Diablo Game or Sacred Pain?
September 20, 2008 1 Comment
Few months ago I’ve bought Sacred Gold collection for a very good price (under equivalent of $15). I expected Diablo spin-off and for that I was satisfied – it really is Diablo-style action RPG. But aside from that I was extremely disappointed. Maybe even frustrated.
Let’s take a look at Diablo II LOD as I know it since 1.08 patch. I actually play it mostly on LAN with my friends and we use that cheat enhancing your stash, inventory and Horadric cube, along with drop-rate of better/magic items. But even with hard-core limited available space for your items it is fun. Diablo II is extraordinary fun with tons of various monsters, tons of items that simply make sense and although I can’t really remember it now, I don’t think I had to study deeply to understand Character screen or Inventory, or how items affect my character. But study helped and when you wanted to play with items Diablo II still was the game of your choice. Runewords, magic items, set items, monsters, champions, bosses… and the story. Sure, the story wasn’t ubiquitous, but there were nice videos, there was the atmosphere in every act, in every cave, and along with some side quests there were always quests that moved the story forward and you knew “yes, this is the story!”
Sacred is newer game so I expected better resolution – but also changeable resolution, but no, 1024×768 is fixed no matter what. Very, very bad thing happened to Sacred I bought – it was the version with “professional translation” into Czech language. I don’t know if item names were really so stupid (ugly, yet funny) or if some character type descriptions were missing name of the class completely in the original game, but translation probably did not help. Graphics is quite nice for the time and the genre, there is also a zoom, which is great. But let’s play it – shall we? Skill system is different but not necessarily bad. I probably didn’t utilize Combinations well, I like the idea, but the result is that it takes ages while you’re prepared for the battle and some skills go off quickly while the rest last longer. Combination would be much better if it really is new skill with effect time somehow averaged or what.
I played a character that can heal, but the healing is slow as hell if I want to fight as well. When you want to heal yourself, you have to click right mouse somewhere on the screen. Funny that I accidentally healed someone else and when I wanted to heal him on purpose I couldn’t aim properly. It’s actually not that easy with hordes of enemies all around. Enemies don’t have specified level in various stages of the game – they have your level (or the best player’s in the group) +- specified offset instead. So if you have trouble to get through some part of the game, leveling doesn’t help. Maybe we should get a better weapon or what… I would believe that if my offensive magic was strong enough – but it was weak as well. And there are hordes of enemies really – respawning quite often, so if you die and you try to get to the same place, you’ll find new challenges again and again. And no, it’s not fun after some time. Why the hell someone creates gameplay like this?
Not to mention various things in the way that should not get to the released game – although it might be just me. I often accidentally click on some potion on the top of the HUD, it’s going into the playable screen and it actually affects even how you play (“let’s go around this dragon so I can attack him from the down or side where I can click more safely”). Annoying. Finally – if you have some habits from Diablo II you have to adapt them a lot. I drank a number of healing potions hitting the space key – which was in my case Diablo II reflex. You might think “so reassign those damn’ keys, stupid”… but you can’t. There is only one fixed keyboard layout and I don’t think it’s that optimal either.
Finally – the story. I don’t know it yet. And I will never know because we (I played it with my wife a bit) stopped playing it for aforementioned gameplay reasons. Out of frustration I dare to say. The game looked nice from the start but there is nothing that drives you forward except new quests (“find my lost sheep”, “I forgot a scroll”, “take me there…”, “my daughter got lost”…), because you can level up without moving forward and there is no story you feel really sucked into. You might want to try it or read another review, but I rather go and play Diablo II again, or will try Hellgate: London, or whatever. Sacred is no-no for me and I’m really surprised that it has quite solid scores.
I’m not that picky about games, but I want them to be fun. I even finished that reportedly boring Sorcerer, because it had a story and despite all of its flaws it was fun. I always prefer boring games instead of frustrated ones. That doesn’t mean I’m easy casual player, I passed through original unpatched race in the Mafia game and I can play harder games too – but it must be fun. Sacred wasn’t. At least not for me.