When playing games where you’re facing hordes of enemies on the screen, there is something appealing and addictive about smashing buttons to destroy any foes in your way.  In Sacred 3, the latest entry in the Sacred series from deep silver, the game play has moved from a free roaming Diablo-styled RPG game to a linear button bashing game with a fixed position camera focusing on killing hordes of enemies and having fun with friends.

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Sacred 3 seems to have taken the same approach as Diablo 3 in terms of game play in that it allows you to have a fixed set of skills to use (2 in this case), money dropping on the floor which auto picks up when walking over and the maps.  Over time, the game may get repetitive and boring for gamers as it happened for me for Diablo 3.

Sacred 3 allows you to choose 4 characters to play Aldo:

* Claire, a paladin with glowing wings who wields a sword to slash her enemies down.  She also has the power to cast lightning based magic such as Chain Lightning and Thunder balls

* Alithea, a spear fighter who is agile and uses Earth spells

* Marak, a muscular warrior who wields a giant hammer to smash his enemies down and specialize in Fire magic

* Vajra, a bow user who shoots arrows and specialize in ice magic.

Each four of the characters have their own story line which ties to the main antagonist “Zane” whom you have to defeat.  Zane (a evil warloard)  main objective is to conquer the land of Ancaria with his giant army and traps.  The mobs in the game have their own special features (Spinning sword orcs, shield users etc) which requires certain special moves to disable them in order to kill them.

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The main game consists of missions to guide the player to the end of the story, which can also be played with friends via local co-op or online.  Players do not need to worry about any restrictions about 1 class per team as you can use your own hero.  Due to the missions being all unlocked at the beginning, players can venture to any mission however be warned that jumping to a late game mission while being a low level hero will result to death in seconds.

Throughout the game, there are loot which helps you build your hero to become stronger.  The loot usually are unique weapons after defeating a boss, money and weapon spirits.  Weapons spirits have their negative and positive effects; while they aid you through your journey, they can cause harm each time they are used (HP costs).  Money is also a vital component in the game as it is the key resource of boosting your weapon stats.  Think of it as crafting material but using cash only.

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During my playthrough of Sacred 3, there were several good and bad points which stood out to me and affected the overall experience of the game.  The single player was very enjoyable at the first 3 missions where you learn the mechanics of the game and the story behind the scene.  I started my first playthrough using Claire the paladin due to my experience with Diablo 2.  As I reach the new enemies which involved the special moves (bash etc), it killed the game for me.  The difficulty spike ruined fun the game for me as it involved avoiding monsters which need special moves in order to kill.

After awhile I decided I wanted to try out the online multiplayer.  Sadly while playing the multiplayer, I had some negative outcomes.  First of all, it seems the online community was quite small.  This wasn’t a big issue for me as I believe most people wanted to try out the single story mode first I assume.

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The main issue was joining AFK games.  These games were the most frustrating as you cannot progress with 1 person AFK in the game, this means that if for some reason one person decides to AFK.  You would have 2 choice; wait for him to come back or quit the mission and replay again.  However once I found decent games to join, the multiplayer was enjoyable to play.  Also if one member in the game decides to watch the cutscene, there is no indicator if they are watching it or AFK.

Review Summary

Overall, the game seems to succeed in some areas and fail in others. The beginning of the game was very enjoyable and i like the character classes which were introduced. However the difficulty spikes were not that pleasant for me. The online mechanics also could have been implemented better to provide a more effective online co-op experience. Players of Sacred 2 may be a bit disappointed in the new installment due to how the game has changed, however people who want to play a hack and slash game may enjoy this.