Reviewed: June 14, 2009
Released: May 12, 2009
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel releases for a second time in just 6 months only this time itís not a metal named edition of any type for the PC. Rather we turn our sights to the PlayStation 3 as Ascaron gives console gamers a shot to choose the fate of Ancaria. Will you choose to send the world father into the depths of chaos or bring hope and prosperity to the lands?
Players of the original Sacred will return to Ancaria, a world in ruins after a great war that pitted the High Elves against pretty much everyone else. Personally the original Sacred was not a title I had the pleasure to play over the years. Though I have played so many titles like it, Diablo, being one of the majors and still to this day the cornerstone of modern action RPG titles.
For years the PC has been home to some of the most spectacular and huge action RPGS of our time. Only titles like the Elder Scrolls series seem to make it over to consoles. But in this day and age that is no longer the case. Developers are making games for both PC and consoles and for the most part they do a good job.
In the case of Sacred 2, the PS3 version is actually a bit more stable and refined overall than the PC version. The transition between PC and PS3 doesnít actually feel like a port like a majority of them do. Perhaps most of this has to do with the control layout. Somehow Ascaron found a way to map all of the controls to the PS3 controller in such a way as to allow for comfortable user commands.
The main user commands such as attacks and combat arts are mapped conveniently to the PS3ís face buttons. While at first this seems rather limiting to me having only 4 commands usable at a time. Upon further inspection and a quick look at the onscreen control display every time you load a game, I found that you can map up to 12 commands with the aid of the main left and right triggers. This is good because there are a lot of weapons and combat arts to choose from to tailor your character how you see fit.
There are 6 character classes that a player can choose from and only one of them is a returning class from the original class. The 6 classes are Seraphim (the returning class), High Elf, Dryad, Temple Guardian, Shadow Warrior and Inquisitor. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses that one can expect from an RPG. Players then choose their desired path that they will take, Light or Shadow, which determines if they will bring chaos or peace to the lands.
Players must also choose which of the 6 Gods that they wish to worship. Two of the six classes are restricted to one of the two paths and may choose from only three of the Gods to aid them. Each God will bestow a very powerful special protection spell to your character. Each has a very log recharge time so itís best to use them only when you really need them.
Character development is an essential aspect of any good RPG no matter the flavor of the genre. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel has it in spades with the mind-numbing amount of possible combinations. Each character has three aspect areas that it excels in, such as the Seraphimís Exalted Warrior, Celestial Magic and Revered technology. Each aspect has 5 different arts that can be unlocked by collecting runes and reading them. You can even upgrade each combat art up to three times.
One thing that is confusing is that it really is not explained on how each rune works and relates to each other like it does in the PC version. So going in with out any knowledge of the PC version will make things a bit harder.
A couple aspects that I like involving the weapons and armor that you character uses is that each have a level assigned to them. This is very important as it directly correlates to the current level of your character. Buying or equipping weapons that are above your current level will hinder your character in combat. So itís very important to pay attention to the level of the item.
The world of Ancaria itself is perhaps one of my favorite things about Sacred 2. The world is absolutely massive, which adds instant appeal to me. This brings me to my first dilemma, which is the map. The map while it is really helpful at traversing the world of Ancaria suffers from a less than fantast zoom feature. To add to that problem the map is less detailed than the PC version, which makes certain locations hard to make out on the map.
Ancaria is a nicely crafted world complete with mountains, beaches, deep forests, lakes, fiery views, dungeons, caves, temples and well as a few sprinkling of cemeteries here and there. There really is no shortage of places to navigate through while you are killing everything that so much as raises a claw, hoof, wing, thin hairy leg or sword at you all the while chugging Mana, Jolt, Red Bull or what ever gives you your fix at 2 in the morning.
But one of the things that bug me is that you are limited on how you travel across this vast land. There are a lot of invisible walls that sort of direct you where you may or may not wan to go. I can understand the ones that are in place when youíre at the top of a high cliff, but when you canít walk across a narrow creek that I can see the bottom of under a few inches of water, that bugs me. This comes blatantly apparent when youíre trying to get to some of the quests that are off in the mountain region on the left side of the world map.
The one other thing that I noticed was that load times were sometimes a bit long. In the wilderness things loaded pretty well and hiccupped a few time when entering new areas. Towns however were another story entirely as I would sometimes outrun the load and have to wait for the loading complete.
One of the other things that I liked was the creature design. The creatures, which ranged from kobolds, rats and giant bats to massive boss creatures, are nicely designed. The first time I encountered the War Griffin, I saw only the transparent wings before it attacked me. So while foundering where the heck it had come from and slamming back potions like someone with a massive caffeine withdrawal as I cast every spell I had at it, I had to admire the beastís unique look.
I also particularly liked the quirky Temple Guardian class. This Anubis inspired class is a cyborg based character that sort of breaks the forth wall a bit as he is always remarking about leveling up and other game related comments. This character design also stands out amongst the other classes as being the most futuristic/modern looking being in Ancaria. The world itself is for the most part rooted in fantasy though with modern structures like the pipes carrying T-Energy thought the land. Sort of a mix of Geiger meets Tolkien.
Graphically Sacred 2 is pretty detailed in its presentation. Its many different locals offer players a change of pace as they fight their way through numerous enemies. The characters are fairly detailed as is the weapons and armor that protect them. One of the things that I like the most is the water animation for the water shores and creeks. The colors of the Ancaria are what bring its world to life. There are plenty of bright colors and darks alike when needed. The farming countrysides are nicely detailed as are the dark depths of the vast number of dungeons. There are some flaws in the world like a missing gap of water in a creek hidden in a forest that I thought at first was a secret. That was until I tried to cross it. The world isnít perfect but it holds its own for on the PS3.
The sound department of Sacred 2 is awesome in part but falters in others. The fantasy background music that plays while you roam the world is good, but I wish there was a little bit more variety outside of battle. But despite that there is something that I really do like. Blind Guardian, the German Celtic Metal band has teamed up with Ascaron to add a bit of their artistic style to the world of Ancaria Kicking things off with the head-banging tune seen in the opening video.
During various fights you can even hear various metal tunes as you fight off various hordes of enemies. Not only do you get to hear them but they even make an in-game appearance including their own side quest. There are plenty of sword slashing, and magic sound effects to be had as well as some seriously weird and even fourth wall comments from the NPCs and even your character.
Sacred 2 is an absolutely huge open world title. With over 600 quests spanning the fantasy world of Ancaria, you will have no shortage of things to kill and experience to gain. While this title in all it confusing and somewhat daunting world can be played alone, the best way to play is with friends.
The Multiplayer aspect of Sacred 2 can be played both online and off. Players can use their characters in either mode so you donít have to worry about being forced to make another avatar to fight with. Two people can play together on one system or you can play with up to four people via the PSN. Players can join or leave a hostís party at anytime as long as the game is active. Players can even trade items amongst each other, which can be very handy at times.
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is not the perfect console RPG but itís really enjoyable and highly addicting. Iíve played many action RPGs over the years most of them on the PC, so playing a big RPG on a console is a welcome change. The controls are solid, the interface is simplified and the fighting is satisfying. I recommend giving this adventure a try to anyone that looking for a good action RPG.