Sacred 2 is a hack-and-slash Diablo clone in the vein of Titan Quest, the late and much-lamented Mythos, and, of course, 2004’s Sacred. And thanks to the original game’s popularity, Sacred 2 is also the most-anticipated Diablo clone—other than Diablo 3, of course.
Much of Sacred 2 will feel pretty familiar if you’ve played Diablo—from the loot system, to inventory management, to the mobs-everywhere clickfest that is combat, to the screen-filling bosses.
But dedicated hack-and-slashers will find plenty to love in Sacred 2. The game world is huge and nonlinear—there are more than 22 square miles to explore. It’s bigger than Oblivion, bigger than Fallout 3. Unfortunately, most quests take place within a few hundred yards of the roads, and most of the stuff in the middle, though occasionally interesting or whimsical, can be skipped. The graphics are pretty, but not revolutionary, even at the highest settings.
In Sacred 2, T-Energy threatens to destroy Ancaria, and you have to choose whether to save or destroy the world. Six different classes play two different campaigns, each about 40 hours long if you skip the side quests. Each class also gets a few unique quests, including one that lets you buy a powerful class-specific mount. Power-gamers, rejoice: With a level cap of 200, thousands of items, customizable combat runes, and several difficulties from bronze to hardcore, which features character permadeath, there are easily hundreds of hours of fun to be had.
That said, we hated the first few hours of Sacred 2. The story was vague and the default fixed camera was atrocious (finding just the right angle in a dungeon so that you can see both yourself and your target is surprisingly difficult, though you get used to it after a while). The AI is nearly nonexistent, the pathing is quirky, and the quests, other than the main one, are mostly trivial. Also, it’s not 2001 anymore. Can we please have a viewable area that’s bigger than 60 feet? Or an over-the-shoulder camera? But somewhere toward the beginning of chapter two (of 10), the game hooked us, despite its shortcomings.
Maybe the character’s oft-muttered witticisms started getting through. Maybe it was the game’s incessant jolts of fourth-wall-breaking silliness—we were Rick-rolled by a gravestone in a cemetery, attended an in-game concert by real-life metal band Blind Guardian, and on one lonesome road found a shack labeled “Bus Stop.” Or maybe it was the giant monitor lizard our ranged-weapon-specializing Dryad got as a steed that made combat feel like driving a big stompy tank down the highway. Whatever it was that bit us, it bit us hard—we haven’t slept in days.
Although it has online and LAN multiplayer modes, Sacred 2 is essentially a massively single-player game. If you love MMOs for their mechanics and game worlds but hate the troglodyte players who inhabit them, grab a few friends and hop into Ancaria. It’s not perfect by any means, but like the tortoises you’ll occasionally mangle in-game, if you bash through the hard outer shell, there’s plenty of delicious meat on the inside.
Huge game world, large amounts of loot, cool mounts, and big bosses.
Frustrating camera, terrible AI, uncompelling side quests.