Sacred 2: Fallen Angel could well be the best hack 'n' slash game available right now.

It hasn't been the best of years for PC gaming, at least when it comes to mainstream titles - but every few months we've seen some diamonds in the rough come out.

The latest such title is Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, sequel to the 2004 original by German development studio Ascaron. Like its predecessor, Sacred 2 is on its face a typical action RPG in the vein of the Diablo and Dungeon Siege series, complete with several dozen hours of hack-n-slash, hundreds of quests, and a fairly robust leveling system but unlike most entrants into the genre Sacred 2 does just enough to avoid being a forgettable experience, and many may end up considering it a guilty pleasure.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel takes place on the continent of Ancaria, where all life and energy is provided indirectly by a substance called T-Energy.

Naturally this kind of thing leads to a conflict between good and evil, but as you'll soon find out its not all that important. The plot is usually on the backburner and even when its not, its not all that good.

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Thankfully that doesn't really matter, because Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is full of hundreds of other little side quests, simple enough delivery missions, missions to kill such-and-such, missions to find special objects - the natural gambit of cookie cutter quests that could come out of a manual entitled "Action RPGs and You: A How to Guide."

It's not all that bad though, because quests are given in such abundance and are generally varied enough that you won't get all that sick of them, even though on their own just about all of them are rather mundane.

Moreover, Sacred 2: Fallen Angel doesn't have just one campaign, but two split into light and shadow campaigns, depending on what character you select at the start which adds another element of playability to the game which isn't normally seen in the genre.

Sacred also has a few other elements that help to ease some of its more apparent cookie-cutter aspects. For one Sacred 2: Fallen Angel has six classes, divided among good and evil, and these are decidedly unconventional.

Among these is a high-heeled angel, a robotic temple guardian that has an energy weapon for an arm, and a now undead warrior brought back by some less than trustworthy necromancers.

The other huge and very noticeable item is the fact that the continent of Ancaria is huge and almost totally open to exploration from the very start - the result of a rather nice design decision to have monsters level with you, allowing you to explore the world often independently of the main storyline without having to worry about getting out of your league.

When it comes to variety of environments the game never fails to impress, at various times running the gambit from forests, ice fields, deserts, and volcanic environments.

The one problem with this is the fact that getting around, at least in the early going before you can acquire a mount or really get used to the teleporting system it takes a long time to get around this gigantic world, with can result in some rather jarring transitions from hectic fighting to long hauls to turn in quests.

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