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Sacred 2 Musings - Not Quite a Review

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Hey all. So, I've been playing Sacred 2 a bunch again. I'm still barely scratching the surface, but I my love of the game keeps clashing with my frustration with the game. I've been thinking over my frustrations as I play, and kind of putting together thoughts on it. I can think of 3 big problems with Sacred 2, which might have affected its success.


1. Clunkyness. This is something that kind of carried over from Sacred Underworld, with the animations and the moves sometimes not going off smoothly. I was playing a Dwarf in Sacred, and so many times I'd be running along and then try to click on a mob to cannon blast it and it would take like 3 clicks to get it. I often feel a similar drag in Sacred 2, and it can be hard to get moves to go off with precision when the game gets laggy. For me, this makes it so when the game gets hard, it often feels unfair because I don't feel in control. So I'm more likely to stick to stuff that's easier, but that isn't rewarding. So I'm either getting bored killing kobolds or praying that elite orcs or temple guardians don't kill me.


2. Bad interface. I really enjoy the game on the console. The use of two analog inputs is almost required to enjoy navigating the camera and moving your character smoothly. On the computer, you're forced to choose between being able to control your character well or controlling your combat arts well (unless you have an advanced keyboard and mouse, I suppose). I find the computer works okay for spell users with quick cast, but I just can't enjoy melee. Besides that, I got used to fluidly using up to 8 CAs, and you just can't do that on the PC. On the console, the two things that kill my experience are the lack of draw distance, and more importantly the narrow range of camera angles. Any time you're going uphill, you can't see anything.


One thing that intrigues me about the way this game was designed is that you have a ton of detail in a lot of areas. You can zoom in and notice tons of stuff. But because the way the combat is, you really need to be zoomed out more. And it's a combat-focused game. So the level of detail or the scale of things somewhere along the line is just not thought out. Everywhere you look in this game, you can see that they tried to have cake and pie and eat them too. I appreciate the attempt, and it would have been great if it hadn't realistically spread them too thin and resulted in a lack of depth in crucial elements. That brings me to my third thing.


3. An Imbalanced Experience. Sacred 2 suffers from the same 2 balance issues I feel Sacred suffered from. Firstly, the mid game, from around level 15 to 50, is really fun and you're constantly opening up new things and getting goodies and rewards. But the early game is brutal and clunky, and the end game after 50 gets really slow. Maybe that's not a problem for some. I'm evaluating it from a single player perspective.


The second balance issue I have is the way the early zones are the most detailed and atmospheric places to be, but they're just so bad for experience that it's hard to enjoy playing there. Meanwhile, later zones just don't have as much detail. If you look at the "Places in Ancaria" page on the wiki, the first two zones have a ton of entries, then it gets smaller and smaller. Feels like they either started running out of time or just didn't think those areas through. Unfortunately, those are the places with the best XP. Every time I finish a difficulty and I'm all excited to start the next one, I start killing kobolds and see the XP, and it's such a letdown to get like 1/3 of the XP I was just getting when I left the last difficulty.



Obviously, there's a lot of positives, or I wouldn't still be playing the game. I really wish that someday someone tries to make another game like this. I love the depth in skill customization, and the fact that the choices you make affect the way your moves look and feel. I just hope that, if the team ever does make a spiritual successor, they learn from their mistakes and keep the game a manageable size and make sure that the whole experience from start to finish is more rich and rewarding.

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