MG’s Take: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (360)
Author :        Date : 04-Jul-09

Work has been a bit brutal as of late, so I scheduled a three day weekend for myself to recharge the internal battery a bit.  What better way to do this?  Pick up a new game, score some beverages and a big handful of those monster-sized Slim Jims and dig in for some gaming.

Being a big RPG fan, I checked the new release calendar and Sacred 2: Fallen Angel for the Microsoft Xbox 360 jumped out at me.  The decision had been made. A rmed with my rations and new software title, draperies were closed, gaming chair/table positioned and I was ready to do battle.  With all of this preparation, I was desperately hoping not to be disappointed since the title received good but not great reviews thus far from some of the big gaming websites.  Quite to the contrary, I have been pleasantly surprised.

Story

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is an open-ended, action/adventure RPG set in a typical fantasy medieval world called Ancaria.  You have a few different gaming options, including two separate offerings for the primary single player mode – a Light and Dark campaign.  Online multi-player mode is also available.  You are presented with a choice of six (6) character classes in which to customize your Hero (or Villain), none of which really stands out on their own but I have seen much worse.

The storyline is pure vanilla ice cream – the standard thoroughfare of Good vs. Evil (or vice-versa).  In all honesty, it does not even merit further text.  Usually the backbone of any good RPG, Sacred 2 is still successful without this core ingredient.  The actual game world of Ancaria is the complete opposite – it is well developed and incredibly HUGE.  Think Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and multiply that by 10 and that will give you some idea.  There are literally over 1,000 locations to visit spread across nine (9) different lands with 600+ quests to take on.  Each of these ‘continents’ are unique and expertly detailed to deliver the appropriate atmosphere.  The huge expanse coupled with open-ended game play may be daunting to some.  The map system is good and quest indicators are provided.  The world itself is ‘unveiled’ as you discover it – portions of the map are revealed during your exploration (ala Two Worlds).  It will take you around 30 hours to complete the main story – 100+ to complete all of the side quests.


Graphics

Game graphics are very good, though not spectacular. There are instances where items will be drawn before your very eyes in the more intricate environments (usually occurring during map teleportation). A few times you will receive the ‘Loading’ icon while in certain towns – once again this is due to the complexity of the city. These I found to be a minor annoyance compared to my overall experience. In general, I have been very pleased with the graphical performance of Sacred 2.


Audio \ Sound Effects

Audio performance is also somewhat average.  NPCs do chatter a bit in the background and your Hero does have their fair share of sayings.  Like most games, these tend to become rather repetitive but does not deter from the overall gaming experience.  I will admit that I have been pleasantly surprised at times by the dry humor that is liberally used during character dialog.  Sound effects are generally very good but nothing to write home about.


Game Play

The game is played from an isometric viewpoint and the controls are tight and easy to learn/master. Often times you are attacked by hoards of creatures/monsters/foes. There is some button mashing required to repel these assaults but all in all I have not found this to be tiring in the least. Enemies will randomly re-spawn (both in type/location) and there is never any shortage of heathens to slay.

Character building is an integral part of any RPG. While Sacred 2 does not introduce anything fresh to the genre, it does incorporate tried and true past practices quite well. There is an exception in this area – Skill Allotment. This is tricky to say the least and is essential to get it right to ensure your warrior does not end up with a grave marker above their head. I won’t get into great detail here, but ensuring that both the selection of and investment into the correct Skills is critical. My tip – invest heavily into the Enhanced Perception skill early and often.  Your farming efforts will net you plenty of coin, experience and the best part of Sacred 2 – the spoils of war.

This game is all about ‘da loot’, plain and simple. You will amass countless items including armor, weapons, potion ingredients, books, etc. I admit that I am a junkie for games like this – Balder’s Gate, Diablo 2, Champions of Norath, etc. None of those comes close to fulfilling my primeval hunter/gatherer instincts quite the way that Sacred 2 does. You can stockpile sets of armor that provide additional stat bonuses, legendary weapons and unique items. Dealing out mass destruction and the ensuing leftover carnage definitely pays dividends – more importantly it is a BLAST! As mentioned earlier in this article, investing into the Enhanced Perception skill will result in better drops from the miserable minions you put to their deserved death. Managing the acquired conquests of battle is another matter.

The inventory management system in Sacred 2 is brutal. It is rather clunky and does not have any type of ‘sort’ feature, which is a colossal omission in this area considering the focus of this game. Most items are automatically categorized according to their respective type (i.e. Helmet) but there is no other option to sort them further – like by strength. There is an ‘auto-equip’ function to clothe your fighter with the best armor you have in your inventory. This works pretty well, but does not take into account any of the attribute enhancements most pieces offer (which most often will outweigh the standard armor rating).


Summary

I started writing this article over a month ago. Needless to say, I have had to repeatedly restock my gaming beverages and munchies many times while enjoying this truly epic game. Yes – the story is rather bland and the game itself does have some minor flaws, but the pure enjoyment of this title is excellent. Isn’t that what it is all about anyway?

Overall I highly recommend Sacred 2: Fallen Angel to anyone who is a fan of the following games:
o Two Worlds (Xbox 360)
o Diablo 2 (PC)
o Champions of Norath (PS2)
o Balder’s Gate (various platforms)


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