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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Preview
PIV 2400, 1GB RAM, 20GB HDD, 256MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Nov 11, 08 (released)
|» All About Sacred 2: Fallen Angel on ActionTrip|
We engage in some Sacred 2 player-on-player hacking and slashing.
As I recall, the original Sacred was quite enjoyable. It was a classic isometric action RPG, albeit pretty decently executed. This was, in turn, one of the main reasons why I was looking forward to our meeting scheduled with Ascaron at the GC 2007. To be honest, I had my heart set on checking out the single-player portion of the game, but alas, the demonstration involved a LAN multiplayer match, described as an intense PvP-style mode - which will also be playable online when the game comes out.
All the attendees were given a number and a PC to play the multiplayer mode for about 10-15 minutes.
Before the game began, I was able to choose from four different character classes: High Elf, Shadow Warrior, Dryad and Seraphim. The full version of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel will feature two more classes; namely the Inquisitor and Temple Guardian.
One of the most commendable points of this particular multiplayer mode was the simplicity of the overall design and being able to enter a match quite easily without bothering too much with unnecessary options. Also, the basic principles of play are straightforward to ensure that each player gets into the spirit of the game quickly, without being confused or overburdened by an intricate combat system.
While other visitors were playing on their own, I was accompanied by Thomas Dähling, one of the programmers working on the game, who walked me through some of the multiplayer features of Sacred 2. The mode on display was referred to as the PvP multiplayer and here's how the whole shebang works.
As the game launches, all players enter an area that's packed with random AI-controlled monsters. The idea is to kick the hell out of as many monsters as you can and to collect as much loot as possible. The items you collect are for the most part basic, such as health potions, weapons and armor parts. Increasing the number of kills gets you more items and improves your rank, giving you an advantage over other players. In this particular area, you cannot kill or damage any player-controlled characters. The only thing you have to worry about is getting the highest possible rank by slicing any creatures you run into. Now, I know this may sound easy, but believe me that most of the creatures aren't dimwitted. They keep coming at you in larger groups and if they are alone or outnumbered, they will start to flee, so you have to chase after them to make that extra kill and snatch more items. Also, you have to make sure you beat other players to it.
The combat system is rather simple. Each character has a basic melee attack, with an additional ranged attack. Attacks and spells will vary according to the class you've chosen, of course. My Shadow Warrior, for instance, handles melee weapons and also had a very effective fire-based spell for keeping opponents at bay. For this type of multiplayer, the principles of combat work very well. Also, the interface isn't cluttered with useless stuff, so there should be no worries in that department.
When the match time runs out, all the players begin competing against each other. The rank you've achieved during the first part of the game will determine how powerful you'll be in the PvP portion. If you have enough strength points, it won't be much of a problem to compete against other players. What's more, any additional body armor, which you've collected in the PvE (Player vs. Environment) segment, won't go amiss. There are a few important things here. When the PvP mode commences, players have a choice to engage in combat against each other, or to unite against the character with the most experience.
In a nutshell, this part of the game is fun and I was told that the final version should allow up to 16-18 players per match (via Internet or LAN). It was also confirmed that the 360 version is going to allow you to go through the single-player campaign in a two-player co-op mode. Another cool feature is that you can always allow other players to join the single-player game you've created. Players may join your game at any time and that way the single-player game quickly becomes a multiplayer game. If you wish, you can quit from this co-op mode at any time and just continue the single-player game by yourself again.
During my visit at Ascaron, I asked Thomas about the release date, but he wasn't able to give me a straight answer about the international version of the game. All I managed to find out is that Ascaron plans to release the German version in March 2008 for the PC and X360. Also, as far as content is concerned, it was mentioned that both versions are exactly the same.
Well, that about wraps things up for the multiplayer segment of the game. On a general note, the main campaign in Sacred 2 takes place 2,000 years before the original one. It features more or less standard hack'n'slash gameplay mechanics, with a solid choice of optional mounts to choose from like horses and dragons. NPCs are created to perform about 200 tasks and they have their own activities. At night, a merchant won't be at his shop waiting for you to come. He will be at home, eating dinner with his family. The good news is you can pester him there too, if you manage to find his house.
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