Sacred 2: Fallen Angel marks the first time this dungeon crawler series has landed on a console, but has it made the jump successfully? Let’s go on a quest to find out!
You start off Sacred 2: Fallen Angel just like any other WRPG: by choosing your character's class - either Seraphim, Dryad, Shadow Warrior, Inquisitor, High Elf, or Temple Guardian. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, so players should pick based on their play style. Next you name them, pick either a Light or Shadow alignment, and their Deity, who provide an extra ability.
When you begin the story you can either play an online campaign – meaning you can invite others to play co-op - or play alone. The other game modes consist of two free world modes: Free World and PVP Free World, which is a simple grinding and item collection fare.
The story is pretty straightforward. Ancaria was locked in civil war over magical energy; now said energy has leaked into the environment because they didn’t maintain the infrastructure, and it's turning perfectly harmless bears into killing machines. Now it’s up to you to either save or conquer it.
Sacred 2 plays like any other dungeon crawler - you travel from town to town, fighting off hordes of animals and bandits in-between to gain experience/acquire new items. Quests that tell the story are marked with red rings, while side-quests are marked with silver rings. Most players will probably stick to the main quest, as the majority of side quests are simple ‘clean out this dungeon’ or ‘find my items’ jobs. However, it pays to do a couple of them, as a few of the achievements are unlocked via side quests in specific towns.
The problem is that Ancaria is big - so big you’ll often spend up to half an hour walking to the next town, while being attacked by nature. Although there are check points you can activate to make traveling more painless if you need to backtrack, it still takes a long time going forward – even on horseback - and you have no way of sprinting.
One of Sacred 2’s high points is the control scheme – Ascaron has done a fantastic job of bringing intuitive WRPG to consoles; items and weapons are assigned to the d-pad and face buttons respectively, and the item management has been switched to menus instead of dragging and dropping items as you would on PC.
Unfortunately, there was a problem with switching weapons in mid-battle; for some reason when you switched from holding down Y to A, the weapons didn’t change straight away - I had four shots set off after the weapons should have switched. Obviously this could cost you your life if you aren’t careful – a problem, if only because there’s an achievement for completing the story without dying.
The environments look great - Sacred 2: fallen Angel is one of the best looking WRPGs in recent memory, with gorgeous grass-covered fields and detailed player models. Zoom in for a closer look however, and you’ll notice a problem when using the rear camera; it centers on your character so you can only see about five feet in front of you. It’s even worse when you’re riding a horse or walking up a hill. This angle looks good for showing off your character’s attire; functionality-wise you’re better off sticking to the default top-down cam.
Once you enter a town you’ll find NPCs to talk to and jobs (side-quests) to take up - in exchange for experience, loot and, at one point, a concert. The latter takes place when you run into Hansi Kürsch, lead singer of German power metal band Blind Guardian – he will have a main quest mission to complete, after which players will be treated to an exclusive concert at a bar (this is just icing on the cake for (potential) fans). In addition, you’ll occasionally hear an NPC-voiced Hansi Kürsch singing the theme tune. Sadly this represents the best of the voice acting – the rest is abysmal, although it can be forgiven since the dialogue is so entertaining.
Unfortunately, another of this console port’s most notable problems also rears its ugly head in town: load times. The game will occasionally show a spinning disc at the top of the screen; while your character can move freely, you won’t be able to move out of the onscreen part of town - and the larger the town, the worse it gets. The up side of this is where most console games will load before you enter a town, Sacred 2 lets you ride/walk straight in – you can even take your horse into taverns and houses.
If you can overlook a few big problems, or just can’t afford to upgrade your PC, the console port of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel still provides a solid action RPG with top notch visuals and a truly epic soundtrack thanks to Blind Guardian.