Sacred 2 Review

sacred2_xboxSacred 2 is an action RPG not too dissimilar from games such as Diablo 2, Titan Quest, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance.  We had the opportunity to play and review the console port (on Xbox 360) of what was originally a PC game.  For those of you unfamiliar with the genre the basic elements of gameplay revolve around exploring, questing, finding equipment and character development.

At the beginning of the game you get to choose between one of six classes: Seraphim, Shadow Warrior, High Elf, Dryad, Temple Guardian, and Inquisitor.  After choosing your class, you get to choose between playing a Light campaign or Shadow campaign – basically good or evil and restricted by class for the Inquisitor(evil) and Seraphim(good).  Each class starts off in the campaign at a different location with a different class quest.  This means that you can play through multiple times from different perspectives.

Clear dungeons with powerful spells

Sacred 2’s core game mechanics can be really confusing at first.  Usually in these types of games you’ll find skill trees, but in this game each character has three different “aspects” which each contain five abilities.  These abilities within the aspects can be spells, buffs, melee attacks, etc.  In order to make these abilities better, you have to find, or trade for, and memorize runes to increase its rank.  The tradeoff is that the more you raise the rank of an ability, the longer the cooldown.  Every level your character gains skill-points which can be used to ‘specialize’ in a particular aspect, thus reducing this increased cooldown.  So the player has a bit of room to customize how he wants to play his character and whether or not he’ll choose to focus on one aspect or spread his abilities out and simply need to manage cooldowns.  Aside from specializing in aspects, skill points can also be used to raise armor proficiency, riding skill (yes, there are mounts), crafting skills, and more.

No matter which character you choose, you’ll basically start out with no gear and only one ability.  Every class will eventually find their way to the first starting town where the meat of the game really begins.  The game world is really quite large and nothing stops you from exploring and finding many of the side quests and dungeons.  If you’re not willing to sidetrack much then you can always go straight through by just playing the main story.  However, we chose to really dig in and explore the side quests of which there are literally hundreds.  They mostly break down into the following categories:  escorts, kill x of something, collect x of something, or locate something.  While not terribly interesting, they do offer good experience, content, and a reason to explore and see the world.  And again, these quests are literally all over the world and you will reach a point where you have to stop taking them because your quest log is packed.

Since the world is so big, your character will get to set his or her bindpoint to a location that you can warp back to in addition to the warp gates that you activate while adventuring.  This, along with mounts, make traversing the game world easy and less tedious than other RPGs and especially accommodating since mobs respawn in Sacred 2 when you get more than 20 or so feet from their spawn location.   This also creates the true sense of a world that you’re involved with instead of just linear progression.

Purchase mounts and armor in towns
Purchase mounts and armor in towns

Like most hack and slash RPGs, you’re going to be wading through hundreds and thousands of monsters and finding hundreds of different pieces of loot as you work through the content.  There is plenty of item diversity in Sacred 2.  While playing even in the early levels it never felt like we found the same item twice.  Loot can also drop for classes that you are not playing, although this felt more uncommon and not necessarily a bad thing given that you can use the in-game bank to transfer items between characters on your gamer profile.  Enchanting gear, crafting, and more make Sacred 2’s itemization up to par with other games in the genre.

The multiplayer is feature rich in Sacred 2 offering both PvP and cooperative play.  Although we did not try the true online multiplayer, we did play coop with multiple profiles.  This multiplayer mode had some issues though.  As soon as the second player pops into the game the camera zooms out and becomes nearly unmanipulatable.  Losing this camera control does kill the ability to enjoy the game’s scenery and instead becomes more about the gameplay and less about the immersion. Coop between profiles also lacked one very, very important feature:  Trading!!  This feature is supposedly being patched in soon (perhaps already) but while we played it was a true hindrance when an item dropped and it was picked up by the wrong player.   Multiplayer online is doable but only if both profiles have Gold Membership.

For the most part, Sacred 2 works on a console but throughout playing the game you can’t help but get the sense that it was originally designed to be played on a computer.  Menu management, for example, can be very confusing and cumbersome.  Trying to target enemies and attack them feels like it has an additional step of acquiring a target based on direction – one that is likely due to not having a mouse to hover over enemies.  Lack of hotkey functionality is also present and apparent since your character can learn over fifteen abilities while you can only hotkey approximately eleven of them.  Despite these obvious and all-too-common port flaws, character movement feels great and the combat is easy to get used to.

The visuals in Sacred 2 look good on our HD TV.  There are a few hiccups here and there in the form of screen tearing and framerate issues, but nothing too distracting.  There are load times which are not seamless, such as entering one of the first main towns, but installing it to your hard drive alleviates some of the loading and even some of the graphical hiccups.  Overall, we never felt ourselves bothered by the performance and certainly never by the graphics (which are pretty good).

A lot of people consider the console version of Sacred 2 to be a bad PC port, but we think it’s actually pretty good.  Sure, some things could have been done better but when consoles are sorely lacking hack and slash RPGs lately you can’t nitpick the details.  With a large game world, 2 full campaigns, 6 classes, and over 600 quests this is a solid RPG that you can enjoy for quite a while as we certainly have.

Does this sound like something you would like to play?  Check back soon to find out how you can win a copy of the Xbox 360 version of Sacred 2 from Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog!

  • IGN gave the PS3 version a bad review which is what put me off a bit but I might check it out anyway. I enjoy hack and slash RPGs and the console ports have the big advantage of being able to play 2 players with a buddy.

  • I loved Sacred Plus for PC so many years ago! Played a Seraphim I think, the one with the white wings. Great stuff, definitely gonna try out this one! Is the PC version playable on a LAN with friends btw?

  • Just a note — co-op is not split-screen but shared single screen on the 360.

  • I believe split-screen trading has already been patched in. A buddy of mine said it was working in the first patch.

    I wouldn’t put much into the ‘different perspectives’ for different starting areas. It’s a total of maybe 15 minutes to get out of the starting area and then you are following the same path as any other character.

    Something to note for everyone else, if you are going to co-op, both characters much be on the same story line (Light or Dark).

  • Did your site get hacked and this put up by someone? Just sounds very ‘sold content’, especially the last section in bold.

  • @Scott M: You’re correct in that it is not really split screen, hence the camera issues we spoke about. I have a habit of saying “split screen coop” for everything coop on a single console. I blame the years of split screen Goldeneye on the old N64. I’ll fix the blunder – thanks for the catch!

    @Angbander: Nope, it’s a review about a game. If it were an advertisement we’d be making money!

    @Syncaine: No, we have an extra copy of the game (new, unopened) that we’re going to give away in a small contest. We also review many games that we come across on our own or that we have been asked to review by developers and publishers. We’ll jump at any opportunity to share a game with our readers and tell them quickly what we think.

  • Just a side note: the console version actually has more hotkey buttons than the PC version. On the PC, you only get four!

    Still a great game on both systems. I’ve been hooked since mid-May.

  • I just have a question regarding character creation.

    When creating a character, can you customize it after you pick the class? Like looks, gender, etc. I haven’t really found any info on it, half the fun for me with RPGs is being able to create the character I want.

  • Character creation is very limited like Diablo. All classes are gender restricted and most only have a few alternate hair styles and colors. Like Diablo games, you get covered up completely sooner or later and it doesn’t matter.

  • any idea how to get trading in couch coop?
    my game was patched, but still nothing.

  • @Mcface:

    Do you have separate XBox Live accounts for the characters? My buddy had to make a silver account for his kid in order to get it working.

    After that, I’m not sure. I haven’t tried it personally.

  • So you went for the “full play” of it huh? How did you like them 14 and 16 step side quests eh?

    I gotta ask did they do anything with the AI for the escort quests? Like when they run in fear from the monsters do they run directly at the monster that scared them in the first place? Only to get ‘one shot’ and thus you failing the quest?

    I actually stopped doing side quests due to sheer laziness of not quick saving before picking up quests in fear of getting an escort quest.

    Did the co-op make the game more enjoyable for both of you? Cause I know the PC version had pretty bad issues. The pc sacred2 is actually in my top three of worst multi-player issues.

  • @ Hund

    they still run directly into badguys.
    i cant count how many times someone im escorting has ran all the way to the end of the dungeon we were in, and gotten everyone killed as we chased after them.

    couch coop is fun, if they fixed the camera issues it would be better.

    online over XBL is awesomely awesome. except every other game will lag out. they are supposedly making a patch for it.

  • This is probably the worst game I’ve played in years. Purchased it with high hopes as I’m a huge ps3 baldur’s gate fan – however, the graphics are circa 1999, the lipsyncing is *way* off during cutscenes, and the attempt at dramatic humour fails miserably. I’d rate this game as a pure failure – I’d feel bad offloading this game to anyone else.