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REVIEW | “Sacred Citadel” A Run-Of-The-Mill Barrel Of Arcade Fun

By
Posted on April 29, 2013 AT 01:44pm

Because I am new to this series I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Sacred Citadel, a spin-off title of the mostly-PC-based Sacred series. All I knew was SouthEnd Interactive was developing it, a company who moved me to tears with 2011′s ilomilo. This alone raised my expectations of the game to a high level, so does the final product merit these promises?

Sacred Citadel has you and up to two other players uniting against an evil that threatens your peaceful kingdom. The evil Lord Zane and his Ashen Empire have created an army of Orc henchmen known as the Grimmocs to wage war against the Seraphim. As you progress through the worlds you’ll face off against massive wolves, flying acid-spewing creatures, and warriors with magic on their side.

Players can choose from four characters: the strong Warrior, the quick Ranger, the powerful Mage, and the magical Shaman. Each character brings with them a unique battle style, but with the same amount of power to make sure you can beat the game with any of them. As you progress through Sacred Citadel and defeat more enemies you’ll earn new weapons, armor, and gold that can be used in the village market to buy elixir, power-ups, and even make betting wages with one of the townsfolk.

As you level up through the game not only will you gain access to the weaponry, but you’ll also learn new combos. These combos can range from something small like another kind of slash maneuver to the more powerful, fiery blows to the enemy soldiers that surround you in the game. It’s these combos that help keep Sacred Citadel from being repetitive, a mistake many of these hack-and-slash titles have made in the past. It may take some time to learn them all, but once you’ve got most of them memorized these combos will unleash some beautiful carnage.

In the beginning of the game I noticed that the enemies tended to stand idle as I went to blows with them. When I saw this happen I started to think that I was in for a game that’d be too easy, with very little challenges to be found. Boy did I take those thoughts back during the start of Act 2, when the enemies came at me in droves and started to overpower me. Playing the game mostly in single-player I found myself more often than not being taken over by these massive Orcs and mythical creatures. Near the end of my game I had no choice but to seek the aid from other players to help complete my journey. You can probably beat the game on your own, but if you don’t want to be frustrated with the game’s difficulty I suggest finding at least one other person to help you on your path to victory.

There’s a little thing about Sacred Citadel that throws me off regarding the multiplayer aspect: only three people can play it at once. All throughout my life in the arcades the magic number has always been four, so why not this title? Was there something glitchy with four-player co-op during production that SouthEnd had to knock it down to three? I know this is a petty thing to complain about, but I can’t seem to get past this aspect in the game.

One other minor speed bump in Sacred Citadel is that it’s not a new take on arcade beat-em-ups. Sure the worlds are gorgeous and the combos are great, but nothing in this game flew past me that made me think of it as unique. Don’t get me wrong: Sacred Citadel is both fun and exciting to play, but it’s not revolutionary. If anything this title is like a banana with one brown spot on it: not 100% fresh, but you can still enjoy the contents.

The first four acts of Sacred Citadel will take you roughly five hours to beat, which isn’t too bad for a downloadable title. However if you want to to find out what happens to the other antagonist in the game be prepared to pay an extra 400 MS Points/$5. If you found yourself enjoying the game overall it may be worth it; if not, then you may feel cheated by this realization. On the plus side the DLC does feature three extra levels besides Act 5, along with a couple other extra weapons you can earn to help you on your journey.

PROS:

  • Fine arcade co-op gameplay
  • Nice powerful combos
  • Weapon upgrade system nicely tuned

CONS:

  • Doesn’t really bring anything new to the arcade table
  • Why only three-player co-op?
  • Final act is paid DLC

FINAL THOUGHTS:

While the play style isn’t new, Sacred Citadel still proves itself to be a fun, worthwhile gaming experience. Whether you are playing alone or with friends online SouthEnd Interactive’s prequel to the upcoming Sacred 3 has plenty of hack-and-slash moments for players to enjoy.

FINAL GRADE: 7.8 (out of ten)

Xbox Live Arcade review copy provided by Deep Silver

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck




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