“ Manufacturer: Encore Software / Genre: Role-Playing / ESRB Rating: T - (Teen) / ESRB Descriptor: Mild Language / ESRB Descriptor: Fantasy Violence / ESRB Descriptor: Realistic Blood / Platform: Windows / Online: Online Gaming Support / Control Elements: Mouse / Control Elements: Keyboard / Distribution Media: CD-ROM / Release Date: August, 2005 „
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Plot: Once upon a time in the land of Ancaria a Dark Elf named Shaddar ruled. He was a bad ruler and would do anything to stay in power but eventually the forces of good conquered him and banished him to a tower within the harshest desert in the land.
Centuries went by and most believed Shaddar to of died while in exile. However Shaddar was simply biding his time hoping to summon a Sakkara Demon to help restore him to the throne. While summoning, as can be expected, a minor mistake was made and the demon was unleashed upon the world.
Not only has the Sakkara demon been unleashed but bandits, orcs, goblins, etc now roam the land more vigorously. This is where you come in as the King has entrusted his son to deal with the problem and so his son has sent out a message for all capable people to help.
Now that all sounds like a great plot but yet once you start playing, it really is quite forgettable. There's so many side missions in between main ones that I found it hard to remember the purpose of everything. Apparently there are 30 main quests and 200 side quests to give you some idea. I think you could say that for once there was too much filler within the game.
The side missions tend to be fairly simple with one varied goal which you do then return for your reward. They can't really be avoided as a lot of levelling is needed to be done between the main missions so it's not a simple run through with the game. You can keep killing to level but you would be doing so for a long time compared to using the side quests.
If you do happen to forget what you're required to do, you can read the log book that will fill you in but I can't help but feel this shouldn't be required of a game.
When you start on the expansion pack, there are two new chapters to play through.
Picking up exactly where Sacred left off, you find Prince Valors widow Vilya kidnapped my a monstrous demon and it's your job to save her even if it means facing the depths of the underworld.
Graphics: The style of graphics while some may think dated, I feel have aged really well. True some actions look a little clunky but overall it's a very beautiful game in my eyes.
Sound: Not much to brag about here but different enemies will make different noises when fighting and while playing, you character will make different comments as they go along.
Game play: Sacred is an action orientated role-playing game which in this case is a game that heavily relies on the mouse for just about everything while including levelling, gear equipping, and talent tree sorting.
You have the option to choose between 6 different characters. There's the barbarian who's a close combat fighter, the wood elves who favour the bow, the dark elves who are more of an assassin type, the battle mages who are skilled both with the blade and elemental magic, seraphims who are light wielders and the opposite being the vampires who are dark wielders that can change the form due to the time of day.
As far as Underworld goes, you have the option of either playing through the game with two new characters which are the Dwarf and Daemon. The dwarf is all about heavy hitting weaponry with you being able to access the likes of grenades, explosives and cannons. Where as the Daemon has the ability to change appearances to affect the outcome of a battle. She has the looked of a demon but actually fights for the forces of good.
However, if you quite liked your character you levelled in Sacred, there's an option to import them across to Underworld too.
Although the areas are more varied, with Underworld you tend to start at one end and work your way to the other unlike the main game where you would wander around each area doing quests here and there. You journey through anything from a desert to a jungle and even a volcano but due to the lack of wandering with the quests, everything just seems to pass you by.
Underworld is quite a bit harder then Sacred when it comes to mobs (enemies). I was fairly decent geared and at times I struggled. More often then not, you either got one mob that hit you unfairly hard knocking huge chunks of health from you or you were swarmed by loads of easier mobs making it hard to take them all down before they do so to you. It's a matter of pacing yourself which wasn't needed before. I personally preferred the frantic killing of Sacred.
Controls: As mentioned before, Sacred relies very heavily on the mouse, Left click and hold to attack and right click to use your special moves. Easy to learn but you need to learn when to use certain special attacks on different enemies.
Lifespan: Sacred took me just under 30 missions which includes all the main missions and all the side missions I could possibly find. Seeing there are 200 I'm guessing I didn't get every single one as they are pointed out very well but I'm guessing I got pretty close to the number.
There's plenty of replayability too. There are the other 5 characters to play through with although other then the beginning area starter quests for each character, they will play out the same. But there's also the option off different difficulty levels and the option to take yourself online.
Underworld took me just under 15 hours which considering the main game was 30 hours long is a pretty good length for an expansion pack.
Overall: Sacred has a couple of annoying bugs that weren't ironed out before release but this still doesn't take away the fact it's a pretty solid game. It's basically a Diablo rip off. Some things it does better but others worse but if you enjoyed Diablo then you're going to enjoy this. It's like Diablo with horses and more quests.
I should have enjoyed playing through Underworld as much as I did Sacred but for me I found it lacking. Although it's the exact same, I think that's where they went wrong. Rather then feeling like a new experience, it felt like I was playing through the main game all over again. So if you're looking for that little bit extra. I wouldn't bother with this.
I rate Sacred 5/5 and Underworld 3/5.
This is a hack and slash rpg, what many would call a Diablo clone. You get a selection of 7 races - 5 from the original game, 2 added with the expansion Sacred Underworld(Gold contains both). These range from straightforward characters like Gladiator or Dwarf, both of whom are melee orientated, through ranged characters like Wood Elf, to the more unusual choices of Seraphim(angel), Vampiress and Daemon(not a typo of Demon, at least not on my part). There are some interesting differences to the norm here, with a battle mage being one of the most interesting - a casting character who can also just about survive in combat.
Once you've picked your starting character its time to go out and hit things with sticks. Or shoot things with bows. Or burn/freeze/fry/blow things with spells.
Each time you level up you get points to invest in your passive masteries, and at set levels you can choose a new passive mastery. For example at level 6 a Seraphim might want to invest in Heavenly Magic to reduce skill recharge time. Each class gets access to different passives at a given level and of course there are some that are exclusive to a single class.
So the leveling system works well - what about the attack skills?
All characters have 14 different attack skills to choose from, and its here that one of the main differences from Diablo becomes apparent. You gain and improve these skills by investing skill runes in them. The runes drop in game at random times and an exchange system exists so you can change unwanted runes for your favourite skill. In most games using a skill costs mana or the equivalent, here the skill is on a timer - the higher the skill level (ie the number of runes you've put in it) the longer it takes to recharge. This skill system allows a lot of flexibility in character design. You can invest few runes to make a character with a fast but relatively weak skill, or put more in to make a very powerful skill which take 2 minutes to recharge. Many of the skills are shared by the various classes (all have a basic attack skill and a skill that attacks everything in a 120 degree arc). When we get beyond these the skills are more varied and it's possible to build successful characters based around almost any skill.
The story is quest driven, and divided into chapters. As you progress through the quests you are led through the map to harder areas. There are also a huge number of side quests which can be done at any time. These tend to be either 'escort person from x to y', 'kill the insert monster name]', or 'collect [amount] of [thingy]'.
Replay value: once you finish the game you can continue at the next difficulty level (of which there are 5) with the same character, but the map layout and monster locations are the same each time. Personally I enjoyed the harder levels - the map is so large that the fact its the same each time has no real impact beyond letting me go straight to the quest goal if I wanted. And you can skip the cut scenes if you wish to get into the fast on your 2nd play.
Another bonus to replay value - and a big improvement on the Diablo system - is that Sacred has the standard set and unique items but - and here's the twist - the drop rate is such that you might actually complete a set!!! Seriously - I've completed every set for all my characters.
Also there are DRAGONS. I can think of only one thing more fun than taking your nice shiny character and getting it destroyed by a giant flying lizard a few time. And that one thing is taking your not quite so shiny character and finally beating the expletive out of every single dragon on the map (there are at least 7 of them). Some of them you have to beat to complete the story quests, some of them you travel near during the main story, some of them are very well hidden indeed.
Graphically its pretty good - 3rd person with a choice of 3 zoom levels (best played at max distance), the animation and character models are good. Spell effects are fun and the various monsters are very varied. [note to self: stop saying varied/various/variety.]
The game supports a good multiplayer mode, either playing through the story co-operatively, killing each other or teaming up to kill monsters. At the time of writing the servers are mostly empty, but find a friend or 2 who plays and you're off.
I've played a lot of Diablo clones and in my opinion this is the best of them. So much so that I think it deserves some recognition in its own right. Sure it's a hack and slash rpg with the emphasis on the slashing rather than the roleplay, but its also different enough and good enough to be stand on its own.