I was traveling west on the map in search of some elusive question marks when there was a rather large contingent of kobolds in front of me. No problem. After all, I wasn't a High Elf Mage for nothing. I let loose a cone of icy shards that spread and massacred the kobolds. That will show them for getting in my way.
"It was my birthday in three days," one said.
"I should have listened to my wife," quipped another as he died.
My avatar wasn't willing to be quiet either, as she said, "Player, we need to go somewhere else where there's more XP."
"OK," I thought to myself. "Good dialog and sensitivity aren't this game's strong points." That's certainly true, but taking out large armies of enemies with a single mouse click? That's pretty cool. Now I just needed to find a way across the river to those question marks I saw. The marks indicate someone who has a quest for me. And there are a lot of quests.
Reviewing a game doesn't require finishing a game, but reviewers should play enough of a game to get a feel for it. Sacred 2 is divided into chapters, and I thought, "I'll do chapter one and see how I feel — if I need to do any more." Several hours later, I'm still in chapter one, roaming the countryside killing kobolds and bandits and finding quests. A quick Internet search finds more than 150 quests in the first chapter alone. Only three or four are part of the "main" chain quest.
Sacred 2 : Fallen Angel is an open world action role-playing game. That means you can pretty much wander around the entire beautifully rendered world, playing any of six character types through two main campaigns: light and dark. You can play it alone, with up to four of your friends cooperatively or in 16-person player versus player.
Playing means mainly wandering about open grasslands, hills, caves and dungeons, clicking on things and making them die and drop loot. Or in the case of my High Elf Mage, right-clicking and casing spells, which makes my enemies die. And drop loot.
Did I mention the loot? That's important, because there's a lot of loot.
There are several kinds of armor and a plethora of weapons. Most come with some sort of stat or skill modifier, usually more than one. It's enough to make the crunchiest of hardcore gamers compare and contrast to find which is better. Or they can do it my way and equip whichever one sells for more — which works unless one of the stats is "Sells for more: 56%".
Runes occasionally drop, and those can be used to learn and upgrade spells, which make up the other half of your combat repertoire. It's the only way to get these spells, although there is a mechanism to trade runes in town so that you have some control over which ones you level. Skills modify these combat options, as well as just about everything else, and you get more skill points as you level your character.
While this is somewhat arbitrary, by the time I was halfway through chapter one, I had all but one of the spells and had traded for the one I didn't have. In retrospect, I only used a handful of the spells because that seemed effective enough. I got the sense that there was a variety of ways to play — based on which spells and equipment you used — which should open options that would appeal to any player.
In fact, the large terrain and options space makes the game feel overwhelming at times. The map is huge, redundant and doesn't draw you forward. The main quest doesn't feel heroic and gets lost in a jumble of collection and kill quests that seem to exist for no real reason other than the gathering of experience. My avatar even sometimes commented that that is her main goal.
As it was, the majority of my time spent exploring, searching for glory and heroism, became more like wandering around mass murdering the same few monsters for loot. I never felt like I was a champion of light or that I was doing anything particularly important, and while the monsters began to change near the end of chapter one, I'd spent 10 hours killing kobolds and bandits by then. Very little of the loot really stood out, except for details on which sword or helmet was better by one or two points of damage or health.
I wouldn't say that Sacred 2 is a bad game, but it isn't for everybody. If you've enjoyed action-RPG games in the past and if wandering a huge world to find the best loot sounds interesting, Sacred 2 is for you. If you like fiddling with stats, skills and equipment, optimizing for the best combinations, Sacred 2 also has that for you. But if you're looking for a cinematic or focused experience for your game, with large, important choices, then Sacred 2 is not for you.