If you have been in the mood for a good side-scrolling brawler lately, than Sacred Citadel might just be what you’re in the market for. Some of you may be familiar with the name Sacred since it is actually well known for being an action oriented-RPG. While it isn’t exactly Diablo III, the series has become quite popular in its own way. With the acquisition of this series by Deep Silver, there is surely something good to come out of it all. And if you haven’t guessed it by now, “Sacred Citadel” is actually considered to be a prequel to the next installment in the series, “Sacred 3”. Though someone such as me might not easily be able to tell the kinds of similarities that relate to the original telling of the series, I can tell you that this isn’t just any ordinary side-scrolling beat em up.
The plot of Sacred Citadel takes place long before the events leading up to Sacred 3. From my understanding the land of Ancaria is threatened by the evil Ashen Empire who is out to destroy practically everything in its path. It’s your classic tale of good versus evil, which we have come to hear about quite commonly. The way the story starts off I was reminded a little of Castle Crashers except without the kidnapping of princesses and the epic music to go along with it. As the story unfolds though it did feel very basic and even with the little bit of dialogue, there were moments it sounded like it was meant for the likes of a child. If you’re looking for an incredibly detailed story…well you came to the wrong place.
Starting out you has the choice of four different types of characters, the Warrior, The Mage, The Shaman, and the Ranger. Strangely enough though you can only play cooperatively with three players, meaning somebody is going to be left out. I feel like this decision was based solely on balancing out the level of play, but it sure would have been nice to have the whole team together. Still there are only a few distinct differences between each character but their play styles mostly stay the same. Each character can dual wield two types of weapons such as axes or swords and even maces. With the exception of the Warrior who uses two styles of melee weapons, every other character has the ability to used ranged attacks in their repertoire. From a form of physical bow attack to casting a magic spell, being able to keep a safe distance from enemies can be the smart play in times of desperate need.
The level of difficulty that Sacred Citadel offers can be quite challenging to go up against on your own at first. Though going at it with a partner seems to only increase the strength of the enemies you face, and you’ll find it much easier to go at it with a full team of three. In order to face the difficulties that lie ahead leveling up gives you an assortment of some basic combos to deal some serious damage without consequence. The system works well although it does reach its limit very quickly and you might feel like the experience becomes quite repetitive. On the other hand while defeating enemies and bosses alike, you’re bound to find some stronger weapons or stronger spells to add to your beast slaying repertoire.
I mentioned playing with friends to be the best solution to your problems, but I did find a few issues for attempting to play online. Immediately starting off in the game with three people, there’s a chance that the third person might not connect properly forcing the game to freeze up. Other times I couldn’t help but notice lag between myself and the other players with the occasional disconnection. This wasn’t a huge issue to deal with but it did take away from the overall expectations of online play.
Sacred Citadel certainly isn’t your conventional beat em up, but it does tend to feel a bit nostalgic when you’re capable of activating your ability meter to pull off a devastating attack that covers the whole screen. I definitely got the feeling that I was playing “Golden Axe” for a little bit there, but overall Sacred Citadel is its own experience not to be confused with other games in the genre such as Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World or Double Dragon: Neon. There certainly wasn’t a lot of character development or personality involved in the story but from what I gathered Sacred Citadel had the potential for so much more. If I had to recommend Sacred Citadel I might say it’s not exactly a must play on your list but it is worth checking out. If you’re the least bit interested in the Sacred universe or your looking for a somewhat decent side-scrolling brawler, Sacred Citadel might just be for you.