Sacred 2 : Fallen Angel (Xbox 360)

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Weight : TBA
Genre : Role-Playing
Developer : Ascaron

The Ascaron presentation at the 2008 Leipzig Games Convention began with a confirmation that the action role-playing game Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is finished and should soon be shipping for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Following this piece of good news we jumped straight into an overview of the PC version, where we were shown some of the different regions in the game. There will be around 22 square miles in total to explore, including woodlands, forest, swamps, human settlements, a volcanic island, jungle, and desert. There are also a reported 200-plus subterranean dungeons in the game, with no loading screens between areas aboveground or belowground. Sacred 2's entire world is unlocked from the beginning, with the exception of areas where you might be killed if you're lacking in skills, so you should be able to jump straight in and explore at your leisure from the get-go.

In addition to some of the terrain, we saw some examples of region-specific animals, including some nasty-looking giant spiders that were indigenous to a rain-drenched jungle area. Expect to see panthers, jaguars, and other creatures lurking in the jungle. We were told that there will be 80 basic enemy types throughout the game, as well as variations for some of them. Each region will also have a special boss that will need to be defeated using a specific technique. When you vanquish those enemies you will be rewarded with extra items, such as heavy armour.

While you can traverse the large open world on foot, you'll also be able to do it on horseback. You'll gain access to special mounts for each character during the game. You'll be able to trample enemies and jump over obstacles on horseback, though you'll be limited to simple melee attacks. Special mounts, on the other hand, allow you to pull off special combos similar to those that you're able to perform on foot. The mounts can also join in the fight themselves, increasing your overall attack.

You'll be able to play through a full adventure single-handedly, but fighting alongside a friend might make things easier. Sacred 2's persistent online feature means that cooperative team members can drop in and out at will. We were told that the two storylines (one for good characters and one for bad) should take between 35 and 45 hours each to complete. With an apparent 600-odd side quests, the total time to find every last item and achievement in the game could take more than 100 hours.

We were also shown Sacred 2 for the Xbox 360, which, we were told, is almost the same as the PC version. Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions will support a native resolution of 1080p full HD, which should keep HDTV owners happy. The development team has gotten around the limitations of controllers: Major functions such as attacks have been mapped to the face buttons, healing potions have been mapped to the directional pad, and shifting to a different set of functions can be done with the triggers. An analogue stick will move your character like the point-and-click method does on the PC.

Playing locally or online with friends will earn your character experience, but it won't affect your progress in the game. If you're hosting a cooperative session, you'll be able to continue your journey after your friends have quit. On the flip side, your friends will be able to continue their single-player game from where they left off before joining you on a quest. While no details were given on PlayStation Network support, up to four players will be able to play simultaneously over Xbox Live.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is coming out later this year on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. With a massive open world and a plethora of characters, missions, side quests, and regions to choose from, it looks like the experience will keep RPG fans occupied for many hours.



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