Review :: (XBLA) Sacred Citadel

Return to Ancaria, or your favorite arcade?

Written by Super User

Published Monday, 13 May 2013 20:00

Write your own review !

Sacred. Arguably one of the most underappreciated of the various RPG universes. Starting out on PC, the 3rd person isometric view and action-centered gameplay put it in a precarious position: Filling 2004’s Diablo void while many games moved away from PCs altogether. Fortunately, it had just the right amount of personality for it to stand apart from the Diablo-clone crowd, gaining a cult following from enthusiasts. This led to a proper expansion, as well as a full on sequel (one that made an appearance on consoles as well). With fans rabidly waiting for the third entry in the franchise (which is still due to arrive before the end of the year), publisher Deep Silver tasked SouthEnd Interactive - of Ilomilo fame - to give the fans a bit of history that will lead us into Sacred 3. The kicker? They jump into uncharted territory for the franchise, making Sacred Citadel a side-scrolling brawler...

Sacredscreen04

Anyone who used to frequent the arcades of yore should find a generous amount of nostalgia among the offerings of Sacred Citadel. In fact, if you are a fan of SEGA’s classic Golden Axe, you’ll see more than a passing resemblance. I wouldn’t call it a reskinning so much as a very meticulous homage. All the basics are here: Cooperative (local and online) side-scrolling left-to-right battles against hordes of enemies, loot drops, special moves, the occasional mounts, and yes, even the roasted meats to replenish your health. Everything will feel very familiar to those who have dropped handfuls of quarters into their choice arcade machine.

"Fans may struggle with the genre shift, but Sacred Citadel is exactly what it set out to be: A pick-up-and-play side-scroller where button-mashing trumps anything resembling narrative depth."

Given the familiarity of the genre, the larger question is how it holds up against the rest of the downloadable offerings available today. Surprisingly to me, it holds its own just fine. While I love the genre itself, after jumping into the classics as they have been re-released on today’s platforms, I have been less than thrilled. The magic of the original experience seemed to have faded over the years. With that said, Sacred Citadel manages to take what was once a great time, and add enough of a smattering of modern love to it that I was able to recapture that brainless button-mashing feeling of my youth.

Sacredscreen01

A lot of the credit goes to the variety. While it won’t knock your socks off with a bottomless set of options, it does have enough to expand upon the genre stalwarts and make it feel a bit less dated. Four playable character classes - Warrior, Ranger, Mage, and Shaman - each of which have their own stat specialties, making them play exactly as one would expect. The Warrior is your tank, the Ranger is your ranged fighter, etc... Every character can dual-wield, as well as use their class-specific weapon, opening up the combo count. As you lay waste with large combos, you’ll fill your special meter, letting you unleash an uber move on your foes. Although, you’ll probably be better served saving that for the various bosses you’ll face.

Loot drops will help keep your weapons and armor current, adding more to the character’s attack and defense stats. The balancing of the drops is perfect in order to keep up with the game progression. Unfortunately, it also made the gold you find, and by proxy the local shops one would spend such gold, moot. Not once during my entire jaunt through the game’s four chapters did I need to purchase anything beyond the occasional potion, as pretty much everything I already had was better than what was being offered, or I would soon find something better on the first or second stage of that particular chapter. It’s a shame really, as the townships could have played a much more important role in the player’s journey.

Sacredscreen02

Each of the chapters carry a different theme, adding a diverse set of environments to play through. Murky swamps, cavernous cliffs, dark forests, and snowy mountaintops all are rendered in a cartoony style that is a large departure from the detailed visuals the series has had in the past. This also allowed for a bright and vibrant color pallet, which simultaneously furthered the separation between this entry and its Action-RPG predecessors, and enhanced the arcade-y experience it is trying so hard to facilitate.

Unfortunately, just as the visuals and the gameplay hearken back to our quarter-munching gaming of yore, the story-telling does the same. Over-the-top script and voicework do little for the already forgettable tale. You’ll try to stay with it, but after the first few stages, you’ll quickly see exactly where it is going and will pay it no more attention, instead staying wholly focused on mashing down the two attack buttons as much as possible, while occasionally doing a quick dodge to stay out of reach of your attackers.

Sacredscreen03

Final Focus

To be honest, I can’t really fault Sacred Citadel. Sure, the campaign can be knocked out in a weekend, and the combat can get repetitive if you don’t take advantage of all the moves the game has to offer. And while it is supposed to set the stage for the main course found in Sacred 3, the story is as predictable as they come, so you’ll find yourself focusing on how high you can get your combo count up rather than seeing where the franchise is heading with the third entry. However, all of that is not necessarily a bad thing. Fans may struggle with the genre shift, but Sacred Citadel is exactly what it set out to be: A pick-up-and-play side-scroller where button-mashing trumps anything resembling narrative depth. It is a throwback to the days when gaming did not include complex mechanics or award-winning writing. As long as you come in expecting that, you’ll be more than happy with the $15 investment, especially if you have a buddy or two to join you.

 


Pros

+ Classic arcade action-adventure + Light, pick-up-and-play action + Fun co-op

Cons

- Forgettable tale - Moot economy - Franchise fans may not be thrilled with the genre shift


Final rating
7.0 / 10
Comments
More Xbox 360 reviews
2014-04-06 :: Dark Souls II
2013-11-12 :: Alien Rage
2013-09-17 :: Grand Theft Auto V
2013-09-15 :: Lost Planet 3
2013-09-13 :: Splinter Cell: Blacklist
2013-08-07 :: Grid 2
2013-07-26 :: Remember Me
2013-07-23 :: (XBLA) Sanctum 2
Special articles
The 10 Types of Gamers Special articles

The 10 Types of Gamers

  This list isn’t to marginalize a particular group of Gamers but rather to celebrate our differences.  Also, I don’t think it’s possible to be just one type of gamer either, you can be all sorts.  So enjoy my list of the “10 Types of Gamers” and let me know if I missed one or what type of gamer you are in the comments section below!
Lire la suite...
The Best and The Worst: Titanfall Maps Special articles

The Best and The Worst: Titanfall Maps

Since everybody loves lists and since everybody also loves Titanfall, I thought it was pertinent that I combine these two equally loved things together.  And since maps are one of the key ingredients in a first-person shooter, I felt that would be a good place to start: Read more
More with Titanfall's Lead Game Director Steve Fukuda Special articles

More with Titanfall's Lead Game Director Steve Fukuda

 Last week Andrew Atkinson posted a great piece on the interview he and I had with Titanfall’s Lead Game Director, Steve Fukuda.  I thought I would follow up with some more little bits of information we were able to gather from Mr. Fukuda detailing what’s in store for Titanfall in the future: Read more
Five Things we Learned from 'Titanfall' Lead Developer Steve Fukuda Special articles

Five Things we Learned from 'Titanfall' Lead Developer Steve Fukuda

Gamefocus recently had the chance to chat with Steve Fukuda, lead game developer for Titanfall at Respawn.  Fukuda was lead designer at Infinity Ward where he was a major player in the production of the Call of Duty series up until Modern Warfare 2.  Brenden Mernagh and I arranged to speak with Fukuda at the Titanfalllaunch party in Toronto. Read more

Game details
(XBLA) Sacred Citadel
Release date : 2013-03-19
Platform :
Publisher : Deep Silver
Developer : SouthEnd Interactive
Gameplay : Action-Adventure

DLC Talk

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

Here we are. The next generation of consoles is among us and it is finally time to start thinking about finally unplugging our beloved current-gen systems. Could there be a better swan song for one of these systems than taking a trip back to Rapture?


Read more

DLC Talk: Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall

DLC Talk: Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall

Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall is an impressive little bit of DLC. I should emphasize “little” though, as it is a relatively short experience. Just when the story seems to get going it ends - or, rather, it “kind of” ends.


Read more

DLC Talk: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

DLC Talk: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon’s Dogma was released last year on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


Read more
GF Blogs

Rage Against The Exploding Barrel

Rage Against The Exploding Barrel

In the year 1981 a decision was made which would forever alter the face of video games as we know them. A young gorilla named Donkey Kong was throwing wooden barrels at a spunky little plumber named Mario. What happened next influenced the level design and gameplay of most FPS and adventure games since.


Read more

Why Super Nintendo VS Sega Genesis is a lot like PS4 VS Xbox One

Why Super Nintendo VS Sega Genesis is a lot like PS4 VS Xbox One

The video game press and blogosphere didn’t really know what to make of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One when they were announced last year.  Most of this confusion seemed to stem from the fact that no one really knew for sure if these next-generation video game consoles would offer the player anything new.  Yes, there would be better graphics, better online functionality, a better multimedia experience, and a better controller, but would that be it?


Read more

'Goat Simulator' is Live! You can Virtually Live as a Goat!

'Goat Simulator' is Live! You can Virtually Live as a Goat!

I’ve often thought that what the animal rights movement really needs are some rocking simulations of animal life.  I’m not sure Goat Simulator will offer that (I’m still downloading it), but think about this: imagine teaching a grade seven science class where you hook your students up to Oculus Rift VR sets, fix them with some haptic arm and leg bands, and send them out to join a wolf pack stalking caribou in the arctic tundra (Dire Wolf!).


Read more
GameFocus Radio

GameFocus Podcast: December 16, 2013

GameFocus Podcast: December 16, 2013

Game Focus is proud to present its new podcast episode, a weekly casual talk between GameFocus staff members about the gaming industry. In this show, we talk about mostly the Xbox One and the PS4. Vince explains in details what happened when he reached Microsoft support for a problem with his Xbox One that unexpectedly died after less than 2 days of use.

Read more
GameFocus 2014 Top 10
2
Dark Souls II (Xbox 360)
9.1
3
9.0
5
Trials Fusion (Xbox One)
8.0
6
Thief (PlayStation 4)
7.5
7
Madden NFL 25 (Xbox One)
7.4
8
Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)
5.8
9
4.0

facebook-follow-us

twitter1

 

Recent comments

Powered by Disqus