Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Review
The hack and slash genre is making a small, quiet comeback. The pinnacle of the genre was arguably reached 12 years ago with the release of Diablo. A series of clones flooded the market in the following years, including its own sequel in 2000, and the development of a third game was announced in 2008. When game franchises like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath achieved success on the last generation of consoles, it helped the genre gain further recognition and appeal.
This generation has seen a few notable titles in the last few years, including Too Human on Xbox 360 and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom on PS3. The newest entry Sacred 2: Fallen Angel picks up the reins with a firm understanding of the past and the fundamental mechanics that make this style of game addictive fun.
Seeing how the obsessive loot-grab gameplay mechanic went on to inspire a whole new genre of games in the form of massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), it's funny yet fitting how Sacred 2 picks out a few plum innovations from MMORPGs with which to reinvigorate and push the hack and slash genre in a new but natural direction on home consoles.
When the whole point of the game centers around grabbing the best armor or weapon, what's the point if you can't make others drool over your latest gear? Fortunately, one of most welcomed features of Sacred 2 is its robust multiplayer options. Players are able to host player-vs-player (PVP) sessions, adventure online with up to four buddies, or slouch on your couch for 2 player co-op.
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Following the lead of games like World of Warcraft, Sacred 2 offers players mounts to traverse the truly immense landscape. And believe us when we say immense, because the game world never seems to end. Players can walk in a single direction and continuously find new lands to explore, without load times between sections since graphics data are streamed in the background. But this amount of data comes at a cost because there does seem to be minor but persistent slowdown in the form of screen tearing and pop-in as the graphics are being loaded.
Players may feel frustrated with the map on the upper left hand side of the HUD. There are arrows that point in the general direction of where quest objectives are located, but they fail to consider land masses that might obstruct the path. It's up to players to find their way. In this respect, the mounts are a welcomed but ineloquent workaround.
There are seven character classes, ranging from the melee character to the magic character. The character models favor the female form since 5 of them are women, with only the Inquistor and Shadow Warrior class being males. Combat is simple and so is the enemy A.I. As your character progresses, the combat becomes a bit more interesting.
There is a massive amount of both gear and spells to mess around with. Leveling comes at a brisk pace because the missions are abundant and the difficulty of each mission is prominently displayed, but some players may be at odds with the monotonous quest design. Story-wise, the plot is a little thin for players trained on traditional RPGs.
Sacred 2 is a superior port of the PC version that was released last year due to a streamlined interface that keeps the capabilities of a console controller in mind. Unfortunately, there are still a few missteps with the A.I. path-finding and targeting system -- things which definitely should have been perfected for the console version. The graphics are a little dated, but considering the huge world, it's understandable.
Technical shortcomings coupled with the repetitive combat and quests endemic to the genre hinder the game from achieving absolute greatness. Its hard-core, no-nonsense gameplay and lack of any tutorial might turn off novices to hack and slash games. For genre veterans and devotees, Sacred 2 is a competent and addictive addition for the game collection.