Sacred 2: Fallen Angel PlayStation 3
Published by: Deep Silver
Developed by: Ascaron
Last year we reviewed Sacred 2: Fallen Angel for the PC and on the whole it was a solid follow up to the impressive Sacred. There were problems with the game and it also had more than its fair share of bugs. However, the most disappointing aspect of the game was its poor support for deaf gamers which meant that they missed out on a large quantity of the dialogue in the game. Now the game's arrived on the PlayStation 3 and we had hoped that it would be a better experience for deaf gamers.
Sacred 2 is set in the fantasy world of Ancaria. There are two campaigns to play through: The Campaign of Shadow and The Campaign of Light. There are six different characters to choose from. Female characters include a Seraphim, High Elf and Dryad whilst the male characters are a Temple Guardian, Shadow Warrior and an Inquisitor. You can't change the look of these characters (you can change the hairstyle and hair colour of some of them) but there is a great deal of customisation you can make as you level them up and choose what skills and abilities you wish to assign to them. The game offers three difficulty settings although only two are initially available. The game allows other players join you in your campaign (using the PlayStation Network) and you can also play competitive and free play games online too.
The game offers a classic hack and slash experience, albeit a rather monotonous one at times. Enemies seem determined to make mincemeat out of you and will often attack in numbers. Most enemies won't cause you many problems at all (in fact there are some you can safely pick off from a distance) but there are several who are a real pain to deal with. Whilst this is certainly nothing different for this genre, the humorous comments your enemies make definitely is. The game includes a very high number of quests which certainly seems like a good thing, although most of the quests we undertook were actually quite tedious. There's not a lot in the way of a storyline here and that doesn't help. Sure we all know that quests are just a way of earning XP but we like to have the illusion that the quests we undertake are worthwhile and add to the storyline in some way.
You have to give Ascaron a lot of credit for the control system in Sacred 2. It would have been silly for the game to have been a point and click experience and it's no surprise that you have direct control over your character controlling their movement with the left analogue stick. The right analogue stick controls the camera's movement. The directional buttons allow quick access to three potion slots and a Divine Gift slot whilst the circle, square, triangle and X buttons are mapped to action slots. You'll interact with objects and people using the L1 buttons whilst the R1 button calls up a menu that allows you to access the Quest Log, Inventory, Attributes, Character Overview and other things. The Select button brings up a larger version of the map that allows you to orientate yourself as the mini-map that's displayed at all times isn't as informative as it could be. On the whole, the control system works really well and is actually very easy to get to grips with.
Sacred 2 actually looks quite impressive on the PlayStation 3 and I would say it's definitely on a par with the PC version running on the higher graphical settings. In fact it's difficult to imagine how the game could have looked any better on the console. The frame rate is mostly OK but there are times when you'll notice it drop, particularly during the casting of some spells and battles with more than a few enemies. Screen tearing is also an issue in this version and whilst it's hardly a problem, it's still unsightly.
Unfortunately the PlayStation 3 version of Sacred 2 is no better for deaf gamers than the PC version. The game's cutscenes are not subtitled and whilst these cutscenes aren't that good or important, it's still a shame that deaf gamers will be unaware of the dialogue in them. Only the crucial in-game dialogue is subtitled. During the game you'll see question mark icons over NPC's who have a quest for you, or something important to say to you, and the conversations with these characters are subtitled. Other NPC's will also talk to you but you won't be aware of what's being said. During battles your enemies will taunt you and their comments will not be subtitled. Likewise, the comments that your character makes during a battle are not subtitled. What's particularly annoying about this is that there are some rather humorous comments made during the game and deaf gamers will be completely unaware of them. It's still possible for deaf gamers to play the game, after all the quest details are in text and can be recalled at any time and tutorial messages are in text, but it's almost as if deaf gamers just aren't getting anything close to the full ambience of the game and that's disappointing.
Ultimately Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is a good action-RPG and arguable one of the better ones on the PlayStation 3 to date. Ascaron really did a good job of making the game feel at home on the console and at no point did I feel like I was struggling with an inferior control system. Unfortunately, nothing was done about the poor support for deaf gamers and the PlayStation 3 is just as poor in this respect as the PC version which is really disappointing. Sadly this could well be the final game we see from Ascaron as at the time of writing they have gone into administration. It certainly would be horrible if Sacred 2 was the last game we saw from Ascaron, a developer who has been responsible for some of my favourite PC strategy games.