Sacred 2 Initial Thoughts (Xbox 360)

A few people saw that I’ve been playing Sacred 2 on the Xbox 360 and have asked me how it is. Rather than try to answer 140 characters at a time, I figured I’d offer very early thoughts here.

Honestly, I don’t know how it is yet. I’ve only put in about 4 hours, and have only gotten to level 9 with 1 character class (the goofily over-sexed Seraphim, of course). I *think* I’m going to like it once I figure everything out; the game really throws you into the lake and expects you to learn to swim on your own. The manual isn’t much help and even though I have Tutorials set to “On” I haven’t really seen anything I’d call a tutorial.

The game is really about growing a character. You have attributes (ie, Strength, Dexterity and so on) and you have Skills (Sword Mastery, Shield Lore) and then you have Combat Arts. Combat Arts are your “active” abilities. You power them up by slotting Runes into them. For every Rune you slot into a Combat Art, the art gets stronger but the cool down time increases (substantially). Both attributes and skills (which you get points for when you level up) can be used to reduce cool downs.

So you have this balancing act of making abilities as powerful as possible without making the cooldown times so long that they become less useful, but you also don’t want to spend all your skill and attribute points on reducing cooldown times, since that cuts you off from all the other benefits of skills.

And if you slot enough runes into one “School” of Combat Art, then you can enhance a combat art in another way. Each art has two ‘upgrade’ paths and it seems like you can only choose one of the two.

And the runes that you slot into Combat Arts can also be slotted into weapons, giving them a bonus.

And that’s just a quick overview of character development. I still don’t really get it all and I’m guessing I’m growing a gimped first character.

Gameplay wise, you map both combat arts and weapons to the face buttons of the 360 controller. So that gives you 4 weapons/combat arts. Then you can map another 8 to the Face Buttons + Left Trigger and Face Buttons + Right Trigger.

For some reason, I’m finding it really hard to keep track of 12 combat arts/weapons, in spite of the fact that I can be very comfortable playing an MMO with 4 banks of 10 hotkeys full of skills, consumables and the like. I think it’s because you can’t see all 12 at once? Since they aren’t always there, you don’t memorize them like you do skills in an MMO.

Potions get mapped to the D-pad, although Up on the D-Pad is always mapped to your Deity special ability (which I haven’t really looked into yet).

Basic gameplay here is very Diablo-like. If you don’t love top-down hack & slash RPGs, don’t even bother with Sacred 2. It isn’t good enough to convert anyone, and it is a pretty pure example of the genre.

A few gripes… the combat doesn’t have a lot of “umph” and you tend to have to play with the camera pulled way out (so you can see enemies before they see you) which means the onscreen foes become pretty tiny. This doesn’t impact gameplay — you can see their health bar clearly — but it kind of distances you from the action. The game also feels a little rough at times. Sorting through inventory is more cumbersome than it should be (you can’t see the stats of both equipped gear and gear in your backpack at the same time) and I’ve had Details screens refuse to pop up, and Quests get ‘stuck’ until I quit and restarted.

But on the other hand, there’s nothing really like this on the 360. The world seems huge and the environments are pretty lush. Your character persists between games, so you can play through again and again at higher difficulty levels with the same character, leveling up and maxing out gear. There’s a Chest in towns that you can store equipment, and all you characters have access to that chest. So if you’re playing a Seraphim and a really sweet piece of Shadow Warrior gear drops, you can stash it in the chest and roll a Shadow Warrior just to put the gear to good use. If you’re a hack & slash fan, you’ll get why these features are important.

I started playing at Silver Difficulty (2 of 4) and so far the game feels really easy, and that’s my biggest beef so far, but I’m led to understand it gets a lot harder later on.

I’m still on the fence with this one. I haven’t yet played enough to give it a thumbs up *or* down.

8 thoughts on “Sacred 2 Initial Thoughts (Xbox 360)

  1. Hey Pete,

    Thanks for sharing your initial impressions with this game. I’m interested in purchasing it because–best I can tell–there really aren’t any other hack & slash titles out there for the 360, and I could use one of those right about now. I’ll probably wait and see what else you have to say about the game first.

    RC

  2. @Randolph Carter — Yeah, that’s why I risked it even though some friends warned me off. This is one of my favorite genres and I couldn’t find any real alternatives on the 360.

    @Werit — So far not very much. You travel around overland and then dive into pretty short lairs of one form or another, mostly caves at this point. But all your ‘random encounters’ take place above ground. None of the dungeons have taken more than a couple of minutes to clear. But again I’m really early in the game. 5% complete or something equally small.

  3. Thanks for your impressions of this. Console games like this are so rare, I’m not that surprised that so many of us are sat on the fence still, we just don’t know what to expect.

    I’m after some impressions of multiplayer in particular if you’re able to elaborate further, but most people I’ve spoken to haven’t really had a chance to adjust to the main game yet, let alone find someone else to play with.

  4. It’s quite popular with the XBL group I’m a member of; in fact we took quite a hit on our scheduled Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 sessions last night because so many were playing Sacred 2. I am reading about varied degrees of lag in every multiplayer game, though. Iffy netcode?

    I’m sorta-kinda interested, the main problem being that I never liked Diablo either. Or Mythos for that matter. Clicking everything that moved for no other reason than that it moved wears thin for me. So did all the clicking. I have a feeling button-mashing would get equally tiresome.

    I was hoping it had more of an up-close and personal view but from a few YouTube videos, it seems it’s literally a “way up overhead” game most of the time. Not sure how I’d like that either.

    I can’t help but still be tempted by Too Human… another Diablo clone but at least in full 3D. And not fantasy either, which is very appealing lately. Still can’t help but think Flagship would have been better making Hellgate London a 360 game instead of attempting the Faux-MMO approach with servers, etc. But I don’t think I’d play Too Human or Sacred 2 unless I had friends to play with. Neither looks very fun solo, and neither looks like something I’d want to PUG with either.

    I’m very, very interested to hear your co-op impressions though Pete if you ever get the opportunity. Is it a single seamless world? Zoned? Randomly generated terrain or static? Is there a lobby to join or do your friends just seamlessly pop into your game? Etc… 🙂

  5. You need to learn to read more critically. Nowhere did I say anything about this being a review. In fact I said these were “very early thoughts.”

    Having spent the amount of time with this game that I have so far, I am not even remotely qualified to review it. But a friend asked me about what I thought so far, and so I wrote up this post for my friends.

    It’s important to understand *what* you’re reading when you come across a post such as this one. Without context, content is meaningless.

  6. I am an avid RPG player and have played my share of hack and slashers and I have to say I can’t stand this game. I hate to judge it too harshly since I play games like WOW and Diablo. I play games with my wife and for starters, we were haven issues with traden between us. Same console and all we figured out how to fix that by starting her own live account but not sure how thats gonna work when her free gold membership expires after 30 days and shes silver. Now we are ready to go and we run into bugs that range from one of us usen an ability and we get stuck in place and can’t move, to getting stuck on loading screens. When the game isn’t buggen its annoying us both with the screen flickering soo much. I am playen on a Samsung 47″ touch of red 120gh with hdmi cables so we know it aint the hardware. Then theres the issue of the mini map never stayen put….. when we finally get it North to south it moves on us again >.<.. But the biggest thing of all is the inventory management!!!! We play on same console and when we level or mess with the loots its an epic ordeal that takes anywhere from 5mins to I am ready to get off cause I am fallen asleep… A good example of a good hack and slash I can base something off of is Champions of Norrath on PS2 we played that together and didn’t have any of these issues.. minin map stayed put (unless we rotated it) and we could both work our inventory/skills at the same time. Now I know a lil down time is to be expected with 2 people on one system but I run into this also playing online with my buddy as in we can’t go into inventory/skill management anytime we get something new cause it is a long process sorting through the goods. As previousely mentioned, you also can’t compare the gear you are wearing to what you are trying to purchase so lets add that to the time you spend ,amagen gear. And upgrading gear through forgen I will only say you have to clear your inventory out so you don’t accidentally waste money upgraden crap that you arent wearing. This is because you actually have to take your gear off… strip down and have a BS upgrade it just to put it back on…… GAH!!!

    I will say this about the game. It is pretty when the screen isn’t screwing up and it really is massive. But as to referring it to anyone… only if you dont have something better to play.

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