Well, it's another beatemup...Or is it a hack & slash?
I have this constant internal debate over whether certain games can be considered beatemups or hack&slashes. Both genres use the "belt-scroller" style of level design, both have the standard "move forward, kill enemies, repeat", but there are numerous subtle yet key differences that set them apart. Usually the simple answer is that everyone has weapons in hack & slashers (Konami's TMNT arcade games, Castle Crashers, etc), but uh...hmm. Capcom's Arcade D&D games feature characters with weapons, and I consider that a beatemup. On the other hand, t...
Wait...What? Uh...let's just get on with the review.
Sacred Citadel is a videogame. You kill things, acquire stuff, and complete challenges. I don't recommend this game, but it isn't bad. Out of 10 I'd give it a 4.1. By IGN's standards that might mean SC is a terrible, horrible, no good pile of etc, but eh I think it's ok. The plot is traditional fantasy fare. Big Momma is causing trouble, some mysterious person is seeking artifacts, and there's a bunch of monsters that need a good killin'. I imagine fans of the Sacred series will have a better understanding of what's going on. I played through Sacred 2 on the Xbox 360, but I lost track of the story in the middle of thousands of quests, billions of items, and hundreds of lands/dungeons/universes.
There are four classes to choose from (Warrior, Ranger, Shaman, Mage).
After deciding on your class (which IMO doesn't make a huge difference) you'll set out on a journey through 4 acts with 5 stages apiece. The level-designs are very traditional, but this game mixes it up a bit with mounts, falling objects, and even a little platforming.
The monsters typically consist of um...Grimmocs? Bedellers? Digestya? Covinters? I think I'm just making words up. There are "orcs" with spears, "mutant tribals" with swords, "robots" with shield-thingies, and you get the idea I hope. Whatever they're actually called is irrelevant, because they're mostly fodder for you to make disgusting paste out of. I play a lot of arcade beatemups (& hack & slashers). These tend to be really difficult. The odds aren't fair in the slightest, you get 2 or 3 lives, and enemies can do a lot of damage. Sacred Citadel is pretty much the exact opposite.
This isn't an easy game just because it has RPG elements. One of the standard tactics in a belt-scroller is "herding". You move around to manipulate the enemies, so that they crowd up together. When enemies separate, they tend to surround you, mess up your attacks, and generally ruin your day. It's like some awkward dance with occasional punching. It definitely pays off if you know what you're doing. With SC...all you have to do to herd enemies is X X X Y. This sends them flying to the corner of the screen. Aftwards you can just press X X X and X X X and X X X and you get where I'm going with this? Decisions in this game tend to consist of:
"Do I press X X X down Y and stun them?"
"Do I press X X up Y and juggle them?"
"Do I just press whatever because it doesn't really matter?"
It's nice having RPG elements, it's nice having many attack options, but there's no incentive to doing well because there's no challenge. Even if you choose a supposedly squishy class like the Shaman, you can still take lots of damage, healing items are prevalant, and you can even keep a few healing potions for emergencies. It's not uncommon to play through this game for the first time, and never die. The only aspect where you are liable to fail involves the stage rankings, book-keeper challenges, and certain "don't get hit by XXXX" achievements. All this other stuff really amounts to is a grind, since it requires playing through every stage a handful of times.
Still, while it eventually becomes a boredom-inducing ordeal, Sacred Citadel can be a satisfying in terms of leveling-up, acquiring loot, and gutting monsters by the dozen. If you expect anything more; like a challenge, or some truly compelling game-design, you're bound to be disappointed.