There’s always something pleasant about a game which, while not necessarily breaking new ground in its chosen genre, still manages to entertain in spades. Sacred 3 is one such title that falls into that category. A more than competent riff on the timeless Diablo formula, this third entry in the Sacred series will keep hack and slash fiends enraptured for a good while with solid gameplay and a bespoke sense of humour, but just don’t expect Deep Silver’s latest to have any grand designs on rebooting the genre.
The narrative backdrop to Sacred 3’s horde smashing gameplay revolves around an immensely powerful artefact called the Heart of Ancaria. As it turns out, a particularly nasty villain, the brilliantly named Zane Ashen, intends to obtain the magical trinket so that he can destroy the world and generally spoil everyone’s day in the process.
Sure enough, it isn’t the most compelling story ever told and the characters themselves are mostly forgettable, one-dimensional types but the yarn that Sacred 3 weaves is sufficient to ably support the simplistic brutality of the baddie smashing and loot grabbing gameplay that sits on top of it.
And really, Sacred 3’s premise is as simple as you’re likely to find. With your chosen hero in tow, the game adopts a slanted top-down perspective as you hack or blast away at incoming foes, loot chests, defeat huge bosses and smash up the scenery.
Speaking of foes, the enemies that the developer has crammed into the game are a varied if unattractive bunch. Looking like rejects from the latest Hobbit movie, the player can expect to tangle with all manner of grim-looking orcs, goblins, trolls, strange forest creatures and everything in between.
The variety of enemies that the player will encounter on their journey also happens to tie in quite nicely with the scenery too. Ranging from cities under siege, to enchanted forests, pirate infested beaches and dilapidated strongholds forged out of cracked stone and twisted iron, Sacred 3’s locales always manage to offer an aesthetically fresh backdrop for the player to do their killing and looting against.
Rather than acquiring new equipment from killing enemies and opening chests, Sacred 3 does things a little differently by only allowing players to buy and equip new gear at the end of each mission, rather than during it. In truth, this diminishes the allure of the looting aspect of Sacred 3 since all the player can collect are health and mana replenishment orbs, gold and nothing else; effectively robbing much of the need to smash every piece of the scenery as would normally be in the case in the recently released Diablo III.