viernes, 23 de enero de 2009

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Hands-On

We get an early look at CDV's action role-playing game as it makes its way to consoles.

There's something about PC action role-playing games that draws you in, even though you're not doing too much beyond slashing foes, collecting loot, doing quests, and upgrading your gear. This formula has worked well for many PC games over the years, but how does it translate to a console? Developer Ascaron takes the test by migrating last year's PC version of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel to the Xbox 360 as well as the PlayStation 3. Although the build we played is an alpha build, we were able to get a feel for what it would be like to take a romp through the vast lands of Ancaria.

After the initial gloomy cutscene that set the stage for this adventure, the story wasn't what we ended up focusing on, since its purpose is just to give you an excuse to keep going. We gathered that there's trouble brewing among the high elves and it involves T-energy, a hot commodity that you'll find flowing through what looks like oil pipes. This bright blue liquid is essentially the life source for those in Ancaria. However, depending on how much you care about the world and its citizens, it's the side quests and the loot that ultimately keep you coming back for more. You choose from six character types: temple guardian, seraphim, dryad, shadow warrior, inquisitor, and high elf. It's obvious which characters are female, given the fact that the seraphim, dryad, and high elf clearly have an aversion to pants. Choices are limited in terms of customization, especially for the men since you can't do much about their hair. But if you're looking to sport a high ponytail and blue hair, then you're in luck. Once you select which campaign you'd like to follow, the light path or the shadow, you'll be whisked to the starting point of your journey.

While the build is far from complete, what is impressive is the scope of the land that you've set out to explore. This 22-square-mile world should have no loading times in the final version, with the exception of entering dungeons and caves. This provides a seamless experience as you race across dry fields and worn dirt paths to reach the next town or outpost. Along the way, you'll encounter an endless supply of brigands, wild boar

, and undead creatures, so be sure to pick up quests as you go, because chances are you can stab some of these menaces for a reward. A minimap in the top left corner helps by pointing you in the direction of your current side quest, and an orange arrow points you toward the main story.

Raiding and pillaging camps is already a blast on your own, but having a friend jump in with a second controller makes it even more worthwhile. Fallen Angel supports two-player offline play, as well as four players via Xbox Live. Hopefully by the time the game ships you'll be able to drop in and drop out with ease, but right now that feature still needs a bit of work.

The controls work well for the most part, although it can take a while to figure out how to navigate the menus quickly. There is no pause button, so you shouldn't rummage through your belongings in the middle of a well-traveled road unless you want to get jumped. The left bumper is used quite a bit to interact with the townsfolk and to open chests. You can map selected weapons and spells to the face buttons so that you're well-equipped for some serious button-mashing. Potions and other handy items are mapped to the D pad for easy access. It still feels and looks like a PC game, however, especially with the camera angle hovering in a top-down view or brought in so that it rests high over your shoulder.
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel still requires quite a bit of polish in many areas, but if the developer can get rid of the issues and spruce up the visuals, it should be a solid action RPG that console gamers can enjoy. For further details on Sacred 2, please read our PC review of the game. Prepare to unleash that T-energy when Fallen Angel is released on March 24.

No hay comentarios: