While “Sacred 3” doesn’t present any real challenge until its later levels, it does offer a fun cooperative hack-and-slash adventure that manages to maintain gamers’ enthusiasm through its diverse — unfortunately linear — levels packed with seemingly endless enemies just waiting to get their asses kicked.
“Sacred 3’s” easily forgettable story stars four not-too-interesting main characters, each essentially being a different class: Marak the Safiri Warrior, Vajra the Khukuri Archer, Claire the Seraphim Paladin and Alethea the Ancarian Lancer. There are no alternate storylines based on the player’s choice of class, and since the game is mostly a single button mash affair, there isn’t much variety to distinguish the characters apart from each other, chipping away from its replayability.
Players can tackle each level with up to three others (with two-player local co-op). There’s not necessarily a need for co-op since the challenge is never really to the point where a buddy is required, but the game is way more fun with other players. In fact, you may lose interest pretty quickly unless you have at least one friend with you.
The meatier chunks of story unravel in between levels; basically, our heroes are protecting the world against the Ashen Empire, ruled by Zane Ashen, who looks to obtain the Heart of Ancaria which is said to control the fate of the world. The story isn’t bad, just not very interesting, and you’ll probably spend most of your time during cutscenes lustfully eyeing the skip button in the bottom left corner of the screen.
Once you’re in a level with a few other players, though, “Sacred 3” serves as a great real world distraction, offering gamers the opportunity to vanquish hundreds of enemies without worrying too much about difficulty.
However, there is a decent level and customization system in place to spice gameplay up a bit for those who want to get a little fancy. Several attacks and abilities can be unlocked as you level up. You’re limited to two special attacks so unlocking more stuff means you’ll need to swap them out and experiment with each one to discover which suits your preference. These abilities can also be leveled up by spending gold found throughout levels, encouraging players to replay certain areas to gain a healthy gold flow.
“Sacred 3” features a diverse assortment of maps that are pretty enough to look at, though they don’t offer much of a different experience from the last, which is to get from point A to point B while taking out hordes of enemies with few checkpoints in between. At the end of each of the main levels lies a boss battle that normally just requires abusing the extremely helpful dodge roll. Gameplay may not change much, but traversing through the levels manages to stay fresh thanks to the change in scenery.
There are few reasons to play “Sacred 3.” It’s an experience that’s likely to fade from memory only minutes after playing; however, as long as you’re not a loner, it’s one you certainly won’t regret. Odds are one playthrough will be enough, but you’ll likely replay a few areas before permanently putting the game to rest.