German game developer Ascaron Entertainment returns to the mythological battles of Ancaria in Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. Branching out to past the home PC market, Scared 2: Fallen Angel falls into the console world, debuting on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Crawling into the dungeon, we will see if this old school flavored action RPG can recreate its magic on the consoles. Teleporters activated, here is our review of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel.
Starting off the review of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, I should point out that I haven’t played the first Sacred title... actually I have never even heard of the series. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since many of you fall into the same category. PC gamers and console games don’t always mix, and its clear from the moments you load up Sacred 2 that you’re are dealing with a PC developed title. Normally PC hack-n-slash RPGs don’t translate over to the consoles mainly because of interface, and over-complicated game issues. Removing the click-clicking of a mouse and keyboard is essential to grab the console market, and in this respect Ascaron meets the player half way. In no way is Sacred 2 perfect, but it doesn't have to be. Ascaron Entertainment has accepted the challenge so everyone can have a chance to enjoy their action-rpg adventure into the world of Ancaria.
Coming from the PC world Sacred 2: Fallen Angels can’t shake that port feeling, and rightfully so. The epic questing is a clear throwback to the action-rpg, hack n' slash days of the old. Sacred 2 doesn't miss out on the features that make it appealing, but it still feels like a PC game trying to be a console gem. Before I get deep into the gameplay, let’s have a synopsis of Sacred 2.
If you haven't already guessed, Sacred 2 is a top down, action-RPG in the similar vein as Baulders Gate or the popular PC powerhouse Diablo. The action is pace is quicker than most role-playing games, the combat is a mixture of strategy and button mashing, and this is all built up around the principles and sensibilities of a RPG. If you haven’t played a game like this in the past, it is something you’ll have to try out for yourself. Action RPGs like Sacred 2 need to be experienced to see if you like the cross-mixing of genres. It’s not for everyone, but for those who enjoy the exploration, hacking up enemies, and powering up your character, then you will likely be in gaming heaven.
More important than if it translated from the PC is how fun the game is on the current breed of consoles. The most addictive part of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is the character development and the freedom in customization. Compared to a more standardized RPG like Fallout, or Fable II, Sacred has tones more customization options and the variety of weapons and armour is staggering. Sacred 2 is also an open world experience where you can go and do what you wish, whenever. Region to region, in and out of dungeons you can travel up to 22 miles over the surface of Sacred 2. This makes Sacred 2 a little larger than your average action-adventure game.
The dynamics in the landscape are also impressive... pulling the gamer from the cool sledge stone of a cemetery, to the sea-salt smell of the ocean side docks, Sacred 2 puts a lot of variety in those miles. Complimenting these dynamics is a wonderful detailed touch put into the graphics, and rather than all dark colours, Sacred 2 gives a lot of love to bright colours in the countryside. Actually, Sacred 2: Fallen Angel gives puts a lot of dazzling colours into the mix with some beautifully done special effects. No, Sacred 2 isn' the best looking game to be ported from the PC, but it holds it own on the consoles. In comparison, I might even give the edge to the Playstation 3, but that's subjective.
Now that you’ve figured out a little more about this free roaming, action-rpg, I will touch on the storyline. The reason I didn’t bring it up first is because the storyline behind Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is quite dull, so it’s a good thing the gameplay is as addictive as it is. For a little more juice about the lore behind Sacred 2, it revolves around a mysterious magical force called, T-Energy. The loss of control of the T-Energy causes a war between a number of factions in the games macrocosm. This power struggle is your main focuses in the game while the T-Energy leeks out into Ancaria mutating and changing the natural creatures of the world. Actually, come to think of it for a basic hack-n-slash action game the plot is good enough. What else do really need besides an excuse to run around slicing up everything that moves. There is also a Light, or Shadow path you can take in the game which works on the good/evil dynamics. It doesn’t radically change the gameplay, but it helps spice up the main narrative.
Besides playing a good or evil character you pick out of one of the six playable classes that are in the game. The classes are fixed-gender and some of them are fixed dispositions, meaning if you are Seraphim, you have to be a angel-girl (She’s the girl wearing the Kiss make-up on the cover) or if you are an Inquisitor you have to be Evil, following the Shadow path. Besides these two characters you can pick between a Shadow Warrior, High Elf, Dryad, and a Temple Guardian. Each class has their own specific equipment and unique animations with a maximum level cap of 200. A small example is that a Seraphim is a quick fighter that excels when using light and medium weapons. A little experimenting will lead you to the character you like the best, and this is one reason why Sacred 2 is so addictive, its almost limitless in its variation given its high replay value.
Rideable mounts also come into play in Sacred 2, and even these can be class specific. Each class has its own special selection of mounts that go along with the more traditional means of transportation, the horse. Since you have to travel over large distances, mounts let the player travel a quicker speed and given them additional bonuses, like a bonus to defence. To look a few special mounts the Seraphim hop on a giant Sabertooth Tiger, the Shadow Warrior mounts up on a monstrous Hellhound, and even creepier is the Inquisitor who rides on the back of a large dark Shroud Spider. Mounts don’t have to be used, it’s up to the player, and however I found them useful.
Multiplayer is also supported on the console versions of Sacred 2 letting you go on co-op missions and join a friend in their campaign. The best feature of Sacred 2’s multiplayer is that all the items and experience carries over when the leave the game. This means you can build up your characters in solo or multiplayer play. The PC version of Sacred 2 supports 12 more players then the console version online, with both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 supporting 4 players online, or 2 off. There could be worse things, and have a four player expedition is good enough for a fun romp in Sacred 2. I liked the multiplayer features and these over-the-top action hack-n-slashers are always more fun with more player.
For problems, Sacared 2 has a few. First off, like I said earlier, this type of gameplay isn't for everyone. Hacking and slashing your way through levels with objectives that have little weight can get boring pretty darn fast. You really need to love the quest of adventure, the pleasure in finding loot to get deep into Sacred 2. This isn't a bad quality, just one that is more selective. Besides this, Sacred 2 has a few control issues, a confusing character management screen and some limitations other twists on the genre have done away with. Bottom line, none of this matters if you're into this style of game. Even from the first top-down action-rpgs, they have their moments and Sacred 2 stacks up with the upper echelon of the genre. Fans of the genre, you have nothing to fear with Sacred 2.
Sacred 2: Fallen Angels brings a little PC flair to the consoles with its top down, hack n’ slash, action RPG fast paced action. This makes Scared 2 a unique title that we don’t see much of on the consoles. Fans of the Diablo-styled gameplay will love Sacred 2 right off the bat with a sense of familiarity and wonder, like other similar styled games. It might be unfair to keep comparing Sacred 2 to other action RPG titles, but Ascaron didn’t over extend them to create something new and fresh. It’s more of a re-indentation of an old standard that is a prime example of the, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it theory. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel plays it safe with a straightforward experience that will satisfy its fans. If you’re looking for some exploration, collection and good old fashion button mashing swinging check out Sacred 2: Fallen Angel.
Gameplay:7.0, Graphics:7.0, Sound:6.0, Innovation:6.5, Mojo:7.0 Final: 6.7 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 06.08.09