For the first time last generation, a console began to adopt more traits of the PC RPG realm. Of course, the purists will claim the likes of Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance was a dumbed-down knock-off of the more hardcore PC classic titles, but there was no denying the inherent entertainment and quality of the Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath games on the PS2. Sadly, the only similar game on the PS3 was the launch title, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom , which was a really lame attempt at a next-gen dungeon crawler. The first promising title that’s most similar to the games mentioned here will be Sacred 2: Fallen Angel , which is a relatively traditional hack ‘n slash action/RPG with more classes, items, weapons, and enemies than we ever had before in a console RPG of this style. This one is made by Ascaron Entertainment, and provided they come through and deliver a fun yet still in-depth experience that will appeal to all fans of the sub-genre, we’ll be happy. We miss the days of being able to hack our way across a landscape loaded with enemies. You know, it’s a gleeful, blood-soaked romp!
The game is coming to both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 – with Trophies and Achievements included for each – and the PC version has already been released, which lets us in on additional details and information. For example, we’ll be able to take advantage of a 4-player multiplayer mode, which would let you and three other players traverse the 22 miles of map space, all the while encountering the filth of the earth. Not surprisingly, there will be a few mechanical differences between the PC and console versions of Sacred 2 , which is mostly essential, anyway. You will be allowed to customize the control scheme using the face buttons on your PS3 or 360 controller; you can even arrange multiple setups, which can be selected at any given time by using the shoulder buttons. In this way, you can launch assaults in a variety of different ways, and each of these assaults are known as “Combat Arts.” The Arts are what distinguishes this game from any other action/RPG, and they can be upgraded by the Runes that you find in your travels.
Now, if you’re familiar with the action/RPG format, you won’t be surprised in the least to learn about the real-time combat, the diverse classes for your character, the inventory mechanic, and the varying environments ranging from dense forests to bleak highlands. Therefore, we’ll bypass the obvious and move on to aspects of this game that – like the Combat Arts – will make Sacred 2 stand out from the pack. For instance, one of the most intriguing features revolves around the mount that comes with each specific Class. See, if you choose to be a High Elf, you will ride a fairy dragon. How cool is that? Inquisitors ride giant spiders and the Dryad lumbers into battle atop a huge lizard, which means that you won’t just look at the strengths and weaknesses of the character when you start a new game. This makes us wonder, though: can we upgrade our mounts the same way we upgrade our characters? When we gain experience, will we have to choose which of us gets new abilities and skills? Oh, and do our mounts have hit points and everything, or are they completely invulnerable?
It certainly sounds like fun, but we’re hoping they don’t screw the pooch on this idea, as Sega did with Golden Axe: Altered Beast . We just need a solid set of controls for both character and mount, and we’ll be able to experiment till our heart’s content. As for another nifty little addition, there’s this “grabber” option that most any player will appreciate, especially if he’s familiar with this type of gameplay. In the past, you would wander through the battlefield after eliminating the enemies, searching for good items and equipment to pick up; you know, some to sell and some to keep. This can take a while and put a crimp in the pace, so Ascaron decided to institute a very nifty “grabber” of sorts. Basically, a pick-up radius extends out in a circle from the player, and with the simple press of a button, you will snag anything in the covered area! You can even take the next step and customize that pick-up ring to rake in only certain items or pieces of equipment. This could turn out to be the ultimate time-saver, although if your inventory is full, you’ll still have to take the time to make trades and sacrifices.
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel was initially supposed to come out this week, but it has been delayed until February 17. At the very least, this gives you plenty of extra time to finish up the impressive slew of quality titles this holiday season, and by the time February rolls around, you’ll be yearning for something new. The PC version of the game has been enjoying some fairly good reviews, too, so we should be in for something worthwhile.