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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (X360)

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (X360)

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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel was released late last year for the PC and Ascaron Entertainment have decided to bring the RPG to the X360. The game had a mixed reception but generally offered a fun Diablo-esque experience with a solid character classes and skill assets as well as a huge world open for exploration. The big question we have to answer today however is can it translate to the console environment?

The game keeps the same core mechanics, you wander around a huge world and kill anything in your path while looting their inventory. Every now and again you enter a village or town and can outfit your equipment and power up your character skills. You can also get access to new quests in these locations and then head back out again for more killing. It is a simple genre and one that has a large audience.

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The story is rather silly and is merely a side thought to get you across the many environments, ranging from forests to swamp laden deserts. I didn’t really give much attention to the script as it was so predictable that it merely is there to guide you on your path rather than to deepen the characterisations or plot.

You get to choose from one of six character classes on your campaign through the world of Ancaria in either dark or good campaigns and there are a huge plethora of enemies on offer from tiny spiders to huge dragons. As you progress through the game you improve your characters skills to focus on your specific requirements. If you like fighting at a distance with magic or arrows, or prefer in close melee, every choice is up to you. The interface is relatively intuitive and makes it easy enough to wade through all the available options at your disposal.

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The combat side of the game was always the most appealing and this is no different on the Xbox 360 as players have access to a wide array of abilities from one hit melee strikes to formidable ranged area of effect attacks. Magic is also an integral part of the game with defensive healing spells mixing in with offensive summoning and draining attacks.

Unfortunately this is when we run into problems because the console based interface overhauls are not really indicative of a free flowing and immersive experience. I have extensively played (and enjoyed) the PC version just before Christmas and found myself battling with the interface on more than one occasion. I really feel that the developers needed to pay more attention to the differences between a PC based interface and one on a console. Accessing your inventory sections for instance is a laborious affair and one which had me pulling out shards of my hair across the period of a couple of days until I partially adapted myself for this review. Many PC based gamers are going to curse the interface so it really does bear special mention before I even begin to progress further. Part of the issue is that the console version hasn’t been simplified in any way to accommodate the less complex interface medium.

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Thankfully there are some redeeming features and the game is a lot of fun to play with a friend in cooperative game play. Teaming up with a buddy brings the game into a new dimension but you can chat about trading items, moving onto new quests and the best strategies for positioning during combat. One person sets up the game as a host/server and the other can join locally. There is even support for 4 people with 2 accessible over Xbox Live and with the options for multiple difficulty levels and the ability to start campaign mode, player versus player or free play it offers long term accessibility. Obviously you still need to deal with the quirks and design issues but it seems worth the hassle with more than one player.

Graphically it is acceptable if slightly disappointing as the environments and characters lack texture detail on a variety of levels. It may sound unimportant, but part of the enjoyment of kitting out your character with new weapons and powers is actually seeing the benefits onscreen. There are some frame rate issues but they are slightly counterbalanced by the fact that there are no long loading times between sections of the environment. There is however noticeable pop in which ruins the immersive nature of the genre and I also noticed flickering textures on certain objects which can be annoying. It is clear there are some compromises when moving from a high end PC to the X360 because the area of fog is greater to compensate for less processing power. That said, I would stress that the graphics don’t ruin the experience but they pale horribly when compared against a title like Gears Of War 2.

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The audio is excellent with commentary from the character classes helping to differentiate the experience on replay and there is plenty of attention to detail from the developers when listening to the ambience and combat noises. All the magic spells are well detailed and the music also helps to set a fantasy mood. The only negative would be the shoddy voice acting which just does not fit in with the rest of the high quality work.

Sadly, like the PC version there are some platform specific bugs that rear their ugly head such as the poor Artificial Intelligence which ruined the overall experience for me, especially later in the game when my followers would run off track and attract the attention of nearby non player characters.

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Secred 2: Fallen Angel is a decent game for RPG loving Xbox 360 owner which will offer many hours of gameplay especially if you have a friend (or two) to enjoy it with. The experience is marred slightly by an annoying interface and slightly disappointing graphics however even with these issues there is enjoyment from the title if you have patience. It is not a classic game by any means but it offers strong multiplayer combat which will appeal to many.

Gameplay
75/100
The core mechanics are solid but there are some niggling issues to detract.
Graphics
60/100
There are some framerate and pop in issues and a general lack of finesse.
Audio
78/100
Nice SFX and music only marred by hideous voice acting.
Value
74/100
If you can endure the interface issues there are redeeming features.
Overall
(Not an Average)

70/100

If this is your genre then check it out. Everyone else move on.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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