Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
|a game by||Studio II Software GmbH|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
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|See also:||RPGs, Sacred Game Series|
Sacred 2 Fallen Angel is epic in pretty much every sense of the word. For instance, it has a power metal theme song, penned by Teutonic veterans Blind Guardian. The terrain measures an impressive 22 square miles, there are 200 character levels to attain and the number of quests approaches 500 or so.
The question is whether you will stick around long enough to really get to grips with the game's impressive array of content If you liked Diablo and are salivating at the prospect of getting back into its dungeons, Sacred 2 will keep you going until Diablo II's release. If you didn't. Sacred2 will be an experience comparable to having your eyes pecked out by eagles.
Set 2,000 years before the events of the original Sacred, the plot centres around a struggle to control the world of Ancaria's most important resource: T-Energy. You are thrust into this world as either a follower of Light or Shadow, with subsequent events being determined by your choice. For example, choose a Light character and you will be attempting to stem the chaos and bring peace. Go the other way and your destiny will be to further destabilise the situation. How you go about doing this will be familiar to anybody who's played a Diablo clone before. You left-click to attack enemies, loot their corpses for items that you can sell at a trader or keep for yourself, and you also obtain quests, which are completed by leftclicking on enemies, looting their corpses... you get the idea.
Each character, of which there are six, has a variety of unique abilities and specialities, meaning that there's substantial replay value if you're insane enough to want more. You can even take your character online for PvP and co-op PvE action, if that takes your fancy.
The major problem with this game is one of perception - if you don't mind hideously repetitive clicking, then you'll be in your element with Sacred 2. Likewise, if you don't mind a game mired in the worst kind of fantasy cliche, Sacred 2 will float your proverbial boat.
But for the rest of us. having been exposed to the likes of The Witcher. Sacred 2 is a big step backwards for the RPG genre. Graphically pleasing as it is, the gameplay doesn't have that special something required to entice the outsider, which is a shame considering how much effort has been put into creating the universe.
Download Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
We've Gone Years without a successor to Diablo II - perhaps the MMO-boom put a dampener on the need to wander through caves with swords of increasing girth, facing monsters of increasing size and fangs. Whatever, in the run up to what will be the announcement of Diablo III, prime examples of hackage and slashage are oozing out of the fantastical woodwork and sitting obstinately on the horizon. Their names are legion, and some not a little rubbish, but chief among them in probable worth and certainly graphical goodness is Sacred 2: Fallen Angel.
"I'm not sure that action RPGs have ever really been away," counters Alan Wild of Ascaron. "There have been a number of releases over the years, and plenty of contenders have tried (and failed) to come close to reaching the rewards of a certain benchmark title for many years now..."
The accessible freeform nature of Sacred combined with a few lovably innovative character classes (Vampiresses, Gladiators and Seraphims rather than rogues, monks and assassins) made for a crazy, addictive and surprisingly successful formula.
Bringing Sexy Back
Now it's all coming back, but with that same drive for originality in tow - to the extent that only the sexy wings of the Seraphim will be making a return from the first game - ably assisted by a cast of five: Shadow Warrior, Inquisitor, High Elf, Dryad and Temple Guardian. As your chosen warrior, you'll then stride across the map following quests, over scripted hill and through randomly generated dungeon in traditional style.
Alongside your character's own background and motives, there'll also be the equivalent of a morality-driven swanee-whistle quavering in pitch backstage - if you do bad stuff then evil quests will open themselves up to you, and vice versa if you wear a permanent halo.
I "Monsters will remain monsters, but the NPC cities will be anxious or even hostile towards the player," explains Ward on Ascaron's newfound BioWare stylings. "The shadow campaign will run parallel to the good campaign, but from a different perspective: protagonist and antagonist will be reversed."
Sacred 2 takes place a good couple of thousand years before its former incarnation's monster mash, and its story of elvish civil war is set ground a typically obtuse concept known asT-energy - something that will undoubtedly show its power through pretty lighting effects.
With two-thirds of the play area open to you from its very start, and a play area you could sprint over in a good number of hours (presumably less when you get F your character-specific mount to add some sparkle to your travel - Shadow Warriors get Hell Hounds for example), Sacred II: Fallen Angel wears sufficiently different shades of bloody red to its rivals bobbing on the horizon. Big question is - will Diablo III appear in the meantime? Quite cruelly, we hope so - but fans of the swipe-n-slay adventure will certainly get a more than proficient outing in smitage come its release.
Much Like The land of Britain could, in whimsy, be said to be powered by tea energy, Sacred's world of Ancaria is powered by T-Energy, which is probably a different sort of energy. In fact, the sequel to 2004's 1.6 million-selling Sacred is all about T-Energy, it being the source of all magic and thought (and bunnies and flowers no doubt). Set 2,000 years before the original, Sacred2: Fallen Angel sees six character classes setting out on a wild adventure to prevent T-Energy falling into the wrong hands. Think Dude, Where's My Car? except with elves and fairies.
Could it be murmured that the action-RPG is making a comeback? Could you declare at the dinner table that, with the announcement of Sored 2 and the imminent arrival of Hellgate: London, the genre that brought us Diablo and, er, Diablo 2 is about to see a revival? Well we certainly wouldn't bet against it. In keeping with current gaming conventions, Sacred 2 will feature both a light and a dark campaign, which means you'll be making moral decisions (we love those) to further yourself along a path of honour or corruption.
Sacred was a massively popular loot 'em up, and with the sequel launching itself into 3D, adding things like mystic mounts, improved fighting on horseback, hugely improved Al and all the improvements you'd expect from an RPG sequel (such as shinier treasure to find), there's no reason why it can't sell just as well for a second time. 1.6 million players can't be wrong, but can they be right twice in a row?