Diablo has cursed every other title following its formula by having the unfortunate privilege of being compared to its accomplishments. One of these was Ascaron's Sacred, which took the radical route by dropping that formula into a continent-sized sandbox. It apparently did well enough for a sequel, and Sacred 2's updated sandbox has never looked better, but there are unexpected rocks buried beneath its deceptively pretty surface.
Most of the acting sounds as if it were read off cue cards, but there are a few gems in there to keep it from completely crushing the experience. Unfortunately, my choice of a Seraphim made me wish that Sacred 2 had a silent hero instead of a talkative one, as I wasn't sure if the actress was told to mock the Goody Two-shoes aspect of the class, or if that really was how the character is supposed to sound. When I first heard her "battle cry," I was nearly convinced that an NPC had died on-screen and I had missed it, until it happened again and I realized the horrible truth.
There really is a lot to like about Sacred 2, but only as long as you are willing to put up with the constant need to micromanage your journey with a high tolerance for FedEx-type questing. For players who can't get their fill of killing hordes of monsters and collecting loot no matter what the local NPC may ask them to do for it, opening the nearest portal to Ancaria's past might just be …the perfect distraction.