Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
The console version of Ascaron’s Sacred 2: Fallen Angel presents an interesting critical dilemma. Initially slated for release last year alongside its PC counterpart, its slip down the schedule has left us in the unique position of previewing a game that has already been reviewed several dozen times elsewhere. Fortunately, it received warm praise, and the few hours we spent with the near-finished PlayStation 3 version convinced us that Ascaron should receive a similar reception from the console faithful, not least because there really isn’t much in the way of competition.
Sacred 2 is one of Diablo’s many dungeon-crawling descendants, which remains unexplored territory on the PlayStation 3. Players will choose from six character classes (one of which is a mechanical Egyptian dog) and walk the traditional line between light and dark – both of which are decided upon before the game begins – but Ascaron has wisely addressed the issue of familiarity in several ways. There is a vast and richly detailed 22 miles of play-space, and we saw several locations that boasted large subterranean sections and multi-story interiors. Populating the landscape were numerous enemy types from a supposed list of more than 100, and there will be a similar number of AI profiles to give all of Sacred’s NPC characters distinct personalities. With a game that offers so many hours of gameplay it can be difficult to take much away from a brief hands-on, but we finished our session firmly believing every statistic Ascaron could throw at us, and that’s a fine compliment.
The one grey area is how well Sacred 2 has been converted to PlayStation 3’s architecture. It’s a demanding job even from the ground up, but Ascaron’s game was widely criticised for bugs at the time of its PC release, and has already received two patches. The code we saw held up well, but it would be foolish to dismiss fears that the final version may have the tendency to creak and groan.