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Genre: Adventure


PC Preview - 'Sacred'

by Sylvia Gallardo on March 8, 2004 @ 1:23 a.m. PST

Genre: RPG
Publisher: Encore
Developer: Ascaron
Release Date: March 23, 2004

Pre-order 'SACRED': PC

Ascaron's latest creation comes in the form of Sacred, which very may well be the next Diablo. I got a moment to check on the latest PC build and to be blunt, it's looking damn good. A PC game with the hack-n-slash satisfaction of Diablo with a more detailed RPG-ish inventory and gameplay style, what more could you ask for? Ok, enough babble lets progress.

The storyline is one of dark and mystery. Shaddar is an immortal dark magician who ages ago was defeated by the light and there for exiled to the desert. In cue with the storyline Shaddar plots for revenge against those that cast him out, so he begins to search for the "gate to the ream of the dead" which holds a very powerful Sakkara Demon who has plot twists would have it is a descendant of Worganars the vile Demon Lord. Yup, you guessed it. The story line is you're typical over used good vs. evil, light vs. dark scenario.

Your journey starts in the world known only as Ancaria, which is a mysterious world where many races compete to share its resources. Right then and there, when consulting the world map, you can already see that the game is pretty vast is size, so you are in for a long haul. There are elves, vampires, dragons, goblins and pretty much every other mythical creature you can imagine.

When the player starts the game he will be prompted to choose one out of 6 heroes, the heroes include a Gladiator, Dark Elf, Wood Elf, Battlemage, Seraphim and a Vampiress who is by far the coolest character in the game, biased opinion of course. However, being able to customize your chosen character will leave die-hard RPG fans ripping their hair out in frustration due their inability to customize anything than the name of the character, on the other hand, people who never really care for all the tweaking will be able to jump into the game with a pre-made, ready to go character.

The one thing that stands out as the coolest is that each hero has sort of their own unique story thus in the long run adding a ton of replayability to this hack-n-slash treat from Europe. Each hero also has unique tasks, quests and sub-quests to complete, which will make the game fun and interesting to sort of "re"-explore the world of Ancaria with all the available characters.

Each hero also has their own special brand of spells and special attacks which means that you may start over a few times trying to find the combo's that best suits your playing style. I won't go into extreme detail on each hero's combat system; you will just have to wait for the final review or experience first hand by yourself. I will say this, there are some amazing combos available in the game, and just to give one small example, our dear Vampiress can sort of "shift shapes", some only available during the night cycle, and at other times you will find it useful to call upon "the bats of hell". You'll figure it out once you get the chance to experiment.

Multiplayer via the internet will be available in the final poduct when it ships to stores, however the multiplayer aspect of the game is not in working order on this game build so I really have no more hands on information to share in that regard.

Sacred much like Neverwinter Nights also offers the player the options to combine and make customized weapons with different ingredients and substances. However it boggles my mind that the developers would to such details when they minimized character creation details. A missed opportunity I would say. While I mentioned earlier that it may appeal to some of the "quick action" type player, a mere possibility to customize your hero would have added a lot of depth and personality to the game. Hmph.

Graphics are well done, however nothing stands out as amazing. The good news is this genre doesn't rely on stellar graphics, it relies more on good gameplay so the average graphics don't mean a thing, really. Environmental effects and the level design are very detailed which adds to the beauty of the game world. The best part would be the nice transitions between the day/night cycle and the special effects when casting spells of all sorts. Character animations are fluid as they should be and character details are as nicely done as a hand painted miniature, staying pretty detailed even when zooming in closer to get a better view of the action.

The audio is average, a decent soundtrack and pleasing sound effects. However like the graphical package nothing seems to stand out, maybe this will change once the game goes gold. Worse case scenario you can crank up the latest punk tunes and engage in kick ass combos until the troops in Iraq have come home safely.

Over all Sacred looks to be an impressive addition to the hack-n-slash RPG phenomenon. With some graphical tweaks and audio upgrades this could very well be the next Diablo. I look forward to experiencing its multiplayer capabilities, I get sucked into this type of games big time.

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