The Sacred series is never going to give Diablo a run for its money, but it's always had its own unique charm. It's a fairly standard dungeon crawler with its own element of silly humor, and that's been enough to earn it a place in my heart. Given my fondness for Sacred, and my love of classic beat 'em ups, Sacred Citadel earned my attention from the outset.
Trading its roleplaying robes for a brawler's tights, Citadel is a beat 'em up that, at least thematically, stays true to the series roots. Like its RPG precursors, Sacred Citadel is a game with its own sense of character, but clearly won't be giving the best of the genre anything to sweat about.
Such is the Sacred way.
Sacred Citadel (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) Developer: Southend Interactive Publisher: Deep Silver Released: April 16, 2013 MSRP: $14.99, 1200 Microsoft Points Rig: Intel i7-3770K @3.50 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce Titan GPU
Sacred Citadel is an arcade-style beat 'em up that plays itself as straight as a die. You have a series of sidescrolling stages, waves of harassing enemies, and endless button-mashing slaughter. There's a definite sense of nostalgia with Citadel, as it's quite clearly inspired by SEGA's Golden Axe series, with dash attacks, occasional monstrous mounts, and postmodern fantasy music.
There are four classes to choose from, each with their own unique special moves and strengths -- the tank-like Warrior, buffing Shaman, dexterous Ranger and projectile-flinging Mage. Although each class has unique attacks, characters tend to play out in fairly similar styles -- every class gets access to the same melee weapons, they all wield two weapons at once, and they generally all need to get up close and button mash their way to success for a good portion of the game. The major difference lies in their special offhand weapons, which provide character-specific charge attacks, but even then, they all follow the same formula -- giving everybody a long-range move, a juggle, and a ground slam.
The game's four acts (or five if you bought the launch day content) play out in pretty much the same way. You carve a path from left to right, pick up gold and the occasional weapon/armor drop, then fight some sort of large boss creature. Players can both block and dodge, and PC users are advised to wield a controller, as trying to make use of defensive maneuvers on the keyboard just doesn't feel right. Attacking enemies fills three power meters, which unleash one of three powerful attacks depending on how many of the square are filled -- another nice little nod to Golden Axe.
Characters level up, and are able to spend skill points on Attack, Defense, Dexterity and Power. A town can also be visited between stages, to buy extra gear, equip temporary stat-boosting crystals, or place a bet with a townsperson, pledging to beat the next stage under some sort of restriction in exchange for a cash prize.
Sacred Citadel offers a fairly basic little beat 'em up game that doesn't really do anything extraordinary, but doesn't demand much either. You go in, you kill stuff, you move on. It's serviceable, but it lacks the sense of scale and energy that something like Castle Crashers had. Combat feels a little unresponsive, and attacks lack the kind of satisfying heft one comes to expect from a good brawler. Charge attacks are generally slow and leave one open to attack, while enemies love juggling you, knocking you around, and scoring a cheap hit as soon as you recover from an attack. Citadel's not a particularly hard game, but it's a frustrating one, especially when playing solo, as enemies adore not letting you pull off any moves.
Up to three players can fight together, either locally or cooperatively, though as I said, there doesn't seem to be much of an active player base right now. I managed to find a few games on launch day, but the next day saw me unable to get into a single game. Even when games were available, it would tell me I was unable to join. Once I got in, things worked perfectly fine, though the benefit of enemies having more targets to thin out their attention is countered somewhat by an overwhelming visual chaos.
The game looks pretty good, although the in-game menu tops out at a nasty resolution of 1600x900. I had to go into the configuration file to fix this, and even then, while it made the game look nicer, it did stretch things to the point where dialog text's cut off at either side. That complaint aside, Citadel offers a very pretty and colorful adventure, with a great cartoon look and some fantastic character designs. The environments are bold and contrasting, giving the game a real sense of style that's hammered home with the delightful soundtrack. Don't let the dubstep in the game's menu fool you -- the tunes playing throughout the game are incredibly catchy.
A nice presentation helps make things a little more interesting, but there's still no escaping the fact that Sacred Citadel fails to inspire much passion. It's an okay game, a solid arcade throwback, but it's a mere face in a crowd and doesn't stand out very much. It'll give you five or so hours of satisfactory action, dishing out amusement and annoyance at varying points, and while I think it's worth checking out for Sacred fans, most brawler connoisseurs would be better off sticking with the classics.
Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.
RatCasket dtoid discussion has been awfully bitchy these past couple of days. knock it off. its just video games.StripyTrousers Just posted my first Dtoid Community blog. Hello all!ChillyBilly Good Morning Good Morning
We've talked the whole night through
Good Morning Good Morning to you
Good Morning Good Morning
It's great to stay up late
Good Morning Good Morning to youDaniel Lingen #PAX2015Agent9 gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)WryGuy If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]OverlordZetta At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.Fenriff Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?MeanderBot I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself
[img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/edB8UKLdSZep8ZSOYF8u[/img]RexterNathan Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.CJ Andriessen R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.OverlordZetta So apparently Nintendo is taking down Mario Maker Let's Plays as fast as they can. Good job!Snaveage Phantom Pain is fucking glorious.IDrawOnTape Anyone remember the cartoon "Freakazoid"? I'm doing artwork for a box for work to hold my supplies, but I cant remember some of the better characters. Freakazoid, Steph, Cosgrove, Candlejack, the Lobe, Caveguy... but who else?TheAngriestCarp Gotta love all those Dtoid community members that magically appear whenever there's a giveaway.DSBrad Newest Madden may be one of my favorites. Been taking all my time up. TheDefenestrator TWITCHTOID! I'll be playing some more PS4 Zombi and then some Until Dawn if'n I want to change things up. Link: [url=http://www.twitch.tv/thedefenestrator]Twitch.tv: TheDefenestrator[/url]Fenriff Bless Wasteland 2's custom portraits [img]http://i.imgur.com/JuWaB1W.png?1[/img]James Internet Ego Sorting out a bunch of university stuff and going through a bit of writers block. I'm also holding some of my best stuff back for freelancing purposes (uni ain't cheap!), so sorry if my blogs have been a bit lackluster lately. And will be for 4-ish weeks.gajknight Been looking for a car to buy today. I swear, I am so sick of my mums voice. "It's too expensive!" "Don't you think it's a little big..." "INSURANCE!" Goddamn woman, chill your beans.