My first impression playing this game back in 2010 was pretty special. I started a Dryad (hey, they looked hot and I love Druids) and watched the fairly epic cinematic, after which I was placed on a beach with a kind of a mentor beside me. I guess the gods didn't smile upon him on that day though, because somehow I ended up having to tutor myself. First thing I noticed when gaining control was the graphics. One word. Wow. They are incredible, and the attention to detail is pretty much un-parallelled. Leaves being side swept, a little bird making his nest - hundreds of small things that leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Even now in 2014, it still looks great.
I still have that Dryad - but I specced her so badly that she is broken beyond repair. I highly
recommend using the Sacred 2 Wiki for help with builds. There is no respec option, and if you find yourself wanting to play it all the way to Niob, your spec pretty much needs to be perfect.
The sound is good as well, although the voice acting is bad. Not terribad but bad enough that you treasure the fact that only the main quests have voiced dialogue.
Moving on; most of the classes in the game are innovative and fresh. Whoever saw an ancient Egyptian-inspired Anubis-like robot thingie before as a class? Packing an alien blaster along with his hammer no less. Very fresh, very fun. You diversify a bit by choosing a god and one of two campaigns (good or evil), which adds a good deal of replayability. Rather annoyed by the fact that you can't select gender for the classes though. Some years ago I never touched any female class, for some reason. Thankfully I outgrew it, or I would have missed out on half of this game.
The story is fairly weak, but the focus doesn't really lie there either, as it gives you hundreds of side quests left and right. In fact there are so many, I find myself skipping half of them. Many of them are kind of like MMO quests in a sense. Very generic; a silly story behind it and mediocre rewards. But it works, somehow. In one early side quest though, you are pitted against the game's first boss. This was a pleasant surprise - as once you engage a boss monster, the camera centers on the boss and the game spits out some cool music. He took a serious pounding too, so it was a good moment.
The map is gigantic; as far as I know it has the biggest world in an action RPG, ever. I have still not explored everything after well over 100 hours of play (played it on a disc version most of the time), and there are several optional bosses where you can see how good (or bad) your build is. Bosses can be incredibly punishing, but they are also a lot of fun. Keep your thumb on the spacebar.
The difficulty level when playing Bronze is extremely easy the first 2-3 hours. I considered re-starting several times and selecting Silver instead. But it's gotten more challenging. This really depends on the class and spec you want to play. I have one character in Platinum; a Seraphim, and I still find the class a lot of fun. I have chosen to spec her both with Sword / Shield and Ranged (for BeeEffGee). This'll likely hurt me quite a bit if I reach Niob, but for now it works well. I like being able to change things up now and then.
Multiplayer is dead, unfortunately. Seems Ascaron went and got themselves bankrupt, and was forced to shut down their US servers. EU servers still worked when I started playing it back in 2010, but I believe they are shut down as well.
All in all though, great game. Sort of a diamond in the rough but if you can see past some bugs, crashes and general hiccups, you may find yourself in love with this game, like me. I've played it for about 120 hours; I am on my third version of the game now, and after experiencing just one in-game crash in 14 hours of playing, I can finally, after many years, recommend this game. On the previous versions it probably crashed between 2-300 times in 100 hours of playing.
Since I wrote the review the game has crashed 7 times in 28 hours of play. Still not too bad, considering I've had PhysX enabled all that time.