There’s a lot of monsters out there and someone’s got to slay them… why are you looking at me? Oh, all right then.
This is a title that you could say I’ve come to revisit in 2014, as I’d already played it many years ago when I had the boxed copy- but it was on sale on Steam and it had all these shiny new things (that I didn’t actually end up using) so I bought it again. For all of £1.49 so I wasn’t too concerned. However, the two extra classes look interesting and it plays for a good amount of time so one can hardly complain about having the shiny new version. Plus, I suppose it’s been patched and is fully up to date which my boxed copy wouldn’t be and then I’d have to find and download patches for it and such.
Just like the good old days of gaming. Where the first ten hours of gameplay was tracking down, installing, tweaking, and swearing at patches. When you didn’t have automatic updates for video drivers and spent hours carefully treading the official site to understand what you needed. Then hoping that the installation didn’t absolutely destroy your machine with a blue screen of death. Ah, sweet nostalgia!
…Those days sure were scary. Steam removes a lot of this and the NVIDIA update tool removes the rest of it.
So, what is Sacred? It’s an ARPG that comes in somewhere between Diablo and Diablo II in terms of functionality. You’ve got some advancements like being able to hold a button to continually perform an attack or the multiple slots to allow you to use one of several skills, but, rather oddly, you don’t have stackable items like potions or skill items. Yet you don’t need identify scrolls as everything you find is already identified. However, you also don’t have town portal scrolls but you do have horses. So there’s a lot of different ideas thrown in there and some of them are quite interesting (like horses) while others are standard fare.
There are five base classes and seven with the two extra in the Gold version. Each one comes in with a different flavour, story, starting location, voice actor, and lots of interesting skills to choose from and develop over the course of the game. Unlike other games in this genre your Combat Skills are acquired as items that drop. It can make the growth system a little random at times as you can’t focus fire all your points into one skill, but, at the same time, it also means you’re going to find/use a lot more skills. Like I would never have actually put points into the Gladiator’s Dagger Stare but it was actually kind of useful early in the game when you had a couple of free points.
Skills (not to be confused with Combat Skills as described above) come in the form of various aspects you can build up as you level up. They’re things like Concentration (that allows you to regenerate physical Combat Skills quicker) or Agility (which improves your offensive and defensive combat abilities) which allow you to patch up any holes in your build by improving the weak points.
I noticed early on that the Gladiator wasn’t hurting for any kind of damage and could reliably take down whole groups or singular enemies. So I decided to devote a lot of my Skills to things that improved his defence, his combat ability, his ability to resist magic, and so on. This way he was well rounded against many of the different threats in the world.
Speaking of threats (and there are many) they are varied and interesting challenges. You’re going to face a range of enemies that are going to do all manner of clever things, that are going to hurt you in so many ways, and that you are going to need to approach carefully to survive. There are few enemies that attempt to kill you through pure brute force and there are even less that just stand there and get pummelled endlessly. Much to the annoyance of any and every melee character. It’s a refreshing change to the usual “it’s end game so everything can kill you quite easily.” This is more a case that things can if you don’t pay too much attention to them.
Finally, the greatest, and most varied, aspect of this game is the massive world in which you play in. There are an amazing number of locations and so many different environments while having an open world feel allows you the ability to explore or not. If you want to go from quest to quest- feel free. If you want to explore- feel free. It’s all there if you want to take advantage of it and you’ll be surprised at how big the actual world is. There’s so much to see, do, find, kill, explore, discover, and generally observe that the world never feels dull or lifeless. Countless smaller towns and outposts litter the highways and give the world a truly living and breathing feel that is so rare in ARPGs (and just about any game really).
It’s a rare gem and one that is really worth your time if you like classic ARPGs.
Have a nice weekend, all!