Sacred Citadel Review: Hack and Slash Your Way to Victory
Sacred Citadel is a game that brings back memories of hours spent playing Golden Axe, Rastan, the Dungeons and Dragons arcade game or any number of other side-scrolling adventure games. You have a choice between four heroes: Warrior, Ranger, Wizard and Shaman. All are badass and can hold their own against the hordes of monsters that seek to ravage towns or destroy the countryside. Each character fights with two weapon and has an extra power that they can occasionally use. Upgrades for weapons and armor can be found as rewards for slaying monsters.
The monsters they fight are varied and look menacing, though they could be a little smarter in the combat department. Sometimes I could stand and whack the monsters without them striking back at me. Good for me, but bad for long-term enjoyment. I want monsters that are out to destroy me! And most of them truly are. In fact, sometimes there are too many monsters on the screen for one adventurer to handle. That’s where the ability to bring in friends becomes useful. You can bring in two friends to battle the monsters with you, though once you do single player may seem a little bit boring compared to co-op. A downside to co-op is that you can only play three characters instead of the four presented. While that’s sort of annoying, with the number of monsters on the screen plus three characters, the world can look pretty chaotic. Only one of each is allowed, but that’s in character with the games that Sacred Citadel is emulating.
The levels look good for the most part, though there were times where platforms I was supposed to jump to weren’t clearly defined from the background enough for me to see them at first. There are the dangers of monsters, but on some levels there are environmental hazards as well, like fire, or even mine carts that barrel along the tracks, knocking over both you and your opponents. This is a part where I’m glad the AI isn’t so smart. I know not to stand in the fire, but if you knock monsters into it, some of them don’t come out right away and end up taking a good amount of damage. They don’t jump the mine carts either, so as long as you pay attention to which track the car is moving on, you can knock over some of your opponents.
I had a small issue with the controls because I dislike WASD movement and favor the arrow keys, which in Sacred Citadel are bound for the attacks of the adventurers. I changed them without realizing this and caused myself a little trouble when it came to picking things up. You have to manually change the keys back for some reason instead of having a ‘return to default’ button. I started to get used to using WASD after a while, but it still felt foreign sometimes. I get why the keys are like that, because the arrow keys end up being used for combos.
I like that in Sacred Citadel all characters can use the same weapons, which means while my mage may have a fireball as an extra attack, she can also hack and slash the monsters with her swords too. She may not hit as hard as the warrior, but I’m not relegated to a staff or a dagger like in some games. Where the characters are all unique is the secondary and special attacks, which is good because while I like being able to use all the same weapons it would be less fun if they used all the same things.