Blizzard changed the way we looked at Action Role-Playing Games (RPG) with their Diablo series, which has become one of the best selling games of recent history. Since then we have seen clones and would be “Diablo killers” come and go. Some have been nice time killers that have added great features to the formula. Others have been mediocre and boring or just not impressive. Ascaron has made a good game that has opened up the genre and has come out with a great clone, along the same lines that Divine Divinity did.
This game’s strongest attribute is the ability to do what you want and go where you want to go. It is reminiscent of a Morrowind fashion, but not as extensive. The environments are not vastly interactive, but you do have the ability to pretty much go where you want to go which could take some time. The world itself is very large and the going is slow. The way to cure that is the addition of horses. A brilliant design decision and the guy who thought of that should be able to sleep on piles of money with many beautiful women. With that speed comes the cost of losing the use of some skills. No big deal though, I feel it was a smart gameplay balancing move. As you traverse the countryside, you will take note of the detail. The terrain and the life that inhabits it are of high detail and easy on the eyes. Even though the game only runs in 1024 x 768, one won’t really miss any other resolutions.
The gameplay of the game borrows the most from Diablo II and Divine Divinity. I am not complaining. The battles are a lot like the aforementioned titles with a few twists. The ability to execute combos is very engaging and very damaging to your mythical foe. As you level, you accumulate more skills and use points to put into your stats or of your weapon mastery of choice. You will also find powerful and magical items, some slotted to further improve their power and even some items for a particular race. With all the items you are bound to run into, you have the ability of storing your looted goods into a treasure chest in towns, a la Resident Evil and Diablo II. Very handy. The game also hands out a lot of variety right at the beginning. You can choose a multitude of races/classes, 6 in total, from humans to dark elves to vampires. They all play distinctly and have their equal amounts of pros and cons.
The graphics overall are pretty good. There are a few things here and there that are not the best, but the game uses a lot of color. Something we don’t see much these days, and I wish we would see more of. The environments are detailed and full of color, but the character models are only decent and all the enemies you and your friends face are nothing better than the average RPG title offers. The game does have a nice share of fancy effects but nothing that truly stands out. In one word, the graphics are solid.
The audio is nothing spectacular, but I can’t complain. Fights sound as they should, the music is good, but nothing memorable. Voice acting is a hit or miss, not as bad as some, but it isn’t a Metal Gear in terms of quality of the actors. There isn’t a whole lot to write home about when it comes to the general category of audio, but it’s not bad.
The controls and interface do their job nicely. The one feature that I love is the addition of a button that when you click on it, you automatically collect all the loot on the screen. Believe me, there is a lot of loot in this game. I really never found myself hurting for gold in the game. Took away from some of the challenge, as I always had the best equipment, but the game is challenging in its own right. Much like Diablo II, one can go back and replay quests on harder difficulty levels. That’s a nice touch to make the game last a little while longer. One thing I found strange is that depending on your character level regulated how many hot keys you can use. As weird as that sounds, it’s balanced and it works well. As far as interface goes during the action, the game has a bit more micromanaging than Diablo II. It’s easy for a Diablo II vet to get over-whelmed because it is not as simple. It’s a step up from the norm.
The multiplayer should be instantly familiar with anyone who has played on B.net. It’s fun and a great way to waste time at a LAN party. I have found so far that all the classes work very well together in the middle of a medieval war. A group of buddies can play the main campaign or can even partake in 16 player death match… fun times. I am sad to report that the multiplayer is pretty laggy over the Internet and has a few bugs to strip away the polish.
Good and colorful. A few things here and there are what you normally find in these types of games. I would have enjoyed a little more variety. I do enjoy the use of colors though.
Nothing fantastic, but nothing bad either. Nothing stood out and the voice acting is passable.
A worthy Diablo II clone with added features. Lots of classes, a huge open world, horses and a huge variety of weapons make for a very very fun game.
Sacred’s challenge wasn’t too hard nor too easy. It has found a great balance in terms of difficulty. With 6 classes, and each one being vastly different, you will want to experience everything that everyone has to offer.