Sacred 3 Review (PC)

poor
key review info
  • Game: Sacred 3
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by: Radu Haulica
  • Show system requirements
Sacred 3

Sacred 3 is a very uninspired title for the game that Keen Games and Deep Silver delivered, and as a direct consequence of their choice, the game has taken much more flak than it would deserve.

Not that it doesn't deserve any of it, but outright lying about the contents of a product by naming it something it's not is not deemed to be exactly kosher, generally  speaking.

With the unfortunate fact that Sacred 3 shares pretty much nothing with the two installments in the Sacred series out of the way, I'll go ahead and talk about how the game really is.

Gameplay

Sacred 3 is an extremely linear hack-and-slash game with shiny graphics and little thought behind it. It has a pretty lame story and features a ton of annoyingly cheesy humor, like having a drunk dudebro constantly nagging in your ear, in a nutshell.

The first thing that pops out is the control scheme, which uses the WASD keys for directional control, instead of clicking to move, together with other keys for rolling and activating abilities, which is not a bad change at all, just implemented clunkily.

The perspective is the same isometric one used by action role-playing game, but in the case of this arcade hack'n'slash, the emphasis on action combat introduces a nice twist that makes it more reminiscent of games like Omega Force's Dynasty Warriors than of the likes of Diablo or Sacred.

The game world is extremely linear and consists of successive missions that you must complete, as well as a couple of optional ones, without any free roaming involved. You click on a location in the overworld map and are transported to the mission map, rinse and repeat.

Maps are themselves divided into several interconnected mini-arenas, with each new area sealed off from the next one until you defeat several waves of monsters.

This quickly becomes tedious, especially since there is little variety in the enemies that you go against and in your skills, your primary mission being to furiously click on masses of incoming enemies without much thinking, and mash the two combat arts buttons when there are enough enemies on screen to warrant their use.
Review image
Review image
Smashing stuff looks pretty good

Don't be fooled by the promise of power

The combat arts are supposed to be the special attacks that make each of the four classes different from each other, but their use goes mainly into AoE-ing large groups of enemies so you don't have to pick them off one by one or temporary invulnerability, but not much more.

You can choose from four heroes at the beginning of the game, ranging from a lumbering brute to a fleet-footed archer, but the gameplay is unfortunately not varied enough to make any of them distinctive enough, and playing as either the Seraphim of the Safiri won't feel like much of a difference, except as far as the yammering goes.

The enemies themselves are not very challenging, they telegraph their attacks as expected in a game based on action combat but the overall trend is quantity over quality.

Some of them you have to hit with your secondary attack, which doesn't do much damage but it interrupts enemies and breaks their shields, as well as doing a bit of knockback, and there are a few moments when you have to prance around the battlefield and not merely spam attacks, making combat a bit more engaging.

Unfortunately, the overall design of the skills (which are leveled in a very linear and uninteresting manner) as well as the poor design of abilities, weapon spirits and other such elements make the combat system feel cumbersome, as if the first 10 skills that someone thought of were translated into the game instead of having a designer craft classes and their interactions with the world.

A great, engaging combat system could have saved the game, but the way it stands, Sacred 3 feels like a lot of squandered potential, with a lot of its systems rushed and only added as filler.

Sound and visuals

The music is okay, in the sense that it's neither good nor bad, fitting for the most part, but not standing out in any way. The sounds become a bit samey after a while, and don't feel immersive enough, just mostly standard battle noises.

The entirety of the game is voice-acted, and while some bits are spot-on (ignoring the sometimes cringe-worthy writing), in other parts it feels like the actors are really phoning it in.

In any case, having all the text narrated and acted out does increase the production value of the game and makes it seem a little bit more polished.

The visuals, on the other hand, are good, everything looks beautiful, and the color palettes used give the world enough variety to not make the journey boring, and even offer a lot of pleasant and surprising vistas.



The cutscenes are a welcome pause from all the action, with high-quality illustrations, and if the writing had been geared less toward 12-year-olds and played-out cliches, the game might have won a few extra points on the narrative side.

Enemy animations are pretty good and tip you off with appropriate visual cues that allow you to dodge projectiles or attacks in time, and the models are pretty high quality, but not varied enough.

Overall, Sacred 3's most striking feature is its visual impact, the world is richly detailed, enemies are beautifully rendered, and there are a lot of impressive visual effects tied to both your special attacks and your opponents, and the world looks positively colorful and alive.

The Good

  • Enjoyable if you like endlessly clicking one button and killing tons of meaningless enemies
  • Action combat system has some good points
  • Decent visuals
  • Easy to pick up if you're a casual gamer

The Bad

  • Levels and progression are linear
  • It becomes monotonous very quickly
  • Very shallow and poor overall design
  • Weak combat system
  • Not really part of the Sacred series

Conclusion

There is no point in comparing Sacred 3 to either of the two previous games in the series, as it unfortunately shares nothing with them. It just feels like a scam meant to chip some money from careless nostalgic gamers, much like shoving dirt into a jar and labeling it "grandma's peach jam."

The sad part is that the game does not do much better even as a standalone title, feeling like a rushed project that has more in common with tablet RPGs than with PC ones, starting from the meager customization options, weak class design and tedious gameplay mechanics and overall flow, culminating with level-ups that feel outright ironic, as they don't really add much to the game.

Sacred 3 looks good, but it has a misplaced and misguided sense of humor and relies too much on cheesy lines and tropes not to get on your nerves. It's still better than trying to watch "Two and a Half Men" or "The Big Bang Theory" without a laugh track, which is not saying much though.

Overall, Sacred 3 quickly becomes a tedious ordeal, where gameplay is segmented and extremely linear, mechanics feel repetitive, and you end up clearing the same room over and over again, with little variance.

It does have a few good points from time to time, but they're unfortunately bogged down by its many shortcomings, and considering its price tag and the fact that it pretty much shipped with DLC available, I just can't shake off the feeling of a dishonest attempt at a quick cash grab.
story 5
gameplay 4
concept 2
graphics 8
audio 7
multiplayer 0
final rating 5.5
Editor's review
poor
 
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