Although I was only able to spend about an hour playing the game yesterday, I feel like I have a few noteworthy remarks about the console release of Sacred 2. Take my feedback with a grain of salt but with that being said I'll do my best to describe what I experienced. At the very least this will provide a morsel of information out there about this highly (for some) anticipated game. Also to confess, I've not played the PC version more than about an hour so I'm not overly familiar with the game in it's many iterations--but I do love dungeon crawlers of any kind like Diablo I & II, Titan Quest, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 1 & 2, and Champions of Norrath.
The installation of the game took as long as any other 360 game--roughly 8 minutes. The installation improved load times significantly. I don't mean to imply that loading levels is non-existent but they do load with in seconds.
I decided to play as a Shadow Warrior and check out how melee is handled in this game. You have the option to choose to play the Light or Dark campaigns and select an applicable deity to worship. The Shadow Warrior begins his saga in a tomb and my initial impressions was "cool, a dungeon! There's bound to be lots of loot around here!" I ran around a bit and everything looked well enough. It certainly wasn’t mind blowing but it definitely looked better than the games I mentioned above. :)
Unfortunately, once outside the tomb the frame rate took a little bit of a hit. Not severe enough to make the game unplayable, but I think people who are really sensitive to a slight drop in frames and tearing will be put off by this. Personally, I thought it was a little annoying--but not annoying enough to ruin the gameplay. If I had to guess I would say it dropped < 30 fps.
The fighting was a little strange for me. I felt a little disconnected when fighting (melee) because you don’t mash a button. It's not similar to the Baldur's Gates or the Champions of Norraths where you hit a button to attack. Instead you hold down the button and direct your attacks towards the enemies. It works--and I imagine it takes some getting use to--but for me I would rather mash on a button and feel more involved with attacking. It felt a little too passive but I am only an hour into the game. I imagine this is a mechanic that will feel more natural (and perhaps for connected?) in time.
Loading up on loot in these games is always something I look forward to--don't we all? In Sacred 2 (console), looting is done automatically when pressing the LB. Again, you feel a little detached when loot is magically transported into your inventory and where's the satisfaction when you don't get the feel of snatching it up? At least you see it on the ground and know you have to pick it up so the process isn't as drastically passive as Too Human where goodies didn’t even fall on the ground but jumped into your inventory. I am sure this sounds totally trivial to a lot of you but for me, I enjoy picking it up and hearing the "clinks", the "clanks" and the "cha-chings" of the gold pieces. For those of you like me, a little thing like that is hugely missed.
I did notice that weapons, abilities/skills and magic can be bound to any of the 4 face buttons. The LT and RT act as a "shift" key so you can bind up to 8 more items for quick use. It looks really effective and I think it's a smart way to handle diversity in combat methods.
In the inventory, I noticed that comparing items is as easy as pressing a button so it does look like Ascaron made an effort to create as console-friendly game. Again, these are very early impressions of a ginormous game. There are still many many things left for me to see and find and get used to. Knowing some of you are as eager as I am for first-hand impressions of this game on the console -- feel free to ask if you have any questions!