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Sacred 2 Preview

by Joost "Myrthos" Mans, 2008-09-15

Hoa (left) and Sebastian
At the Games Convention I met with Assistant Producer Sebastian Fleer and lead artist Hoa Tu Ngoc from Ascaron to show me something about Sacred 2.

This article is accompanied by 2 short videos made during the visit. They provide some additional information but are not essential for reading this article.

 

The story

Sacred 2 is the successor to Sacred 1 and is like its predecessor an action-RPG. The story of Sacred 2 takes players two millennia back in time; again the world is in trouble, this time because the source of all life - T-Energy - has been changed into something dreadful, threatening the world of Ancaria and mutating the creatures that come into contact with it into bigger, more evil versions of themselves.

Once again you can take the role of the hero who will save the world. But if your preferences are a bit darker than that, this time you might consider taking the role of the bad boy or girl who uses the T-Energy for his or her own good.

 

I have a path to walk

The choice of whether to walk on the righteous or the evil path has to be made at the start of the game, at the same time you select your choice of character. Of the six possible races, the Seraphim - angel-like female warriors that have long taken care of Ancaria - are the only ones carried over from Sacred. They are also one of two races where the path you take cannot be selected - not surprisingly, the angel-like creatures only come in a good version.

The other race with their path already laid out for them is the Inquisitor, who gives new meaning to the words kill, maim and destroy.  Furthermore, there are High-Elves, Dryads that are in touch with nature, the Shadow Warrior risen from the death and the Temple Guardian, a cyborg. For each of these four races, the path you want to walk has to be selected.

During the game you will only get the quests that do not conflict with your path. So, if you want to be bad you might get a quest to conquer a castle but if you are playing on the good side, you'll get the job of defending that same castle; basically there is no way that you can influence your path to turn from an angel into a devil or the other way around.

If you only follow the main quests it will take about 30 hours to reach the end of the game. If that is too short, you can do the hundreds of side quests, apparently taking more than 100 hours to finish the game.

As there are two paths the ending of the game is also different depending on the that choice, so at the very least you would have to play the game twice to experience it from both angles.

 

Combat arts

Each of the characters in Sacred 2 has 15 combat arts (weapon moves and spells) that are divided into three groups - called "aspects" - each representing a different style of play. For example, the Dryad has nature, voodoo and hunting aspects. She can modify each of her combat arts individually; focus on the combat arts in one aspect only or use all of the aspects. Each of the combat arts has a skill tree that allows customization of that combat art to make them last longer or increase its effect in some other way.

Objects such as weapons can be enhanced by placing runes you find in the game into the slots on them. Depending on the type of rune it will improve the effects of the weapon, such as the damage it does, or the resistance it gives. If you have the forging skill, it is possible to forge the items and weapons yourself and you won’t need to visit a blacksmith to put the runes in the slots of your weapon. Also, when you find a ring with some kind of bonus on it - a magical resistance +5 for example - you can forge out the gem from that ring and forge it into your weapon or armor instead, adding +5 to the magical resistance of that weapon.

 

The World

The world of Sacred 2 looks beautiful and varied and is estimated to have a size of 22 square kilometers. In addition to the world, above there are also two dungeon levels below it of the same size. This means the game world is big enough to get lost for a while and Sebastian explained that it takes six hours to travel from one end to the other and there are no loading times when doing that. The world is completely open from the beginning - you can go anywhere you want but you'll probably get killed if you don’t follow the route of the main quest as least for a little while, as the monsters you’ll encounter might be too hard if you come across them early in the game.

On your travels through the world you will visit different areas. The High Elf region has many small villages with fertile grounds, reminiscent of a Mediterranean climate and big cities where the High Elves live with their servants and slaves. The humans live to the north of the High Elves and their territory is separated from them by a big wall, constructed by the elves. Their grounds are often rocky and hard and difficult to work, whereas the forests are thick and filled with animals to hunt.  The castles in which the nobility lives gives the human region a medieval look.

The Orcs lead a simple life in a land that is cold and more rural. They live for combat and would rather steal their food than grow their own. East of the Orcs, the Trolls can be found. There a fewer Trolls these days than there are Orcs but they make up for that difference with their size. The Seraphim live on a volcanic island and take their task as keepers of Ancaria very seriously. The Dryads, on the other hand, live in trees in a subtropical region filled with nature’s beauty. Other regions you will visit are the hot desert, the marshlands, filled with treacherous swamps and lizards, an almost impenetrable jungle and the wasteland canyon filled with T-Energy.
Check out the video for a small overview of some of these regions.

The world is inhabited by some 80 different creatures. Most of these creatures come in different forms and sizes making the total number even bigger. Different creatures have different ways of attacking or defending themselves and some of the creatures are hostile to one path and friendly to the other path. Besides these, each region has its own boss, like a Golem in the human region, that needs to be killed.

The more friendly NPC’s all have their own day and night rhythm; they eat,  drink,  sleep and work . The game has a day and a night cycle and has weather effects, such as rain, wind and thunderstorms. The weather effects are random but different per region. In one region it might rain 70% of the time, whereas  in another it only rains 10% of the time.

 

Mounts

Sacred 2 has several mounts. First of all, there are horses that can be used by all classes. It is, however, very limited: horses travel faster and can jump over obstacles and run over enemies - but that is about it. Besides the horse, each race has its own special mount. This mount is not only meant for transportation but can and will assist you in combat by biting and kicking at your opponents. Also, your spells will be available when you are on your special mount, which is not the case when you are on a horse, making the horse impractical for combat. For example, the Shadow Warrior has a Hellhound as a mount. The Hellhound is slower than a horse but it will give its rider increased protection values for some combat arts and improve on some others, making it more valuable than a horse. And the mount for a Dryad, a lizard-like creature, reduces amongst others the skill loading time.
See the video with the Dryad mount walking about.

The specialized mounts come in one basic version and four epic versions and in order to get one, a special quest has to be completed.

 

Join my game

 

The Sacred 2 public booth

Sacred 2 has multiplayer support. In essence, you never really play off-line. At any given time you can ask someone to join you in your game and he or she can jump in at the story where you are now. They can play with you (to kill that bad-ass monster you had so much trouble with, for example) and  leave again later on, so you can continue the game alone. There is no need to switch from a single player to a multiplayer game to establish this.

Besides following the story line (alone or with a team) you can also team up with others to freely roam the world and play the side-quests to do some serious power leveling, or you can join arena fights, where you can play either in co-op mode to fight monsters or battle against another player.

 

Wrapping it up

If you loved Sacred, I’m sure you will love Sacred 2 as well from what we've seen. It has a similar gameplay style with more opportunities by offering a better looking and larger world, different races to play, mounts and two paths to choose from. The game also appears to add more depth to the role-playing part of the game - but it stays true to its roots; like Sacred, it is an action RPG in every sense of the word. If you like action RPG’s, it looks like Sacred 2 is a game you should play. If you like your RPGs to have a lot of depth where your choices influence others and yourself, Sacred 2 might not exactly fill your needs. Nevertheless, Sacred 2 has all the elements that can turn it into a multimillion selling title; great graphics, a big world with no loading times, some very cool mounts, upgradable items and weapons and coop multiplayer.  In addition to the PC, Sacred 2 will also hit the Xbox360 and the PS3, offering the same game and multiplayer facilities on those platforms. In all likelihood, it will be one of the contenders for action RPG of 2008 on any of these platforms.

Box Art

Information about

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel

Developer: Ascaron

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: Over 60 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
Europe
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2008-09-18
· Publisher: Deep Silver

Europe
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2009-05-12
· Publisher: Deep Silver

North America
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2009-05-12
· Publisher: CDV

North America
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2008-11-11
· Publisher: CDV

More information