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Sacred seems to have come out of no where from (http://eng.sacred-game.com/index.php) Ascaron Entertainment. Good role playing titles seem few and far between of late, at least since Knights of the old republic came out and very few new titles on the horizon. The game features an open-ended game world that you are free to explorer and a good multiplayer side to the game.
Live the adventurer’s life in this character-based fantasy roleplaying game. Rely on your sword arm, spellcasting talents and unique skills & abilities to fulfill dangerous and lucrative quests. Use your head, and you’ll live to see another day in the vast, beautiful and deadly Kingdom of Ancaria.
As mentioned earlier the game has some very open-ended worlds for you to explorer, the game developers have certainly been influenced by Blizzard’s Diablo games, with the fact that there are six different character types in the game, each one with their own gender and set of skills that you can improve and change as the game goes on. Your starting point in the land of Ancaria is also based on who you choose to play in the game.
The game is point and click based so it is easy to start controlling your character right away, but the combat system itself is a little hard to get to grips with and isn’t as rewarding as it should be, but more about that a little later in the review.
The enemies you come across as your normal role playing game types like dragons, pirates, the undead and more, they don’t take much to kill, just a few quick clicks of the mouse. The creatures that you kill will leave behind loot for you to pick up as the game goes on, these can be weapons, money or general items like clothing and potions. These items can be used by you or sold on so that you can purchase improved weapons or better armour as the game progresses.
A good thing about Sacred is the large amount of magical items that you can get hold of, some are class specific while others can be used by any of the characters you choose to play in the game, like many other role playing games on the PC you will be able to leave items in various store points in villages as you go through the game.
The free-form style exploration that Sacred encourages you to take part in is quite an improvement over other hack and slash role playing games that have come before it. The game has lots and lots of detail, even if the areas you visit do tend to be non interactive. As the game has such a large setting, it is also good that there is an auto-mapping feature included in the game.
Sacred also has a number of other features not seen in many other role playing titles around at the moment, the main one being that you can purchase a horse so that you can travel faster and have an improved defence when you enter into combat, but this doesn’t work so well as it tends to become much harder to fight the enemies when you are on horseback. There are the usual Role Playing Game features though, we’ve already mentioned looting, but we also have companions who will join you in the game. You don’t get to control these other characters, they just join you in fights and tend to join you when they need to get to a different area of the game and need someone to help them get there.
The skill system is quite good, the skills are available to all characters in the game, although what characters have what skills at the beginning of the game is determined by the type of character they are. The system differs from other titles in the way in which you acquire new attacks and spells, instead of being given points to gain new attacks and spells, you pick up icons that are dropped as loot or by trading.
The main problem I have had in the game is the combat system, it just doesn’t feel as good as it should do, if you don’t keep an eye on your characters varying attacks it can become easy for you to fail to attack an enemy altogether. The game also doesn’t display the fights very well, most of the time it looks like you are not even attacking the enemies when you are trying to. It may not sound like too much of a problem, but when you consider that most of the game is spent fighting it can become quite annoying to watch.
The multiplayer side of the game is where players will get the most out of Sacred, it has its own hosting service similar to that of Battle.net. You can play through the main single player game in a team of four if you want to, or you can take part in a fight with up to 16 other players in hack and slash fighting. The game does lag in places, and has a few bugs here and there but most of these are being fixed as the game has been patched a couple of times since launch already.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically Sacred looks good, it is far better than the previously mentioned Diablo 2 title, but then again it should do as that was released a long time ago, it doesn’t, however manage to out-do Dungeon Siege’s engine. The resolution of the game is locked at 1024x768, but you can zoom in on the action whenever you want to. The details in the game are excellent, a lot of time has been put into the way the game looks, and it shows up well on screen.
The character models tend to be nice and large, and well animated, but the player models that you are controlling do tend to be quite a bit more detailed that that of the enemies and the non-playing characters that you get to talk to during the game.
Sacred features a soundtrack that consists of orchestral tunes that tend of gain momentum when you are in a fight, it certainly adds a good atmosphere to the game, but the main credit to the sound has to go to the voice acting as it is played out very well and fits in with the feeling of the game.
Sacred is a good title, but it does have a number of bits that don’t feel as polished as they should be though. It has a number of innovative features that will no doubt get used in other titles that come out in the future but in the end a lot of us will get tired of the combat that tends to become too monotonous instead of being as exciting as it should be.