Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is a game where you play as either the hero that saves the day, or the evil cold hearted anti-hero that eats kittens for breakfast. At the beginning you choose whether to play the light campaign or the dark campaign, tasked with ensuring that the realm known as “Ancaria” falls back into order or plunging it into total chaos. With little in the way of an attempt to interact with the players emotions it is not a difficult decision to make. I have spent more time deciding whether or not to eat the last Rolo.
The story is focused on a mystic force know as T-Energy, and no this isn’t a drink for athletes but rather a Godlike power of creation. It was entrusted to the High Elves (pointy eared dudes) by the Seraphim (futuristic bright glowing dudes) and the High Elves dominated the realm through its use, though some High Elves objected to this. A conflict began and was to see Orcs, Humans and Temple Guardians joining forces to confront the High Elves, only the pointy eared dudes were far too powerful and they defeated all who opposed them. The war was costly and Ancaria was left in ruins. The races were scattered and the High Elves built a new civilization founded on T-Energy. A new conflict begins, but as it does so, the T-Energy is spreads across the land, mutating creatures and poisoning all it touches, essentially out of control. The player is to decide the fate of Ancaria by seeking to bring all the mayhem under control, or indeed fuel it and plunge the realm into darkness.
To anyone that has played the first Sacred, Diablo or Dungeon Siege, this game will soon feel familiar. What will grab your attention is just how well the controls are mapped to the PS3 pad: everything is within a second’s reach and whilst at first it seems quite sophisticated after a few moments it becomes so simple to use. This title is a great example of how a hack and slash loot fest of an RPG should be done on a console. It all works a treat, hacking away at a giant rat and then going all Harry Potter on it’s arse is that much better when you don’t need to mess around with button combinations or menu screens.
As is the norm with an RPG experience you get to choose a class of warrior to be. Apart from the names of each class there isn’t really anything new here, the usual close quarter combat warrior and spell casting wizard/witch classes are amongst those available. It is a welcome feature to play the game with a choice of using the various classes of warrior and tactics. Each class has their own unique abilities and individual looks, with any armour or weapon you equip actually being faithfully rendered on your character.
That leads me to the graphics. This game looks very nice, and there is a lot going on around you. The trees, grass, desert, sea, cities and wildlife all give that “magical realm” feel, and are never an eye-sore to look at. The frame rate can drop at times, but never enough to ruin the pace of the game, and combat usually remains fluid and well detailed. The camera works really well, with manual control, a top down or behind-the-character view on things.
The entire campaign can be played with up to three friends online with the option to go player vs player too. This is a great feature, as during the co-op campaign you are able to trade items, weapons and even give gold to others in your party. You can also hand over anything you pick up in single player that you feel a friend could do with. Should you wish to play locally there is support for another player to play with you on the same screen. Multiplayer is where this game really comes to life, as working as a team, combining strengths and abilities, works a treat. You do need to be within a certain character level of each other though, and be playing as a light or dark campaign character depending on the host’s campaign.
There is plenty of levelling up to be done, abilities to unlock and loot to be found. With mounts such as horses or unique mounts available to each individual class, you can gallop around Ancaria completing main story quests or any one of 500 side quests. This game will keep you occupied for a very long time indeed.
Sadly, however, there are flaws, and very evident ones too. Ascaron are known for developing “buggy” titles and Sacred 2 is no exception, this game could populate an empty rainforest with all the bugs within it. Nothing spoils a good multiplayer game like the sudden loss of voice chat, or when a team mate is seeing something completely different to what you are. There have been instances where I have been battling a whole horde of creatures only to have my co-op members inform me they are seeing nothing at all, and they were standing right next to me! The screen has also blacked out on me, and co-op players, meaning a restart and back to the XMB is the only way to get out of the game. This really does spoil the flow of things, and is a real nuisance when four of you are about to start a quest but two have to drop out due to the game locking up or playing up.
The game looks nice and as a hack ‘n slash adventure in single player is a great experience. Take it online or register another pad to the console, and the fun to be had in multiplayer is plentiful. The looting and levelling up provides that addiction to grinding through hordes of creatures, and trading with friends online is genius. I would like to give this game a higher score to reflect this, but the bugs mentioned in this review are unforgivable and can ruin an otherwise great gaming experience. If you have a lot of patience and don’t mind restarting the game a couple of times each time you play it, then sure, pick it up. Otherwise I would wait to see if Ascaron pull their finger out and fix the crushing bugs hampering a game that would otherwise be a must-buy.