The bankruptcy proceedings of Los Angeles based THQ are finally over, and one of the big winners of the public auction is European publisher Deep Silver. The publisher is probably best known for the Dead Island games and now owns the Metro series, Saints Row, and developer Volition. In a previous acquisition, Deep Silver was also able to take over the Sacred RPG franchise. While there is no firm release date for the isometric RPG, Sacred 3, the side-scrolling, beat-em up, RPG prequel is available now. Though it might be hard to imagine, this arcade style mash-up, Sacred Citadel, does directly relate to the franchise.
The plot in Sacred Citadel appears to take place long before the events that have been revealed for Sacred 3. In this game, the land of Ancaria is in grave danger and the evil Ashen empire has enslaved the population. They are using the orc-like Grimmoc to wipe out the Seraphim, and it is your job to defeat them. From what has been revealed about the premise of Sacred 3, the Seraphim are long gone. To get through this more casual prequel, players have the choice of four characters. Oddly, only three players can play at a time though, either locally or online. Drop-in/drop-out gameplay is only available for online multiplayer.
Sacred Citadel controls as you would expect a side scrolling beat-em up, with a few added wrinkles. Besides jumping and the standard and special attacks, your character can block, perform combat rolls, and run. Potions can be consumed conveniently on the fly with the d-pad. This all sounds great on paper, but the actual application is more of a mixed bag. Besides the all too similar gameplay between characters, the combat can be gamed due to the very basic enemy A.I. patterns. Except for the bosses, the combat is fairly one dimensional and even the bosses aren’t too difficult.
Sacred Citadel is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence, Blood. This game can also be found on: PC, and Xbox 360.