Action RPGs have long been a favourite genre of games for both myself and my wife. In fact, my wife’s favourite game of all time is Diablo 2. So a couple of years ago I decided to pick up a new game for her to play… That game was Sacred 3. We did the typical mindless buyer behaviour of going into the game store and just looking at the cases. We didn’t do any research into the game beforehand.
Now, I had never played Sacred 3 before then. So I was going in completely blind. It has been a few years since then, so I decided to go back and take another look at it with fresh eyes once again. Let’s see how it played out!
The plot pretty much revolves around an emperor who has allied himself with demons in an attempt to upset the balance of the world and open the gates to the underworld. You, as one of the various characters, has to try and stop him. It’s a pretty basic storyline, to be honest, and unfortunately, nothing particularly shocking or surprising actually happens throughout the entirety of the game.
Whilst I don’t want to be horrible with my words, there is very little that I can say as a positive for Sacred 3’s storyline. Admittedly, for most hack and slash action RPGs, the storyline is more of an afterthought… But even Diablo 2 had memorable characters. In fact, even Diablo 3 had a more interesting and deep storyline… And that’s the real problem with Sacred.
The plot feels so thin on the ground that you just kind of ignore it. For me, personally, that’s a very bad situation for a game to be in. Plot and storyline are incredibly important aspects of a game’s development. Without a strong (or at least adequate) story, a game feels flat and empty to me. That is precisely the case for Sacred 3 – I felt like there was no real driving force for the game other than beating up the next enemy. There really isn’t anything to keep you going through the waves of creatures and people that are attacking you…
In fact, the failed attempt at comedic value will more than likely grate on you so much that you’d happily turn it off in favour of playing Barbie: Explorer on the original PlayStation… And I am only slightly exaggerating. The childish humour falls flat on its face, despite obviously feeling very high and mighty in its delivery.
Considering the fact that Sacred 3 is a hack and slash RPG, you would expect that they would make the combat exciting with the ability to create fun and unique builds of each character that you play with. But nope, not really. At least to me, it felt like I was being guided down a specific growth path for my character. I couldn’t really experiment much and find what suited me for each character, instead, having to play by seemingly premade sets of skills that really began to feel repetitive.
The combat is fast paced, which at first is really nice. However, you quickly realise that the reason it is so quick is that it is just the same thing over and over again. The speed of the combat honestly appears to be developed that way to hide the tedious nature of the gameplay itself. “If they kill everyone quickly, they won’t realise they aren’t actually having fun.”
I wish I could say something positive about Sacred 3’s gameplay… I really do. However, the hack and slash, action RPG genre just has so many other games that offer infinitely better gameplay. In a genre as saturated as this, you need to do something that makes you stand out, but Sacred 3’s developers did nothing of the sort. Instead, it plays as if they just took a cookie cutter template for the genre as a base for the game, then they never really added to it. I can only describe it as a game that feels like the developers bought an Asset Pack from the Unity store and then put new graphical elements over it, without really making it different.
To be clear, they obviously didn’t do that. That’s just how the game feels when you play it.
Interestingly enough, if there was one aspect of Sacred 3 was done really well, it would be the graphics. The game looks fantastic on the PlayStation 3. For a top-down game, the world is detailed and feels lived in, showing a lot of care and attention to the design and style of the game. The characters also look really good, each with their own unique style.
Attack animations (for the small variation that there is) are smooth, each having a strange beauty to them. I really cannot fault the graphics of Sacred 3. However, that does mean I can fault the amount of effort that went into them. You see, graphics don’t make a good game. I think many people out there (you as well) know that. So when you make a game look as good as Sacred 3 does, but completely fail on all other parts of the game’s development, there is something very wrong!
The game truly does look outstanding, but that just shows that the focus during development was in completely the wrong place. I would have been far happier if the game had looked worse but the storyline or gameplay had actually been enjoyable. Without either of those two elements holding the game up, the graphics cannot stand on their own, no matter how good they are. Sure, Sacred 3 may not be as hollow as The Order: 1886, but it suffers from the same issue of too much focus on graphics.
And That’s All Folks
In the end, Sacred 3 is a very hollow, narcissistic game that cares far too much about how it looks. It has almost no depth in terms of gameplay or storyline that offers no ambition, instead, feeling tedious and repetitive. It has the base to be a very good little hack and slash action RPG, but a lack of focus on the core aspects of a game has led to a complete and utter downfall. The sheer vanity of the game means that it just doesn’t compare to other options within the genre.
I would like to say that you should play this if you don’t have anything else similar to play, but even then I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, just go and play Diablo or any one of the myriads of clones instead. I would leave this game well enough alone if I were you.
Have you played Sacred 3? What was your opinion of the game? Let me know in the comments below!