The list of traditional RPGs available for the PlayStation 3 is slim to none. With that said, games like Sacred 2, while not traditional, do appease a number of RPG fans, even if it's for a short time. Much like Baldur's Gate, and the Elder Scrolls games, Sacred is a hack 'n' slash Action-RPG. But unlike Baldur's Gate, and the Elder Scrolls, Sacred 2 suffers from a number of problems that, unless our final build is wildly different than this review build, will ultimately hold it back.
First off, just like other Action-RPGs, you'll start the game off by creating a character. Well, actually, you don't do much creating, because the only aspect of customization you have in the creation process is the type and color of your hair, and that feature is available to only the female fighters. There are six classes of character to choose from, and none of those classes give you the option of being a male or female – so if you wish to be an Elve, you're stuck playing as a female. Likewise, if you wish to be a warrior, you're stuck playing with a male zombie (literally, the warrior is a resurrected zombie).
So the creation process is absolutely non-existent, and that's just lazy. Of course as you progress through the game, you'll be able to customize certain aesthetic aspects of your character when you acquire new armor and weaponry, but that doesn't really cut it for me, and I doubt it'll cut it for others who are used to games like Oblivion. The game's combat, obviously, works with both magic and physical attacks. Your fighter can use a variety of different items and magic spells, and they can all be mapped to either the D-pad (magic spells) or the standard face buttons (physical attacks).
What I don't like about the combat system is that it feels clunky. Where as games like Champions of Norrath, and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance boasted utterly smooth combat with impeccable fluidity, this game just feels choppy and clunky. There is simply no attention to detail in how the combat plays out, and that's a shame because it makes the combat feel boring and redundant fast.
The game career is split into two quests, Light and Shadow, and when in a campaign, you can enable seamless online drop-ins and drop-outs for a cooperative campaign experience. An HDD install is presented to you, but is optional. You can either choose to do a full install of 8GB, or a background install of 5GB that will occur as you play the game. Loading times are essentially wiped away with a full install, although we still experienced two to three second transitions here and there.
But Sacred 2's biggest problem isn't its broken and dull combat, it's actually the deathly slow framerate that this game runs. Initially, the game started off in 1080i, and I thought that perhaps the framerate would be better if I bring the resolution down to 720p (much like it is with certain other games). That did nothing to cure the situation, as I was still experiencing a framerate that struggled to consistently stay in the 20s – this bad boy hits high teens at best. Yes, the framerate is that bad – it makes the game feel downright unplayable. How can this be considered final code? This plays more like a circa 2006 pre-alpha, early-in-development PS3 title. Absolutely unacceptable, and single-handedly the aspect that hurts the game the most. Worst of all, the rest of the game's visuals don't fair any better.
Sacred 2 is set to hit shelves in the next two weeks. Based on the time we've spent with the game, we're going to have to urge gamers looking for an RPG or hack 'n' slash fix to pass.