Along with Dead Island: Riptide, Deep Silver’s other big budget multi-format multiplayer action videogame was available behind closed doors at gamescom earlier this year. However, while Dead Island is a franchise that specialises in fast-paced action-orientated gameplay, Sacred takes a more cerebral approach; a design decision that Sacred 3 isn’t about to change.
As is becoming the common trend, Sacred 3 is designed as a drop-in/drop-out co-operative experience for up to four players. Players will be able to create a character either off- or online and use that same character in any gameplay mode they choose to experience, creating a seamless transition wherein your character is the star, not the prescribed storyline. And as for the characters themselves, both the Safiri Berserker and Ancarian classes were shown in action. The brutal Safiri makes himself useful as a tank (just as in Sacred Citadel) whereas the wise and capable Ancarian acts as a support class, despite not having any such speciality.
All classes benefit from the ‘Combat Arts’ mechanic, which is currently being touted as the unique selling point (USP) for Sacred 3. Following the familiar isometric dungeon crawler pattern, Sacred 3 stands out from the crowd by offering special abilities to its classes that double up as both combat abilities and keys to solving puzzles. For example, it’s possible to draw a co-operative manoeuvre from the Ancarian’s known down attack and the Safiri’s powerful finishing blow, while with the same manoeuvre the Ancarian can activate a switch which allows access to a previously unavailable path along the map.
The area of the videogame showcased to Electronic Theatre made particular use of one specific newly revealed path, highlighting the further puzzles that lie ahead and the potential new outcomes of choosing to take such a route. Of course, knowing that a player has the correct Combat Art equipped results in greater demand of it’s use, and not just in terms of the answer to a number of riddles; these hidden areas are designed to be considerably more demanding than the straightforward routes, but in that same respect they also offer significant rewards to challengers experienced enough to successfully make it through the densely populated roads.
The variety of environments seen during Electronic Theatre’s presentation was impressive, ranging from sun soaked deserts to dank dungeons and lush green jungle terrain, painting a very pretty picture for the potential adventure lying ahead. However, there were a number of graphical issues that occurred even during this short preview. With Sacred 3 now launching in 2013 the team have plenty of time to fix these issues and further push that Combat Arts structure, and hopes are high that they do, as in Sacred 3 console gamers may finally find an action RPG that rivals some of the best currently available on the genre leading format: PC.