Welcome to Ancaria home of T-Energy and dungeon running dreams. If collecting loot, grinding levels and completing quests is your cup of tea, then you are going to be enjoying a couple hundred hours running around this rather colourful and open world. Boasting over 500 quests, a whole range of characters and a plethora of spells to choose from, as well as online co-op and PVP, Sacred 2 is shaping up to be quite a promising title. Does all this really deliver on the Xbox 360 version of the title or is it worth just hanging on for Diablo 3?
I’ll be honest; Sacred 2 is full of frustrating little bugs. From losing your save game to joining some online matches, there are many little annoying glitches that really take away from the fun. Thing is though, these niggling annoyances didn’t stop me from picking up the game again and again. Hours I sat and levelled up my High Elf and Seraphim on and offline. The game is so addictive it’s quite confusing seeing that the actual product itself is in dire need of some work.
There are 6 characters to choose from, all ranging from your traditional melee character to your range and magic classes. The game works just like any other action RPG would, where you run around, kill a lot of monsters, pick up loot and accept quests. Nothing about Sacred 2’s delivery of these methods feels unique or special in anyway. Levelling slows down quite quickly as you hit the mid 30’s, and depending on your character of choice the game can go from a quick run through to a frustratingly difficult play through.
My main issue with Sacred 2 is the fact not much is explained to the new user. For someone who is new to the Sacred universe, like myself, I had to go online to read tips on character builds and even how to dual wield weapons as none of this is really explained in the game like it should be. Equipping weapons is all about reading stats, but with no real comparison to what you already have, making it all about concentrating and noting down lots of numbers that you shouldn’t really have to do. Even more confusing is that the weapon section doesn’t have an auto equip button but the armour section does. Even the simple selection of your class does not have a clear indication on what stats and special skills you should really be levelling, which is quite a confusing system.
You are also given items called ‘Runes’ that help teach your character new skills as well as improve previous ones. While it seems like a great idea to eat as many as you can, my advice from forums has been to keep it all in moderation. My simple mistake of munching down on too many from an early level has left my High Elf taking such a long time to cast spells – she is practically useless. That’s if you still have your characters after loosing one to a save glitch!
With all the above said it’s not to say that Sacred 2 is a bad game at all. The control from PC to controller is quite fluid. Using the trigger buttons to shift through numerous pre-set spells and each button on the controller corresponding to certain attacks or magic, it’s very quick and easy to do what you need done. The camera is quite well placed and can be zoomed in or out to your taste of play. At times the zoomed in game play can feel a little uncomfortable and having to switch to and from your map over and over can become quite a chore with how long it takes to load the map. It’s best to play how it should be played with a zoomed out camera so you can see all the action clearly as well as keep an eye on what is ahead.
Graphically the game isn’t impressive, but it isn’t ugly either. While some of the characters could have had a more attractive look to their face or hair styles, the fact you play zoomed out most of the time keeps it in balance. The magic spells and range attacks all look superb and I even like the fact that some spells such as the ice storm can make the grass blow in the direction of your spell. The world is open and colourful, which is something of a welcome change to the dark atmosphere Diablo used to display. The majority of the game requires little loading outside, but as soon as you hit a town or heavily crowded built up area the game will constantly have to load even after installation.
Storyline wise there isn’t much to build from, you are set a quest according to the character class you decide on at the start. The general gist is to help out towns and cities making the world safer to live in. This means collecting loot for people, killing hit men and monsters as well as some rather enjoyable large boss fights. The opening video talks about T-Energy and the problems it causes, but it is very seldomly mentioned in the game.
You do have a main quest line to follow, which is highlighted by a gold ring on the map, and quests are highlighted by a silver circle. Class specific quests are circled in blue giving you plenty to do and direction on where to go when lost. The game can get pretty repetitive at times but this is really what top action RPG’s are all about. Levelling up and getting some great weapons and armour.
I would say the majority of the Sacred 2 fan base is online. You can create a co-op campaign for up to 4 friends to join on any difficulty you please. You can even join someone half way through one of theirs to help them out with quests and levelling. One issues I personally had with the lobby was the fact that each game had level caps on them, which is annoying for friends who might have more time than yourself to level-up your characters. With only a 10 level gap to work with it’s tough to get in a game with some truly skilled players hitting the near hundreds. The other major issue with the lobby system is the fact it constantly advertises full games. The max you can have is 4 players in one match, but the lobby system still displays the match in play, even if it’s full.
Online play though is just as smooth as simple play, going on the map and selecting your friends arrow to teleport you straight to them, saving on some serious meet up time on the massive world available. There is also Free World and PVP modes to choose from where you can your friends can battle against each other for fun.
With all the major issues Sacred 2 seems to encounter, the game is still very enjoyable and additive. Even with my concerns in the game, I still managed to clock over 30 hours of addictive levelling gameplay, without really touching on quarter of the quests or character story arcs. Online play is really where the heart of this title is, but with a little care and some patching Sacred 2 is defiantly a title worth picking up in the long wait for Diablo.