Preview: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Hands-On (PC)

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Yes, yes, so I have finally returned with my hands-on report on Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. Sorry, I know it took a few days (or week…) longer than expected, but I got so swept up in the world of Ancaria that I couldn’t pull myself away, something I promised myself I wouldn’t do because, you know, this is only a preview build and I didn’t want to get too far into it before really sinking my teeth into the finished product. So much for that…

Take that as a good sign, though. The fact that Sacred 2 hooked me in so quickly and wouldn’t let me stop playing is exactly the type of addictive quality a great action-RPG should have. And let me tell you right now, this is without question one fantastic action-RPG.

What’s immediately so impressive about Sacred 2 is the enormous scale of its world. Spanning 22 square miles of real-world distance (the developers say it’d take more than six hours to run from one side to the other!), Sacred 2’s revamped vision of Ancaria is one gigantic hunk of virtual land mass easily of the same size and scope as many MMORPGs. Save for split-second loads when entering caves and other dungeons, every inch of the world is completely seamless and free of the plain, randomly-generated environments that often plague the genre, making it all the more immersive.

Adding to the immersion even more is the game’s striking beauty and eargasmic audio. Ancaria is brought to life with dynamic weather effects and day/night cycles, ambient sound effects that’ll make you cream your pants, incredible lighting and so many other extra little details that truly give you the feeling of being inside the game world. Seriously, the first time a rain/lighting storm swept in my jaw dropped in awe (and the sudden crack of lighting actually made me jump a little). Not since BioShock has a game pulled me in with such a rich atmosphere and deep sense of immersion.

As for the gameplay, Sacred 2 doesn’t deviate much from what’s typically expected from an action-RPG, but at the same time it delivers on the timeless genre conventions with the utmost quality and attention to detail. Combat is simple, intuitive and remarkably satisfying, requiring you to only click and hold the cursor onto your target rather than having to repeatedly click to attack – this isn’t a dungeon-crawling clickfest like Diablo. Quests so far have been a lot of the usual “kill a certain number of this creature and return for your reward,” but towards the end of my hands-on time the quests showed signs of becoming far more involved than the usual fetch quest or critter hunt.

Six playable characters are available in the game – Seraphim, High Elf, Dryad, Inquisitor, Shadow Warrior and Temple Guardian – and while I have only had time to play as one of them (the righteous Seraphim was my choice) I can tell just by looking at the in-depth skill trees and character development choices that each character will offer a unique play experience from the next. Choosing a character also factors into the campaign path you’ll take. The game offers both light and dark campaigns, with the Seraphim requiring you to take the light path, the Inquisitor requiring the dark path, and the remaining four leaving the choice of alignment up to you. The choice of campaigns is nice, but so far I must say that the plot seems to be taking a backseat to sort of an MMORPG-style of discovering the world’s lore on your own and making the storyline what you want it to be, and I can see that as a possible point of contention with folks who like a more direct, in-your-face narrative experience.

With the past few uber-hyped action-RPGs falling well short of expectations (Hellgate, Space Siege and maybe even Loki to a certain extent), Sacred 2 has swept in to pick up the pieces. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what this game has to offer (multiplayer is a major component to the game I have yet to try, for example), but already I can say without hesitation that it is light years better than all of those games combined. If you’re on the prowl for the next great action-RPG, look no further than Sacred 2: Fall Angel.

Sacred 2: Fall Angel is set to ship simultaneously for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 7th (my preview only covers the PC version). If you have any additional questions about the game, feel free to ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!