The multiplayer brawler genre is starting to make its comeback thankfully, with great games like Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3, joining up with friends to kick untold amounts of tail is easier and more rewarding than ever. Developers Piranha Bytes are stepping back into the fray this time with the new release of Sacred 3 released on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. While not being perfect, there are a few things here and there that cause this game, let’s dive right in.
Let’s begin with a small recap of the story. The game is set in the mystical land of Ancaria as the others have done previously, your enemies of the hour are the empire of the Ashen, looking for the magical MacGuffin known as the Heart of Ancaria. You want to stop this from happening with the help of Aria, some lady who can tell the future....What? You want story in a brawler? Get out of here, go decide your class and get to booty kickin’. The game is played through an isometric top down perspective, those of you who have ever played something like League of Legends or DOTA would feel right at home here.
The newest instalment in this series is a great improvement on its previous iteration Sacred 2. There are several features that were in Sacred 2 however these have been since stripped out. While its predecessor was a competent game, it was plagued with constant visual glitches and lack of customisation....so yeah that seems like a good place to go from here.
This time around there are a few different choices to work with, breaking down into Warrior, Archer, Paladin and Lancer. Each of these have their own differences in play style, however we come to the onus of the issue, each of them have their own ways to fight, but none of them feel altogether rewarding. While there are a few options for the appearance customisation for your character, there is plenty more for skill customisation, with it being rather easy to chop and change your skills and obtain refunds for previous improvements to move them to improving new weapons and abilities of them. Throughout the game you can additionally unlock extra spirits to give you buffs that can be levelled and switched our between levels, adding further levels to customisation.
No game is perfect however, so there are a few things to take into account, to begin with the opening pre rendered title sequence looks fantastic, setting the scene for some great cutscenes for your to enjoy later in the game right? Wrong. Almost all further plot progression is done by voiced over artwork, something we have always found is a rather lazy way of storytelling. This brings us on to the voice acting, while at times it can be an absolute gem, (Our initial impressions of enemy ‘Mar-tell’ being our favourite so far), at other times it can really break immersion. Aria is a prime example of this, sometimes it can feel like they’re trying to break the fourth wall, but if its done, it should just be done with dedication a la Deadpool comics/video games, if its done half heartedly it just breaks immersion which can make or break the game. I suppose the best to describe it would be tongue-in-cheek, with the tongue slipping out every now and again.
By no means is it a bad game, but something like Sacred 3 is made to be played with pals, if you have someone with you for some extra fun it becomes a great experience, each character even has abilities that can only be used when in a party of other characters, you can compliment each others skills create the best builds and all the while you’ll be competing with each other to see who grab the most gold while laying down all kinds of pain on the actually rather impressive range of enemies.
What this all comes down to is that Sacred 3 feels like a bit of a popcorn game, something that you can enjoy with pals but on its own does not offer much of an immersive storytelling experience. With an easy to use control system and some cheeky dialogue here and there, its definitely something you be enjoyed with multiplayer as these games most often are, but if you’re going to be playing it on your own, there are some other titles worth trying. Its not a bad game, its got some hints of real greatness, and the gameplay is fully functional, it just lacks that wow factor, that glint that makes it stop JUST before a must-buy recommendation. Fingers crossed they’ll be able to improve the series even further in future.
Sacred 3 is out now on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.