Xbox gamers looking for a Diablo-style hack and slash game needn't wait much longer to get their fix. Sacred 2 is coming to an Xbox 360 near you, and holds the distinction of being the first game that CDV is publishing on a console after years of staying exclusive to the PC market.
When CDV showed us the game running on an Xbox debug unit, it was clear that the team is shooting for an experience as close to the PC version as possible. The gameplay sensibilities and content remain largely the same on both version of the game, so if you want to know more about the game itself, please check out our extensive single-player and multiplayer previews for the PC version.
The first thing that was apparent on the 360 version of the game is that while the game still looks crisp and features all the graphical and real time weather effects that the PC version offers, neither the frame rate nor the overall crispness of the game could keep up with the admittedly high end Alienware PCs the game was shown to us on. Still, Sacred 2 is a very good looking game, with rippling foliage, impressive rain effects and a convincing day/night cycle with superb lighting effects. Any frame rate issues still have several months to be sorted out, and even in this unfinished state did not affect gameplay negatively.
The quests, characters, world map, and general gameplay remain the same in both versions of the game. However, without a mouse and keyboard, fundamental control changes where necessary. Replacing the left and right buttons on the mouse used for spells and attacks are the left and right trigger buttons. Spells and other hotkeys such as armour swapping and potions are replaced by the by the face buttons and d-pad respectively. The left analog stick controls the character while the right stick controls both the zoom and rotation of the camera. Both control schemes work great, and it all comes down to a matter of preference. While the PC version allows for the quick targeting that only a mouse can provide; I preferred the quick select possibilities of the controller.
The multiplayer aspects of the game are also different from the PC version. Unlike the PC version of the game, The 360 version will allow two players to play on the same box, in a shared screen scenario. The setup is similar to X-Men Legends, in which both players can control the camera, but player one is always at the centre of the screen. The game also supports up to four players on Xbox Live, a nice addition, but a far cry from the sixteen players that the PC version allows. Also, players will be able to transfer their saved characters onto a memory card to bring over to a friend's house for in-person multiplayer.
Downloadable content is also currently in discussions. New character classes have been ruled out, which means any DLC will likely involve new and rare items, and additional quests.
CDV is banking highly on the Xbox version of Sacred 2 being their big break into the console market. Mario Kroll, director of marketing and PR for CDV, enthusiastically echoed these statements. "We expect the Xbox 360 SKU to do the best in terms of sales. It'll be our primary SKU," he said.
The game is currently slated for release alongside the PC version in November.