Sacred Citadel review
The Bankruptcy of THQ left a mute trail of gaming devastation in it’s wake, some franchises have yet to be picked up. Sacred however, proved to be a smart move by European publisher Deep Silver judging by it’s adaptation in Citadel – it has kept the hack and slash adventure mechanic and injected humour, a solid offline and online co-op that requires teamwork and a visual style that complements both.
From the opening movie, the intention of Deep Silver is evident in stamping their mark on the franchise, a rich baritone narrates stills, setting the plot for the next eight hours of brawling. A simple premise but one that has continuity throughout the adventure. Four classes are available – Warrior, Mage, Ranger and Shaman. Warrior is of course the point man, absorbing and dolling out massive amounts of damage, whilst the Mage and Shaman buffs and attacks from range. The Ranger has a compromise between the two – able to dual wield like the Warrior but equipped with a bow for secondary charge attacks oppose to the Warriors massive battle ax.
Leveling up plays a key part and can be split across four areas, attack, defense, power and dexterity each having it’s own merits dependent on class chosen. Potions and Crystals that offer temporary buffs can be found though most likely bought from each of the five areas towns that serve as equipment and item providers between stages.
Combat is simple enough but credence must be given to the developer for fantastic drip-fed tutorials that are paced to perfection. After finishing Act one you actually still have half your move-set to come, but at no point does it feel like you are being restrained by virtual stabilizers. The action is fast and frantic at all times, with plenty of enemies to fluster any number of players should they not have a game plan. Controls are simple enough two attack buttons, jump, roll and block. blocking unlocks at just at the right time, for example – three stages in against your first mini boss. Combos are unlocked with leveling up, benefiting the player as no memory is needed to recall past combos as they are used for an entire level before another one becomes unlocked. On paper this sounds like it makes for monotonous gaming but trust us dear reader – it is anything but.
Your secondary weapon is chargeable and returns the risk reward mechanic that most gamers thrive on. As you finish each stage points are rewarded based on time taken, damage dealt and health remaining. As long as players communicate with each other, not only in regards to class effectiveness during battle but also in rapidity in reviving each other should someone fall – levels can be on the easy side but then the mission statement of Citadel is one of fun and merriment oppose to punishment and rage quits.
Generic enemies do hamper the games depth somewhat but Citadel feels like a stand alone prequel to an intended retail release. It stands proud on it’s own and can still benefit with supportive DLC. Auditory senses will get delighted and disappointed in the same breadth. While the voice acting is it’s weakest point, the background scenes are a delight to enjoy, looking through and hearing the animated backgrounds is a stand out highlight and serves to bolster confidence in what Deep Silver plan to do with the franchise.
Sacred Citadel will not light the world on fire with anything innovative, every gameplay mechanic in the genre has already been explored, refined and regurgitated in every adventure games requirements. Citadel however, marries each mechanic so well that time flies by while playing, all players taking in turns to request one more stage. On testing, the game was played straight through the first Act, then another two more stages from Act 2. The reviewers stopped because they hadn’t blinked properly for two and a half hours. There is no better compliment to Deep Silver.