hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Sacred Citadel

Review: Sacred Citadel

2:00 PM on 04.19.2013 // Jim Sterling

Dungeon Brawler

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. 



Sacred Citadel - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, 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 * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Sacred Citadel

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -