Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Review
This roleplaying game hits likem a fallen angel.
Review by Lewis Denby
Published 24th November 2008
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
- Developer: Ascaron
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: 5th November 2008
Sacred 2 is a funny one. It's a huge, sprawling action-RPG with literally hundreds of quests littered about the world. At times, it's a welcome rerun of the genre's mechanics of old, with enemies down every path, lots of traditional fantasy archetypes, and scantily-clad women with big bosoms. It's also the sequel to reasonable Diablo-alike Sacred, released years ago in a flurry of copycat titles, a game that stood out amongst the drab genre clones. But, while Fallen Angel has its moments, many of them are of awkward clumsiness and crippling boredom.
The opening hour ranks amongst one of the worst I've ever played in a high-profile title. Sacred 2 doesn't bother to get bogged down with the story until far beyond most players have lost hope of ever enjoying the thing, which isn't the best way to plan an opening. After your companion is ridiculously murdered by the weakling swing of a couple of enemy sword blades, it's your job to continue your friend's quest ¨C whatever that may be.
Later, things begin to get a bit more interesting, and the dynamics of it alter rather sweetly on repeat plays with different characters. Quests lead to places of intrigue and side-plots branch off satisfyingly, but it took me around five hours of playing to find anything of much interest. To be fair, this is the sort of classic RPG that could take hundreds of hours to see to completion ¨C but when the opening is as drab as that of Sacred 2, it's difficult to imagine anyone seeing it that far.
The game's mechanics are dated at best, plain awful at worst. I appreciate what Sacred 2 is trying to do: it's a throwback to a more simplistic era of RPGs, an era when the fun came from a combination of frantic slashing and exploration of exciting, well-written characters. But when it becomes apparent that the characters are neither exciting nor well-written at all, the clunky action becomes the game's sole focal point.
Fighting consists of clicking repeatedly on enemies and occasionally casting a spell with the other button. The levelling system cheats enormously early on, which possibly annoyed me more than anything else Sacred 2 threw at me. Instead of making attacks slightly weaker at lower levels (which, to be fair, it does as well), it also makes them wildly and hopelessly inaccurate. If I'm standing half a metre away from a static enemy, holding a big piece of metal, I expect to be able to actually hit them more than a fifth of the time. When enemies regularly arrive in groups of ten or more, this becomes inexplicably annoying.
I appreciate that large groups of enemies are part of the game's very intentional design, but it simply doesn't work in these early stages. When skill points can be found elsewhere, it can become rather tempting to just run away from the ridiculous foes, who tend to stop following after just a few seconds.
That's if they're not appearing out of thin air in front of you, which regularly happens. Other unforgivable bugs include looping speech (made all the worse by the awful voice acting) and the occasional inability to pick up certain items. Sacred 2 feels shockingly unfinished, given the length of time between the original and this sequel.
The sheer scale of the game goes some way to making up for its numerous problems, although early on, with little narrative direction, it could go some way to alienating even more players. While the path through the game world is reasonably restricted, the amount of quests to be found along the way is nothing short of incredible. I poured a healthy amount of time into Sacred 2, and I wouldn't profess to have finished even half of it. Combined with the fact that playing through as different characters generates slightly different stories, and playing through the campaign in 'light' or 'dark' mode goes as far as drastically altering individual quests, this is a rather impressive feat.
Ultimately, though, it's the negatives that stick in mind first and foremost. It runs abominably when it shouldn't do. It freezes and stutters on even a high-end machine, and unless the settings are whacked way up high, the engine doesn't look that nice. If you've a system that can max the thing out, the detail is fairly impressive, but only when the camera's zoomed in. Otherwise, everything looks a little messy and unconvincing.
Then there's the abysmal voice actors delivering drab lines of a script that thinks it's being ironic. It's not. It's being boring and rubbish, and that it makes a vague attempt to qualify this only ends up working against it. I don't remember the music, so that can't be a good thing. I remember quite liking the sound of some birds flying overhead at one point, but the fact that I'm clutching at this as a highlight should suggest something to you.
Disappointing, then. Oddly enough, Sacred 2 has fulfilled its promises in a way. It is indeed huge, the plot is indeed dynamic, and the engine's detail is indeed (occasionally) impressive. But the problem was never going to be the approach. Sadly, Sacred 2's execution is horrifically lacking, and the result is a bland and unimportant videogame.
Review Score: 6.6/10
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