All is not well in the land of Ancaria. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is chronologically a prequel to the events of the first Sacred game and concerns the consequences of the angelic warriors of the Seraphim handing control of the mysterious and powerful T-Energy that has transformed the land over to the High Elves.
Factions and races opposed this and a war devastated Ancaria. Now the T-Energy itself seems out of control, causing mutations and evil to flourish as well as the good and beneficial. A new war is under way and you must choose the path of Light or Dark to fight for order or chaos.
The developers have clearly decided that variety and multiplicity are the key themes this time around, as you not only have an initial choice of six characters (Seraphim, Shadow Warrior, High Elf, Dryad, Temple Guardian or Inquisitor) but a myriad different skills, attributes, combat arts and gameplay modes to explore.
As a consequence, the game has been one of the busiest HUDs to appear in a roleplay game for some time, with virtually all of the available frame of the screen revealing information, icons and action slots awaiting your attention.
The top left carries a portrait of your character with health and experience bars plus details of your current level and any unspent skill points. The opposite corner has a mini-map (expandable to a full screen zoom-out) while bottom right has controls for character, skills and combat arts. The central area at the base is covered in a string of quick access items which can be constantly rearranged and bottom left is the Orb which contains your particular God Spell plus slots for relics that offer resistance to magic, poison, fire and ice attacks.
Gameplay is equally vast and ranging, as there are over 500 quests to discover which grow in difficulty as they spread out from your initial corner of the map. It’s entirely up to you how many side quests you want to take on but the main story quest is always indicated on your map for when you feel ready for a bigger challenge.
At a certain level you ride into battle on mighty beasts such as tigers, wind serpents, hellhounds, lizards and spiders. In addition, spending time worshipping your god gains you access to deity combat disciplines and quests, while weapons and armour can be modified and upgraded.
RPG fans will also be delighted with the multiplayer options which, as well as the usual PvE and PvP modes, also allow for drop-in/drop-out cooperative campaigns where you can invite other players to join you in a particular quest when fighting a tough boss and then continue on your own again.
Visually the 3D graphics are immensely detailed and colourful and fortunately there’s an absence of annoyingly repetitive music. The only slight irritation is that the distances you need to travel for some quests mean going over the same ground several times on foot, although there are a few teleports for covering much greater expanses and resurrection monoliths are scattered around the map so you can restart closer to your current quest.