…Diablo’s less attractive, less charming cousin. You pick a character class from six archetypes and commence mass extermination of enemies. You gain levels and find better gear so you can kill stronger monsters, so you can level up and find better gear, so you can…yeah, you know the drill. It’s one of those games, where the quest for more progress is paramount, and improving your character isn’t just a means to an end but rather is the real goal of the whole operation. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if it’s done well.
When following such a tried and true formula as the Diablo-clone, it’s important to execute properly. Everyone knows how the game is supposed to feel, and individual gameplay wrinkles aside everyone knows how everything is supposed to function. Sacred 2 mostly gets this stuff right. You get your character going, you pick the powers you want to focus on, some of which succeed in having a nice bit of synergy, and you go off to kick some ass. The character classes range from the pretty standard spell-slinging High Elf to the robotic Temple Guardian who looks like he got lost on his way to a Sci-Fi convention, but all function pretty well with a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. The game really shines when you kick it in four-player online co-op with a nice group of different character types all doing their thing. The game world is very large and there are a ton of quests to do, so it’s easy to sink a whole lot of time if this kind of game floats your boat.
What Doesn’t Work
While Sacred 2 gets a good amount of the formula right, there are some nagging things that begin to irritate over time and rudely intrude into the realm of fun. First is the setting, which can be just downright weird at times. It’s more or less your standard sword and sorcery kind of vibe, but with this really strange sci-fi undertone that may turn some people off. That’s more a matter of personal taste though. What is universally annoying is the shear amount of junk loot that you have to sift through. Sure at low levels you’re thrilled to get anything, since you start the game just shy of naked, but once you get rolling the constant battle against a full inventory just isn’t that much fun. There’s no practical way to selectively pick up items, and if they’re going to constantly peg you with crap some kind of auto-sell by quality function similar to that in Too Human is really a must. Sorting through your stuff is made even more challenging by the often unclear language of item and power bonuses, making it at times difficult to intelligently outfit and spec out your hero. The individual quests are not really that intriguing, mostly Fed-Ex’ing and kill ‘em alls, but that’s par for the course.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is with Diablo 2 ten years behind us and Diablo 3 still off in the distance somewhere, being a mediocre version of the great one is almost a compliment. Almost. And Sacred 2 almost succeeds in its imitation. It has all the critical elements of an action/RPG level-grinder up and working, even managing at times to inject some of its own peculiar personality into the mix. It’s pretty easy to get into the killing and looting and have a grand old time, particularly when doing so with a couple of buds online. Sure it’s a little bizarre sometimes, and the constant barrage of junk can be a little tedious to go through, but for a hack-and-slash’er this ain’t half bad. The best news is if you do get into it there’s a ton of game here, between the huge world and endless quests, not to mention several scaling difficulty levels, you can be at this one for a long time to come.