STAFF REVIEW of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (Xbox 360)


Friday, June 12, 2009.
by Rick Wallace

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Box art At one time, Diablo was the game of choice when it came to looting RPG style games. Then along came World of Warcraft which has been a staple of the PC gaming world for quite some time now. We have been waiting for a Diablo or World of Warcraft clone to come along on the consoles, and it seems that we are one step closer to that moment with Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. Sacred 2 is a hack and slash/RPG/looting game that fulfills many needs of those yearning for a World of Warcraft style game on the consoles. It has a few shortcomings, but overall it gets the job done and satisfies the yearn of a great looting title on our beloved console.

Sacred 2 is not the most beautiful game to look at. The environments are vast and do portray the climate and general aura of the land, but when it comes to detail there is not much to be seen. You'll be able to zoom out or zoom in on your character using the right thumbstick, but more times than not you'll want to be zoomed out. When zoomed in over the shoulder of your hero you just cannot see where you are going or whats ahead of you. The game details do look great in zoom mode and the forged weaponry looks awesome such as a weapon forged to create flame damage. That looks very cool. Game details such as enemies are distinguishable even with the less than stellar graphics, and your hero has some interesting detail included with the gear he/she can equip and the weapons that he/she carries. I personally think different camera views or even a first person type of view could have enhanced the graphical experience so much more. What we do have visually actually works in the game and does not detract from the overall experience. I would have liked to have been able to tilt the camera down to at least ground level instead of the three quarter view which is used consistently. One graphical error that happens quite often is that quite a few times I found NPC's hanging in mid air or suspended over villages. At first I thought maybe they were just magical and practicing some spell, but realized that not to be true when one of the weapon merchants was suspended in mid air too. Overall the graphics are somewhat of a mixed bag if I had to judge them as a whole.


The sounds of the game are nothing to go crazy about. In fact, the voice acting in the game is a bit on the corny side throughout the campaign. Enemies will come out with things like I don't want to die., despite them attacking you first. Or even more so, your main character has some one liners that wouldn't even be good enough for the three stooges. I used the Shadow Warrior and his voice was extremely reminiscent of the Two Worlds main hero voice which was just completely over the top in heroic terms. A bit annoying after a while honestly. As for environment sounds, there really isn't a whole lot to say other than they could have been a little more in depth or perhaps exciting at times. As for the soundtrack, well its not Halo 3 in that category, but once again it seems good enough to fit the tone of the game. You'll get different changes in tempo according to the action on screen.

But while all of that may seem like a downer to some folks, its the gameplay that one should look at to judge how good or bad a game is. Sacred 2 does have some drawbacks, but as I stated earlier its overall delivery in the gameplay category definitely gets the job done and should be quite satisfying to dungeon crawlers across the world. As I mentioned before, the game holds many similarities to Diablo, World of Warcraft and typical dungeon crawler style games with plenty of looting, enemies and leveling to be done.

When you start the game you begin by making your character choosing from 6 different types an each with their own special abilities, skills, mounts and weaponry. Those classes are: Seraphim, High Elf, Dryad, Temple Guardian, Shadow Warrior and Inquisitor. You'll also get to determine which path you are going to take throughout your campaign; either Light or Shadow. Light of course represents Good and Shadow represents Evil. You'll also have to choose a Deity which will give you a special summoning power such as causing enemies to fight each other, or they become blinded, etc.


One of the really cool features in Sacred 22 is the ability to play cooperatively. You can play with 2 players on one console or up to 4 players over Xbox Live. You can even take 2 local players and play with 2 other folks on Live. You'll be able to open your game up for anyone to jump in at anytime and give you a hand. You can also take you character and jump into anyone's game across live and keep the level and loot you accrue while playing with that person or persons. So lets say you just popped the game in for the first time, created your character and just want to jump into online action. You can do so immediately and then come back and start your own campaign with that same character. And again, any gold, weapons or level gained online will be with you in your own game. A very great feature is you ask me. Along with coop, you will also be able to participate in Player vs Player matches (PvP).

Something that can be somewhat of a negative in the game is the fact that the person that starts a game online is essentially the host or server. So when joining games you have to hope that the host has a stable and fast internet connection. Otherwise get ready for lag heaven, and this could be catastrophic in PvP matches. I really wish they would allow the person with the fastest internet connection to take over hosting responsibilities in any room. I haven't experienced much in the way of lag or bad connections, but it is something you need to keep in mind.

So lets talk about the control scheme a little bit. Everything you need to do is a button press away and you can assign hot keys to specific weapons and talents. One thing that can get annoying is the fact that the game actually remembers how many times you press an attack button. For instance, say it take 2 kills to take down an enemy, but you hit the A button 4 times then it will still attack 2 more times even though the enemy is down and out. There are times when this will hurt you such as a moment when you need to heal, but you have to wait for the attack sequence to end. Meanwhile you end up dying because the enemies around you continue to attack while you are swinging at air. Frustrating to say the least!


Other than that little control scheme debacle, everything else seems to works well. With button presses you can get to your inventory easily, heal, attack, summon powers, etc. Its all based upon how you hot key your items and assign them to the buttons. One thing that did become a little annoying was that the left bumper is assigned to to talk to talk to NPC's in the game AND it is also the trade button. So when playing coop there are several times when one would try to talk to an NPC but their partner would hit the left bumper too and then the trade screen would pop up. Very annoying. Hit detection or just general attacking seems to at times be a bit frustrating. You can be swinging away at enemies and never hit a single soul. Even when you are surrounded. So yes, the game does have some glaring issues that can become frustrating.

Sacred 2 has a wide array of things you would expect in a vast looting RPG. You'll be able to forge weapons into more powerful weapons, and learn new skills and combat arts. You'll earn skills points which can be used to build up your attributes and skill levels. The level cap for characters in the game is 200, which should give players plenty of playing time with their favorite created character. Overall the game as a whole is a lot of fun to play and does a lot of things right. Unfortunately there are a few glaring issues that seem to hold it back somewhat and keep it from being a truly great game. I have enjoyed the time I spent with it and will spend many more hours without a doubt. If you like looting games then you should definitely pick this one up. The single player alone is fun, but being able to play online with buddies or go into PvP mode is all the more bonus and makes this game stand alone in its class on the console. There is so much detail I could go into within the game and much of it is done very well and will not disappoint the most diehard dungeon crawler fans. Do yourself a favor and check this title out.


Suggestions:
I would love to see more specialized items and weapons categorized by color. Rarity is a key element of looting games and there is really nothing that distinguishes rare items from normal items that I have seen other than value. I would also love to see the world/story expanded through DLC add-ons in the future.


Overall: 7.1 / 10
Gameplay: 7.8 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.8 / 10

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