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Sacred Citadel

Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: SouthEnd Interactive
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 3 (Local and Online)
Genre: Action/ RPG/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Sacred Citadel is content with how unremarkable it is. In a niche populated with the likes of Castle Crashers, that's not something to be proud of. This side-scrolling beat-em-up role-playing hybrid is a timesink that starts off great, but gets old very quickly. If you're a fan of the genre, there are better alternatives.

Sacred Citadel is visually appealing, but nothing about it stands out. It employs an aesthetic that suggests a three-dimensional cartoony vibe and sticks with it through a number of different (but standard) environments. Solid colors and simple designs make up the rest of the presentation, and it works rather well.

Sound is par for the course: functional, but nothing to jump up and down about. The music is a light mix of epic sword and sorcery and elements of rock and electronica. There's no real sense of identity, and I suppose that's alright. Sound effects aren't offensive, and the voice acting that's here is cheesy (and it knows it is).


Gameplay:

So what kind of game is Sacred Citadel, exactly? Well, take the grind-heavy combat of a Diablo, Torchlight, or well, Sacred, and put it into a brawler along the lines of Streets of Rage or Final Fight. You pick one of four archetype characters (Safiri Warrior, Ancarian Ranger, Khukuri Shaman, or Seraphim Mage) and set out to take down the hordes of bad guys who have plagued fantasy worlds since time immemorial. You run from left to right, beat the life out of enemies, earn experience and coinage, level up, and move on. That's literally all there is to this game.

Sacred Citadel was clearly built with cooperative play in mind, and you can take two buddies into the fray with you, whether they are online or on the same couch. Anything's better with friends, though Sacred Citadel eventually feels like a chore. But hey, chores with friends are better than chores done solo, right?


Difficulty:

Enemies take forever to kill, and that's not fun in any action game. I'm not just talking about bosses, though -- run of the mill baddies will play punching bag for several seconds before they give up the ghost. It would be easier to forgive if you weren't able to simply bully mobs into corners and spam attacks until they're toast. But the artificial intelligence is quite dumb. I can't help but think it would have been better if the game threw mobs of weak, easily-killed enemies that could overwhelm with sheer numbers.

If you want more of a risk/reward element in your dungeon crawling, you can place bets with the bookie in the town. The opportunity for reward is high, but it always comes with an extra level of challenge.


Game Mechanics:

Sacred Citadel is a bog-standard brawler. You've got attacks, powers, and loot. Health bars, power meters, experience points. You know the drill. Kill everything in sight and collect everything that drops. Go to town and buy some gear. Level up. Increase attribute points. Rinse and repeat. Second verse, same as the first.

If you look at the pause menu during gameplay, you might actually be surprise to see a combo list. There are indeed command lists for each character, and while each of them brings a series of exclusive abilities (that may or may not complement those of your teammates), the fact remains that the same attack strategies tend to work throughout the entire game.

Sacred Citadel is an inoffensive romp through a fantasy world that is utterly indistinguishable from countless others. It's good fun, but only for short bursts. These days, it takes more than that to be a great action role-playing game. But as it is, Sacred Citadel just blends comfortably into the background.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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