Wednesday , February 28 2024
Sacred Citadel is a good looking and fun jaunt, but it’s unlikely to keep an online audience.

PSN Review: Sacred Citadel

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.

The four characters to choose from in Sacred Citadel are a Warrior, Mage, Ranger, and Shaman.  Though the cartoonish representations imply distinct differences, unfortunately there is not a huge difference in play styles.  They can each dual wield, with the Warrior as the only player that defaults to two melee weapons.  The rest of the characters have both a melee and missile attack.  Of course, dropped loot and the shop offer plenty of opportunity to upgrade throughout the game.  This loot system and the character upgrades are the adopted RPG elements that differentiate the game from its Double Dragon roots.

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 has never been known for its storytelling ability, and Sacred Citadel’s narrative is fairly forgettable unless you’re digging for clues about Sacred 3. The five areas and handful of levels in each make for a fairly short adventure.  It is really the RPG elements and special challenges that offer the most fun.  More than likely, this will be a solo affair for most players, unless they can get a couple of friends to join them on the couch.  Finding online players is always tough for lesser known games, particularly on the PlayStation Network.  Sacred Citadel is a good looking and fun jaunt, but even with day one DLC, it’s unlikely to keep an online audience.

Sacred Citadel is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence, Blood. This game can also be found on: PC, and Xbox 360.

About Lance Roth

Lance Roth has over 10 years experience in the video game industry. He has worked in a number of capacities within the industry and currently provides development and strategy consulting. He participated in all of the major console launches since the Dreamcast. This videogame resume goes all of the way back to when they were written in DOS. You can contact Lance at or [email protected].

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