The Sims 3 enters the UK all-formats Chart at number one this week, claiming the fourth biggest opening weekend for a PC game here - behind the two World of Warcraft expansions and Championship Manager 4.
Around 15 hours into Sacred II, I check my stats. 2186 enemies defeated. 43 quests completed. 8.4 per cent of the main quest completed. 4.9 per cent of the map revealed.
A rough calculation based on those figures puts the full game's completion time at somewhere around 180 hours. That figure is a little misleading as I've probably been shirking some of the main storyline quests, instead cleaning up all of the side quests in each area before moving on. But you get the idea: a huge amount of content has been squeezed into Arcania's extensive environment.
That's before you take into account the six different classes and the fact four of these can partake in the light or shadow campaigns. Each campaign has a specific class, and each moral extremity offers exclusive content in the form of skills, quests and equipment. That's a lot of rat-punching, kobold-poking and spider-troubling. There's even an achievement, ‘Extremely Diligent', for completing only 40 per cent of the side quests.
Ascaron has rolled out a chunky patch to beef Sacred 2 up to the sort of size and quality initially expected.
Version 2.31.0, which weighs in at 620MB, can be grabbed from GamersHell (thanks Blue's News).
Top among the additions are ten new bosses to encourage wandering off the beaten path, a new level of detail for better performance, stronger original bosses, tougher dungeon baddies, and better drop-rates for loot. Check out the changelog to see what else is new.
The best way to sum up the allures of Sacred 2 isn't to embark on a thrilling tale in which a myriad of beasts become hacked, slashed and fried by magic - but instead to discuss the map system. So obsessed with micro-management and detail and so (with no offence intended) very German is Sacred 2 that there's an in-game menu with which you can play around with the size, scale, curvature, icon size and overall transparency of the on-screen mini-map. Cartographers of the world, rejoice!
But then: wait! Part two of our earnest discussion of the Sacred 2 map system reveals that even after a 500MB post-release patch the bugged world map will inevitably go missing, leaving you with nothing but a collection of icons hovering above your avatar's head. What Sacred 2 giveth with a small, manicured and delicate hand, it tends to taketh away with a heavier one.
Sacred 2 lives in that most tight-set and hermit-like of genres - the Diablo-esque hack/slash/click RPG. It's a part of the PC gaming firmament whose borders, you'd have thought, would have been increasingly munched away by the MMO boom of recent years. Hype for Diablo III and the success of the original Sacred in its home country, however, suggest not.
We're not sure how deliberate the choice of venue for our second look at Ascaron's forthcoming action RPG, Sacred 2, has been - but we're quietly impressed nonetheless. We're in a bar just off Oxford Street called Jerusalem; a city most notable for being, well, sacred, to three of the world's biggest religions. Nice touch.