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Hacking away, boys, hacking away
Sacred 3 might turn out to be a bit of a surprise if you're a fan of the original Sacred or its sequel, Sacred 2. This one takes a massive departure from the action-RPG formula laid down by its predecessors and instead takes a more simplistic, accessible spin, turning the franchise into more of a hack 'n' slash action experience. This might have something to do with the change in developers and while the more straightforward approach is disappointing, this remains an enjoyable, if shallow experience. The plot is fairly nonsensical stuff, in the way of most fantasy games, and finds a world riven by the efforts of a despotic emperor whose evil plans must be stopped by a band of adventurers. What follows is a fairly simple update to the classic formula laid down by Diablo (and even to a lesser degree, the superb Gauntlet, which really is an under-appreciated influence on the genre), being a hack 'n' slash brawler with a heavy focus on close combat. You have a few classes to choose from, some skills to make use of and there's a few different modes to try out, including co-op, but that's about it in terms of features really. Sacred 3 really is a peculiar beast. The shift towards a comedy adventure is bizarre and much of the humor falls flat, so this is a game to approach with caution. If you ignore this however, there is a simple but strangely enjoyable piece of action gaming, although it's not one that's going to last you forever. It's got some pleasing visuals but the change in emphasis is going to be big hurdle for some to get over, so it's one to think carefully about before trying.