We've been Sacred fans here at Games Xtreme ever since we first played it way back. We really enjoyed the Diablo-esque romp and the last 2 games occupied us for a while. The Sacred world is huge and engaging and we had no idea, until we bought the downloadable game from XBLA there was even a Sacred Citadel.
Welcome to the Golden Axe of 2013 people - and it is pretty solid too.
We love side-scrolling beat-em-up hack-n-slash brawlers to death; we've played all the old greats and all the Turtles games. One of our favourites is Turtles in Time. So with the side-scrolling fight genre getting a new lick of paint with the re-release of the D&D games, as well as other games on the way we were overjoyed to finally get Sacred Citadel and play it.
You have Warrior, Mage, Ranger and Shaman to play with and they all have strengths and weaknesses. You have a simple, but effective control system which doesn't get in the way of a good time with the game. You have quite a few levels which are designed to be replayed over and over again, with randomised loot and tons of XP and gold to collect as you do so. There's even a town where you can relax and do a bit of shopping, upgrading your weapons and armour by buying new and more powerful things.
In short it's a side scrolling RPG fighter and it's a good one. It's a lot of fun to play solo, but a lot harder than many of its genre peers. It can be played with up to 3 players in your party and loot plus experience points (XP) are split between the group, so no one feels left out and everyone gets an equal share. We really like this particular line of thought and wish more games with co-op would think along those lines.
There are various monsters you'll face on your epic quest, many of them are quite tough and the game will force you to learn and adapt on many of the battles. There are some truly tough bad guy bosses and the one forest boss is a real killer until you learn how the game works. Fortunately the checkpoints are solid enough and you will keep on earning XP as you try and fail. By pressing the status button you can bring up a level up screen even during the game, assigning points to key attributes to grant a better chance at survival.
There are mounts to ride, war machines to play with and more in Sacred Citadel and for the price it offers a great chunk of welcome entertainment.
If you like levelling up, grabbing new loot and coin - playing the old School Golden Axe and so on, you are probably going to find a lot to like about Sacred Citadel. There's even Sacred lore in here with the various bits of information scattered about the story.
All the classes play pretty well and even the Mage can become a powerhouse down the line. She starts off pretty weak, later on gaining some great moves and combos. These are unlocked as you level up, expanding your arsenal beyond the usual light/heavy attacks, knockdowns and certain spells. All the characters have a rage move which they can use to turn the tide of battle and snatch victory from the claws of defeat.
The graphics are superb and the frame-rate is solid. The cartoony-3d take on this fantasy brawler is great and the bold-beautiful art-style captures the genre perfectly. The level design is consistent and the monsters provide a solid challenge, especially some of their attacks. There's one kind of creature which utilises the Street Fighter Blanka cheese move though, a lot. Once you learn to time your blocks though, you'll stagger the buggers and be able to pay them back in kind.
The music is good and the sound design strong. The voice work isn't bad either, for a downloadable game too. With a slew of combos, new abilities, quality production values and priced at 1200 MSP the price point might be a little high for some, but you can always check out the demo. We found it was a great addition to our XBLA library and once of the more engaging purchases we've made since many of us got dragged into Terraria. (We're still digging ourselves out)...