Sacred and Sacred Underworld (AKA Sacred Gold)

Sacred is a nice Diablo-like action RPG from Ascaron that came out several years ago. You can choose from several different character classes and explore the huge world of Ancaria. The main storyline is pretty basic and can be ignored for a while if you just want to explore the world, fight different creatures, and gain cool items. There are over 200 side quests in dozens of different regions of the world. There are some annoying fed ex quests where you go to point a and get something and bring it back; sometimes these are items, but sometimes you have to find or free people. There are some cool quests where you can choose between following the original quest mission to kill or capture someone, or turn on the quest giver usually because they are actually evil.

Occasionally you get a companion to fight with you. A couple of these cannot be killed; when they run out of hit points they fall unconscious for a while and then get up again. There are many monsters and people to fight in the game from goblins and orcs to undead to huge dragons. The enemies also scale to your level so they are not always easy to kill when you get higher level; however at some point in the game you become quite powerful and although there are tough enemies to fight like dragons, other enemies will try to overwhelm you with numbers to wear you down. One cool feature for characters is creating combo special moves which a combo master NPC in the game can create for you and you can assign to a hotkey. A smith can improve armor and weapons if they have 1 – 3 open expansion areas; you can also find weapon and armor collections to use together for extra bonuses. Your character earns levels throughout the game and earns skills points and an attributes point at each level. Items can also give bonuses.

I had a lot of fun with the original game, but the expansion can be skipped. I was happy I had the expansion only because it added two extra classes, one of which is the dwarf. I played the dwarf character through the game and loved that he had guns and explosives to use on enemies. Later in the game the flamethrower was useful in eliminating large groups of enemies. However, the expansion play was a complete waste. There are very few side quests in the expansion (side quests were part of what made the original game fun), and the game play is very linear. Unlike the original game, exploring is pretty much unavailable. I tried exploring a few times only to have to go through the same areas again because of the main storyline. Also, portals, which were good ways to travel quickly around the world in Sacred, are useless in the expansion except in one case where I used one to go to the next area in the story. Thus, I was not surprised after playing the expansion why I couldn’t find any hint files; you simply don’t need hints in the expansion because it is completely linear. And if you thought Sacred’s story was bad, try the expansion’s.

Since Sacred Gold is available now on GOG for $9.99 you will end up with the main game and the expansion for a good price. I think Sacred was a fun game and is worth playing if you like action RPGs like Diablo.

One quick piece of trivia on Sacred: the European version contains blood, but the blood was removed in the U.S. version to get a T rating. I played through the International English version so I saw the blood; it could be amusing and cool when enemy limbs were removed, but you probably won’t have a worse experience without the blood.

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