Sacred 2:Fallen Angel is the prequel to 2004’s Sacred, but it isn’t your average prequel as the game takes place 2,000 years before the original. The game’s story still resides in the land of Ancaria, where an ancient race called the Seraphim,who once controlled the T-Energy, have lost interest in the world. The new guardians of the T-Energy, the High Elves, have become the dominant race in Ancaria, but now a civil war has broke out within the Elves over who should control the energy. Other races have taken advantage of this war because they want to use it to become the most powerful race, and now the T-energy is going out of control mutating creatures and even eradicating entire cities. Players get to choose between two campaigns, the Light, or the Shadow. Which one you choose determines whether you will be fighting for or against the chaos. So is Sacred 2 compelling enough to get players to return to its world, or is it just another mediocre Diablo clone?
That’s right, I compared Sacred to Diablo. Unfair? I think not. A decade ago Bizzard set the bar for fantasy RPGs astronomically high and I now use that bar as a way to determine the merit of many RPGs. Because of Sacred’s gameplay, enemies, dungeons, familiar character classes, and abundance of loot, runes, armor, and weapons you can use to customize your character, Sacred 2 will always bring the inevitable comparison to the legendary Diablo series (which make up two of my favorite games). Sacred doesn’t try to do anything terribly innovative; the classes will be familiar variations of classic fantasy archetypes: you have the Dryad, a class that focuses on nature, similar to the Druid class in multitudes of fantasy games. There’s the High Elf, a variation of the Sorceror/Wizard class that has been used again and again since the beginning of the genre. This class uses magic that revolves around the elements (fire, ice, etc.) There’s the Inquisitor class that has many similar skills (and even the personality) of the Necromancer. The Inquisitor uses dark magic, raising the dead and so forth and they can only follow the Shadow Path (more on that later). There’s also a Shadow Warrior (think evil knight and you’ll be close), and then we have the most unique class: the Temple Guardian, which looks like a robotic Anubis. This class is interesting because it’s a cyborg with laser weapons, which sets it apart from the other classes.
The final class is the Seraphim, which is the one I chose first. I’ll admit that I chose this class because her mask reminded me of Bat Girl, but pretty soon into the game I became a total badass. You know your character is awesome when she can kill hordes of demons while wearing high heels. Since I was using my Uber-Powerful Fury Bow of Doom and Chaos (I named it myself) nothing got within ten feet of my character. All my enemies saw before they met their demise was a flash of blue hair and BLAM! They had three arrows protruding from their behind. Unfortunately, one problem with this class (and several of the others) is that their spells suck.
To be more specific they look bland, boring, dull, and uninspired. The Seraphim’s Nova spell (something I recognized from Diablo) ended up being rather forgettable. Instead of a kickass wave of destruction I got a foot stomp followed by a rather weak radial blast. This is just one example of the bland spells int the game, but since not all of them are this bad I will forgive the developers for this minor issue.
One of the biggest features in the game would definitely be its coop; you can play online or on a single system (though I recommend the latter). The coop was pretty well thought out: if you’re playing the campaign alone and you see a friend come online, switching to their game (or inviting them to yours) is extremely easy. The best part of this is when you want to return to your game you can restore your previous game at exactly the same spot so you don’t lose and items or completed levels. The split-screen coop is fun, though it would’ve been nice to have a way for the person you’re playing with the come in at the same level as you. For example, I was level 10 and my friend having never played the game before wanted to join my game, and when he did he was level 1. Another problem with the split-screen coop is the options you choose from when making your character; because I was in a game my friend had to make a character from scratch. The in game menus don’t have any class or menu descriptions which made it impossible to tell the difference between the Inquisitor and the Temple Guardian Even worse, there is no descriptions of the deities, so choosing between them is basically a guessing game (unless you really know of the game). The online coop is similar but you can play with up to three other players.Sacred 2 is a loot fan’s paradise, breaking urns and boxes gives loot, slain enemies drop loot, and even defiling graves gives you loot (as well as the occasional zombie). Desecrating cemeteries became a rather disturbing habit for me. No matter what I was doing if I came across a graveyard I would immediately ransack every grave within it. My motivation for doing so wasn’t just for the loot, but the sometimes hilarious inscriptions on several of the graves. For example, one teased me by saying “Maybe you’ll get a secret reward for reading every grave, and maybe not!”, another said “Reserved for critics”, and my favorite was a lonely grave that stated “The cake is a lie”. If you’re not familiar with that last one you’ve lost all your gamer cred and you need to go check out The Orange Box. I probably spent way too much time in these cemeteries, but not only were they fun to plunder, they also showed the extreme amount of love and dedication the developer’s invested in this game (as well as their great sense of humor).
At first I was somewhat worried about the game’s visual polish, as the main menu and character customization (or lack thereof) is dreadful. The menus aren’t very aesthetically appealing, and the inability to change anything but your character’s hair color and style is disappointing (for some classes even this option isn’t available). My concern only intensified once I started the game only to be met with some of the worst graphics and voice acting I’ve seen this console generation. The dialogue didn’t match the character’s lips, they were looking blankly at walls and ceilings, and the acting was way over the top. The good thing about this is that it doesn’t last very long, and the voice acting gets better (or at least less noticeable). I was very surprised when I saw the visual polish change drastically between the “cinematics’ and the actual gameplay. Usually the former looks best, but in Sacred 2’s case it’s the other way around. The environments are lush and vibrant, the character animations improve, and the game looks much better. This is a very good thing as you’ll be spending most of your time exploring the environments rather than the cut scenes.
This game boasts many hours of gameplay, whether you want to play it alone or with a friend (or friends if you’re popular) it’s definitely possible to drop 100+ hours into this game. The main story isn’t terribly epic, and the side quests are your standard RPG fare (kill this person, find this item, empty this dungeon, etc.) but this game is loaded with content and a plethora of items and abilities you can use to really customize your experience. There’s enough variety in the lush environments, mounts, enemies, and items to keep the game from getting repetitive, and Ancaria is a pretty cool world to explore. The future technology fused with a fantasy setting and an auto lock-on feature reminds me of Too Human (in a good way), and that’s a nice change from the typical elves and knights formula (though they’re in it too). This is the type of game you’ll turn on to play for a short while but instead you’ll end up playing it for four or five hours (this happened to me many a time).