Kill joy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Mad priests of a dark god, sexy wood nymphs, half-dressed buxom seraphs and a cybernetic robot dog - these are not exactly iconic fantasy characters, but Sacred 2: Fallen Angel isn't exactly an iconic role-playing game.

While the fans of "Monty haul"-style action games await Diablo III's arrival sometime in the next two years, Sacred 2 is a nice holdover. It lacks randomized levels, meaning the quests and environments are fixed, but the game works hard to offer repeatability through its varied character choices.

The variety primarily comes through player-selected equipment and customizable avatars. The six distinct class options do a good job of offering differing abilities that appeal to the various play styles surrounding melee combat and spellcasting.

A prequel to the previous games in the Sacred series, Fallen Angel features two storylines revolving around good and evil. The six classes allow play in one or both settings, but this is not a game you should seriously consider for its story.

What makes Sacred 2 worth spending a few hours with is the fun of killing wave after wave of foes and exploring the game's colorful 3D world. Players will spend as much time wandering and defeating enemies as deciding whether to keep a newfound piece of armor because it makes your character look cool.

In addition to wandering about, players also gain the ability to purchase and ride various mounts. While they mostly serve as faster transportation methods, they also add storage space to stash your acquired loot.

Surprisingly, Sacred 2 is a fairly demanding game on the PC. It supports a fully realized world and allows players to zoom in very closely or zoom out for a strategic view. Modeled trees sway in the simulated wind and every spell and effect comes to life with a certain pizzazz. Even at lower video settings, the game is playable, but Sacred 2 really looks good with all the bells and whistles enabled.

If there's one drawback, it's that the game is fairly repetitive. You will spend hours clicking your mouse to move your character from place to place.

Sacred 2 is also a community game, with the ability to invite friends on a local network or the internet to join your game. This multiplayer design is co-operative and allows players to drop in or out at any time. Not enough games offer this flexibility.

Players who don't have a fairly powerful PC should look forward to the upcoming console version on the PlayStation 3, due in February.

"Sacred 2: Fallen Angel"

System: Windows PC (PlayStation 3 coming soon)

Players: 1

Price: $40

Rated: T for Teen

Who Should Buy It? Loot whores

GameOn! Grade: B-

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