Posted by: talkjack | November 17, 2008

DRM Info: Sacred 2, No Thank You!

From a customer’s perspective, where is the sense in the DRM for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel? Ascaron have implemented a bizarre ‘Stick and Carrot’ approach to Sacred 2’s DRM. Let’s be honest, it is much more stick than carrot! Read on to see why I think so.

The Heavy Handed Stick

Sacred 2 uses an implementation of Securom which limits your activations. Rather unfairly, this information is not available to shoppers on sales websites such as Game UK, which means the DRM enforced restriction is unknown to the shopper at the time of purchase.

The limit to two activations seems extreme. Ascaron do allow you to deactivate Sacred 2 before uninstalling it, however this is not great. It relies upon the customer remembering to do so before uninstalling, it relies upon their PC not developing a fault requiring repair, it relies upon the customer’s PC having open firewalls and antivirus software which does not block Securom as a dangerous application (mine does), and it relies upon internet connectivity even for single players.

If you keep sufficient evidence of purchase then you can phone up (at your expense) and ask them to decrement your installation count by one to allow you reactivate your game. That is assuming they believe you.

Therefore, the customer is required to plan and manage their installations of Sacred 2 in order to avoid difficulties in activating the game when they later reinstall it. It seems rather unfair when you consider that pirates will have downloaded this game and not be forced to tolerate DRM restrictions; only paying customers have to tolerate DRM.

Remember, Securom does make permanent changes to the Windows config of your PC, which has been reported to cause hardware problems for some computers. It is very difficult to uninstall Securom from your PC once it gets on there, and Securom usually installs covertly without your express permission, as do viruses. This is one reason why people have previously accused Securom of being a rootkit.

The Feeble Carrot

In a marketing ploy similar to Shareware, Sacred 2 allows you to play a limited demo of the game. The limit is time based; after 24 hours the demo stops working.

However, unlike Shareware, Sacred 2 will leave your PC with Securom DRM installed and running, even if you uninstall the game. This is standard behaviour for Securom. This means that Sacred 2 is not very desirable, especially when you consider that in order to get their hands on this ‘demo’ an honest customer will have paid full price for the game disc anyway.

Unnecessary Digital Restrictions

All this heavy handed DRM nonsense seems way over the top for Sacred 2.  Here’s why:

Sacred 2 is not a massive hugely anticipated blockbuster of a game. It is the sequel to a mildly interesting Diablo rip-off which will only appeal to a limited section of the PC games market. Therefore I do not anticipate the same massive outcry over the DRM in Sacred 2 that was evidenced for big blockbuster games like Spore. Instead, I anticipate limited anger about the heavy handed DRM in Sacred 2 because gamers are less bothered about this game.

I own the budget version of the original Sacred game. It is supposed to be the Gold edition of the first game and its expansion fully patched up by Ascaron. It is DRM free. However, Sacred is not a great game. It is still buggy even after all these years. Apart from lockups and crashes, Sacred even suffers from the sound cutting out if I fire the dwarven musket or cannons too often.

While searching for technical support for the problems I have suffered running Sacred I came across many people reporting DRM problems with the game back when Sacred was launched. Seems they were having DRM problems with Sacred back then. However, these days the Sacred 2 tech support people tell you to contact Securom not them if the game fails to activate.

My honest opinion of Sacred is that it the game was unresponsive to play, buggy, and appallingly translated. Ascaron obviously did not spend enough money to translate from German to English. Much of the dialogue is nonsense, and after finished Sacred I could not understand the plot at all because the English was so poor. I have no idea what the final movie actually meant, it seemed to be gibberish. Maybe Ascaron spent too much money on DRM instead?

Conclusion

I do not consider Sacred 2 Fallen Angel to be a must-have game. Far from it. If the game was much cheaper with a light touch disc check style DRM such as safedisk, or better still DRM free then I would impulse buy it. However in its current form all Sacred 2 warrants from me is a quiet ‘Meh!’

I will wait for the DRM free budget version, if there is one. Sacred 2 Fallen Angel does not seem worth spending my money on right now.

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009

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Responses

  1. f*ck this game i went to best buy and put big stickers on the box saying not to buy it. this license thing sucks.

  2. Being one of the ‘small niche’ that was eagerly awaiting a new action rpg I actually paid money for this game. And I severely regret it!

    I have had to contact Securom no less than 5 times in order to get my number of activations raised. I often format my pc, even more since W7 went rc, and once my activations started running out I was no longer able to play my game. Let me repeat that, I WAS NO LONGER ALLOWED TO PLAY THE GAME I PAID FOR!

    I am a gluten. I have since purchase the expansion Ice & Blood. The expansion is actually MORE strict with number of activations, plus if you change the compatibility settings of the sacred2.exe your securom registration is RESET! In a matter of days I was out of activations due to troubleshooting compatibility in Windows 7. It never fully worked and I had to install the game in Vista. But , of course I am out of registrations and have yet to be able to play my game for 2 days.

    I am now searching for a crack for my purchased game JUST SO I CAN PLAY IT!

    ps. The developer of Sacred 2 has since gone under. They went bankrupt and quickly finished the expansion before they were kicked out of their offices.

    It would be interesting to go back to last year and release Sacred 2 without a drm…

    • Sorry to hear about your DRM nightmare with Securom and Sacred 2. Have you tried contacting Securom tech support and asking for help? It would be interesting to find out if they are helpful or unsympathetic now the publisher game has ceased trading.

      I feel that Securom themselves have an obligation to issue you with a patch to remove their DRM from the game under these circumstances. The way customers have been treated beggars belief, and does not inspire any trust or good faith between gamers like us and the game publishers.

      • Having the urge to replay an old game, I re-installed Sacred Gold. It won’t run, claiming that I was running emulator software —which I wasnt— and directed me to a Securom website.

        They responded a week later referring me to ascaron… which doesn’t exist anymore. And so there it is, i paid full price for an original coaster.

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