SITE

You're currently viewing the old version of the GameGrin site as this article hasn't yet been moved to our new site.

Visit the new site at www.gamegrin.com

Sacred 2 - Fallen Angel

Sacred 2 ScreenshotSacred 2 Screenshot 

Magic, fantasy, plentiful quests, hack and slash battles, dungeon looting, massive game-worlds, dual wielding weapons, storylines, role-playing and kobolds. If any one of these elements tickled your gaming tastes, then I would recommend reading on about Sacred 2 - Fallen Angel. If not, or the RPG genre isn't your usual sort of vocation, then this review could still be worth your precious time, as this is quite a splendid gem of a game.

 

Let me be honest: it's quite hard to review a game like Sacred 2. The sheer scale of the game means I'm not even sure where to begin. Ah right, the beginning, that's always a good place to start. Sacred 2 is, at its heart at least, a typical top down view action RPG, more comparable to Neverwinter Nights or Diablo than Oblivion. Set 2,000 years prior to the successful original, Sacred 2 - Fallen Angel certainly knows what its doing. Well, most of the time.

Sacred 2 ScreenshotOn first glance I was a little concerned. I was initially hoping for a super detailed character creation process, the type which allows the player to change everything from fingernail colour to feet size. The sort of thing which gives you that sort of warm glow of excitement you feel on Christmas Day. Instead, you are given six pre-made characters to choose from, each offering differing gameplay styles, which does feel a little limiting. However, these classes range from your typical High Elf mage to the sword wielding Warrior and assassinators known as Inquisitors. Each of these six characters has different starting positions and backgrounds, which keeps things fresh should you ever want to start from scratch again.

Subsequently, you need to decide if you would like to play as good or evil (Light or Shadow) during the game, which provides different plotlines for the main story arc. In the "Light" campaign your ultimate goal is to save the lands of Ancaria from an uncontrollable force known as "T-Sacred 2 ScreenshotEnergy". Should you choose the path of "Shadow", then your ultimate aim is to instead help the world on its path of destruction. I did notice though that while three of the six characters are (underdressed) women, they generally represent the "Light" campaign, while the other three men mostly seem to be for the "Shadow" campaign, which could spark a bit of a debate. No need to worry about 'moral' decisions mid-game though, as your alignment is locked from this initial decision.

Your penultimate character creation decision is to pick one of the game's six God's, from which you gain a unique ability. Last, but by no means least, you need to decide on what difficulty you would like to play through on. "Bronze" is aimed at beginners, or those who want a relaxing experience. I personally found this difficulty far too easy, and ultimately a bit boring, purely because the enemies were so weak. "Silver" is going to push you, but it's always manageable, so I would recommend this for longer term pleasure. Once you have completed the game you can access "Gold" difficulty, a challenge only the most experienced adventurers will want to undertake. Interestingly, you can also activate "hardcore mode", which disables resurrections, meaning that once your character is dead that's it. You can also change difficulty mid-game, but while you will keep your character level and status, peculiarly you will have to start all the quests again.

Sacred 2 ScreenshotAfter a rather exciting introduction movie and a somewhat mediocre in-game cut scene, you're on your way, free to explore the game-world on a whim. But I felt it was all just too much to take in. This ultimately means that, initially at least, it feels overwhelming, which could potentially be off-putting. There's no proper tutorial to talk you through the game's basics, just the odd tool-tip so you know how to walk around. I thought I could struggle through, trying to pick it up as I played. But when it took me two hours to realise that right click on the mouse casts a spell, I realised it was time to read the manual.

I'm not one to read game manuals - I just like the fresh manufactured smell they Sacred 2 Screenshothave when new. After a little chuckle on the first page, which ironically boasted that the "gameplay and game controls should be almost intuitive", I read on and soon felt I had enough of an understanding to plunge into what Sacred 2 really has to offer. It was a few hours after this that I had one of those revelations. My initial concerns about the game were quelled as I began to understand and unravel what this game really has to offer.

Sacred 2 ScreenshotQuality is always argued as being more important quantity. Sacred 2 has a great balance of both. There are an alleged 100 quests in the main story to undertake, but thanks to the 500 side quests I barely got around to even touching the main storyline. The storyline itself is largely irrelevant and disappointing, but the quests themselves are fun and rewarding enough that it makes you want more, so much so in fact that it becomes a vicious addiction of taking on quests to complete. Many of the main and side quests do seem meaningless and absurd, but they are usually good fun nevertheless. The AI, while able enough, is disappointingly simple and broken at times, though fortunately this factor of the game seldom affects the gameplay. There are also far too many enemies in the wilderness, with battles literally happening every few seconds. You do at least run faster than enemies, which provides you with an ignorant option, but it would have been nicer if you could just relax a little more when exploring.

If questing or running around the beautiful outside doesn't do it for you, then there are a trillion(ish) dungeons and caves to discover. I found these looting opportunities a mostly dull and repetitive experience, although they will appeal to some more than others. Some of the finer details in Sacred 2 I shall leave you to enjoy discovering, but there are a few aspects worth a little mention. Health and spells regenerate, which allows you to take the game at your own pace, while not having to worry about replenish potions too much. Levelling up your character is like any other RPG, but keeps to the rest of the game's massive scale by having a reported level cap of 250. There are also literally thousands of weapons and armour to amuse yourself with, and there are even special "Mounts" for your character to ride around on. I did find I had far too much money though, which while a seemingly odd complaint, does spoil part of the challange factor.

Sacred 2 ScreenshotsGraphically, the world of Ancaria looks fantastic. For a 3D top-down view role player the attention-to-detail and graphics are an aesthetic pleasure for the eye. It's just simply gorgeous to look at. Even better is that you don't need much power to run them; my 18 month old PC ran the maximum levels of crisp, varied and most of all detailed graphics with ease. The different regions of Ancaria, which range from hilly countryside to arid deserts, are all wonderfully diverse, which makes exploring feel exciting and rewarding. There is also a night/day cycle which offers some pretty shadow effects, with fluid animation and fun rag-doll physics thrown in for good measure.

While the general feel of the artwork style is simply wonderful, the draw distance is a tad short, which means that at times things can get a little bit misty. It's been well optimised so that you rarely notice it, but it would have been nice to have the option to extend it. The only other real problem I encountered was people getting stuck in the scenery and animation, which is a shame when you consider the quality look of other aspects.

Sacred 2 ScreenshotsFor me it was the general audio aspect of Sacred 2 which was one of the weakest parts of the game. While there is a plethora of environmental sounds like birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind and swords clashing, I generally felt under-whelmed by the auditory experience. Voice acting and character taunts are relatively poor, and there is a distinct lack in the amount and variation in the music. While the music is enjoyable and of a high quality composition, hearing the same music track every time you enter a fight gets a little weary. Blind Guardian, a German heavy metal band, performs the main theme music, which while perhaps not quite my taste, was certainly pleasurable enough.

The multiplayer aspect of Sacred 2 is also worth a quick mention. Over a LAN or the Internet it is possible to play the single-player campaign with five other players, or you can just explore the whole of Anarcia with sixteen others. The prospect of doing this certainly sounds exciting, but as a Sacred 2 Screenshotpre-launch review I was sadly unable to try out this feature. Exploring the game world on your own is thoroughly fun as it is, so I can only see adding other players to share this experience being a very good thing. You can also get some Player Vs Player (PvP) action, should you prefer to take virtual chunks out of a fellow gamer.

I now feel that trying to sum up Sacred 2 is actually quite easy, contrary to what I said in my opening paragraphs. Sacred 2 is basically whatever you want it to be. Explore the immensely detailed wilderness, villages and caves, do battle with a range of foes, or just undertake a few of the hundred quests on offer. In essence, Sacred 2 succeeds in providing a continually high fun factor in all of these.

Sacred 2 does have a few failings though. It can be hard to get into and understand the game, and I have a few gameplay, sound and AI complaints. Despite these flaws, Sacred 2 is a highly competent game, which is literally rather sacred to behold. The hotly anticipated Diablo 3 is due for release sometime in 2009, but to say Sacred 2 is a merely a stop-gap would be unfair. Also due for release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in February 2009, Sacred 2 - Fallen Angel sets a respectable benchmark for modern top-down view RPG's.

Pros: 
  • Huge seamless game-world
  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Hundreds of gaming hours on offer
Cons: 
  • No proper tutorial
  • Poor AI, voice acting and taunts
  • Encounter far too many enemies

Playability:

8 out of 10

Replayability:

9 out of 10

Graphics:

9 out of 10

Sound:

8 out of 10

Overall:

8 out of 10
POBmaestro | 7th November, 2008
POBmaestro's picture
So there are no RPG and/or Diablo fans out there?! Someone could at least comment on how the new review image format is looking
I'm refraining from reading this as I have to review it myself (arrived today). I'll give my views when done.
Dead Alive's picture
I liked Titan Quest if that's any help?
This sounds like my type of thing though, so even though I seem a bit late to play it, I might give it a try.

Oh, and I gather I'm one of the... two or three people that actually prefer Titan Quest over Diablo II.
POBmaestro's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Alive View Post
I liked Titan Quest if that's any help?
This sounds like my type of thing though, so even though I seem a bit late to play it, I might give it a try.

Oh, and I gather I'm one of the... two or three people that actually prefer Titan Quest over Diablo II.
Hehe I don't know, I personally think that Diablo is over-rated, but then I've never played Titan Quest. There is a demo of Sacred 2 out there btw if you want to try it. I think it will be well worth your time
Dead Alive's picture
I'll have a look around tonight and download it. See what I think then.
NiKiTa's picture
i've finished scared 1 like last year i think and was very nice,so i'll try to get this one too, thanks i didn't know there was sacred 2
evilgiraffeman's picture
This game looks really rather good. What seals the deal is the inclusion of German power metal band Blind Guardian.

Can't beat a good bit of power metal in your games
GuNsLiNgEr's picture
Wanted to give this game a go, and thanks for the review definitley seeled the deal for me. Loved the first one so hopefully this'll be even better Still can't wait for Diablo 3 though.
Managed to play it for around 2 hours last night and had to tear myself away from it. It'll tide me over until Diablo 3. It's looking good so far.

Other items from around the web