Sacred 2: Fallen Angel PS3 Review

To say that Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is big would be a “big” understatement. Its world is a huge 22 square miles, its quests number in the hundreds and it will take a significant amount of time to see everything that its universe, Ancaria, has to offer. If you can believe it, big doesn’t even begin to cover the scope of Sacred 2.

Sacred 2 is of the hack-and-slash variety, a genre that its fans play for the valuable loot and combat over interesting quest design and storylines. It’s a genre that often has a focus on cooperative multiplayer, which for many players also has a competitive element to it, where races for the loot are a common happening.

Your first task in Sacred 2 is to choose your character class, of which encompass both ends of the morality spectrum. It’s the usual bunch of magic users, warriors and in betweens. Sadly, you’re not able to do much to alter your character’s appearance, save for choosing their hairstyle and colour, which is a shame for those who have spent many an hour tweaking ear height.

With this done, you’re free to roam the vast area, taking down all manner of enemies and stealing their items. Thankfully, once you discover and activate portals littered around the world (have I mentioned that it’s huge?) you’re able to teleport when the need arises, making exploration around the pleasant world less of a slog than it could have been. You’re also able to purchase mounts, allowing you to traverse the area quicker and, at the same time, granting you various combat bonuses.

There’s a heavy abundance of quests, most of which are separate mini stories and not a part of the overarching storyline, but nonetheless are still a key part of the game. The quests vary in challenge and quality, but, with the sheer amount of them on offer, it would really be unfair to expect anything more. There’s fetch quests and escort quests, most of which usually involve you killing things.

The killing side of things is carried out through a very simple stat driven combat system. Melee attacks are pulled off by just holding down the attack button, and successful strikes, evasions and whatnot are governed by stats. Sensibly, enemies will level up alongside you, which allows you to explore any corner of Ancaria right from the beginning, it also allows you to hack away to your hearts content, without ever feeling too overpowered. Those who were dismayed at Oblivion’s approach to this can rest assured that a simple rat or whatever may very well grow in power, but it’s always much weaker than other enemies.

Defeated enemies and completed quests will earn you experience, of which when you amass enough will result in you levelling up, allowing you to improve your stats and obtain new skills, which in turn gives you a good sense of progression.

Further character tailoring is possible by visiting blacksmiths to fit enhancements to your weapons and armour. The amount and quality you’re able to attach varies, of which is determined by the type and number of slots each weapon or armour possesses.

Sacred 2 can be played in multiplayer and it’s here where the game truly comes to life. Loot hunting becomes even more fun when you have others vying for it too. It can be played both online (performance is a bit hit and miss and right now it’s not hugely populated) for up to four players and in local multiplayer, which strangely only allows for two players, and this PS3 version doesn’t even allow you go online with a guest player, which is a disappointing omission to say the least.

All of the above are largely very good reasons to be playing Sacred 2, the story however is not. It‘s set in a largely by the numbers (but nonetheless lush and well realised) fantasy world, though there’s a slight twist to this: the world is powered by magical T-energy, a mysterious energy source, that is mutating creatures, whilst opposing races have also gone to war over it. There are two stories, one for each alignment, but it doesn’t change the fact that, whilst it’s not a bad story, it certainly could have been better and isn’t at all helped by the cheesy voice acting and occasionally weak dialogue.

Another more serious issue is the game’s lack of polish. It looks rather nice overall, with a reasonable level of detail making your potentially long stay in Ancaria a more pleasant period, but it’s dampened by an erratic frame rate, it’s never bad enough to be unplayable, but is nonetheless an annoying problem. Escort missions usually have your companion getting lost, only to teleport right behind you. There’s also a number of mostly minor bugs, all of which conspire to pull you out of Ancaria and back into the dreary real world.

Sacred 2 may have its fair share of problems but they’re not enough to truly get in the way of the games achievements, namely its vast world and the largely well executed fighting, looting and menu fiddling facets that make for such a highly addictive game. In spite of this, there’s no getting away from the fact that, free of its problems, Sacred 2: Fallen Angel could have been something truly special.