Sacred

aka: Armalion, Das Schwarze Auge: Armalion - Realms of Arcania, L.O.R.D.: Lands of Raising Demons, Sacred Plus, Sacred: La Leggenda dell'Arma Sacra, Sacred: La Leyenda del Arma Sagrada, Sacred: Neue Auflage
Moby ID: 12394
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Description official descriptions

Sacred is an action role-playing game set in the fantasy world of Ancaria. You can choose from six different characters - Dark Elf, Battle Mage, Gladiator, Forest Elf (a female archer), Vampire Lady and Seraphim (a descendant of arch angels). Your mission is to save Ancaria from evil which comes in form of Shaddar, a Necromancer who spent his days creating monsters to roam the plane.

Each character starts out in a different location, but all of them are quite near to each other. Besides the main quests, which are divided into four so-called "acts", you'll get to solve more than 500 different subquests, of which some are randomly assigned. While the main quest doesn't get you anything but to continue in the storyline, the subquests award you experience, gold and sometimes items.

The character system is different from other games of this type, since your character can not "learn" the spells or skills he (or you) wants to use, but needs to find "runes". These runes can be read, which gives the character +1 to a certain skill. Besides this, with each level up, you can assign stat points - strength, dexterity, mental regeneration for spells, physical regeneration for life replenish and so on. The character level is not limited, it's possible to gain levels way over 100 but this of course takes time. Also, the skills are not limited; if you want, you can read 200 runes with one skill and thus have level 200 on one skill, but this has a severe disadvantage: the skills get more powerful, but they take more time to regenerate at higher levels (which can lead to extremely powerful attacks which can be performed once in four minutes, rendering them unusable).

There are large towns and small villages in the game, all with different inhabitants, different vendors and, naturally, many quests to solve. Travelling through the world can take hours, that's why the game offers horses to ride on, which make the player character move much faster, but can be killed by monsters as well.

The game features single player and network, open and closed internet play on four difficulty levels with up to 16 players at once. Player-killing is not possible in normal games, but it's possible to open special Player-vs-Player games where no quests are active, but players may be killed. Hardcore play is also possible - which means that once you're dead, the character stays dead forever (normally, you just respawn in town, the character loses neither experience nor gold).

Sacred Plus

Releases labeled as Sacred Plus automatically include the free patch which includes an improved multiplayer experience, smoother interface, some balancing of items and quests; as well as two new regions, many new quests, five new opponents, and lots of new items, weapons and armour.

Spellings

  • Князь Тьмы - Russian spelling
  • 圣域 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

185 People (164 developers, 21 thanks) · View all

Producer
Executive Producer
Project Lead
Lead Game Designer, Level Design, Concept, Voice Directing
Lead Game Designer, Cinematic and Story Design, Atmospheric Supervision, Combat Directing, Concept Sketches, Conceptual World Design, Additional Level Design, Additional Sound Design
Lead QA, Balancing Lead, Game Design, Item Design
Lead QA, Additional Storytelling
Level Designer, Game Design, Additional Sound Effects, Additional Storytelling, QA Assistance
Level Designer, Additional Scripting, Environmental Storytelling
Additional Item Balancing
Lead Programmer, Software Engineering, Engine Programming, Tool Programming, Interface Programming
Programmer, Engine Programming, Special Effects Development, Editor Engineering, Sound Programming, Tactical Development, Converter
Programmer, Multiplayer Programming, Game Server Engineering, Unicode Programming, Multiplayer Design
Programmer, Quest Scripting, Build Coordination
Quest Scripter, Additional Storytelling
Quest Scripter
Programmer, Tool Programming, Additional Programming, Unicode Font System & Rendering
Art Director, 2D Graphics and Texture, Design, Concept Sketches, Artworks
Character Artist, Character Modelling and Animation, Special Effects Design
2D Artist, Combat Directing, Additional Storytelling
3D Artist, Armor and Weapon Modelling, Animations
Converter, Modelling and Animations, Database Supervisor
Graphics Artist, Conceptual World Design, World Style
Character Texture Artist, Side Character Concept
Graphics Artist, Armor and Weapon Modelling, Artworks, Additional Item Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 42 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 66 ratings with 4 reviews)

Same as Sacred, but with a few additions

The Good
Sacred Plus adds several nice additions to Sacred, which was already pretty good. For instance, it adds 'survival rating' to the character information screen, which basically shows you how long your character has survived (dying resets it back to zero). Supposedly, a high survival rating is somehow factored into the game's calculation for your chance of finding rare items. Items are also redone, so that their properties are now color-coded, making it easier on the eyes when you're studying an item's attributes.

The Bad
Bugs...it's always bugs. For one thing, the path-finding can still be terribly bad at times. Case in point: in a dungeon, my character was able to walk around two tightly placed barrels, going in one direction. However, I wasn't able to retrace my footsteps in the other direction, so I was stuck, and had to reload. More bugs include quest givers that will sometimes stop speaking, so that you cannot complete your quest, and enemies that are sometimes spawned in the walls (which can be good, since they're totally inaccessible, and can't hurt you).

The Bottom Line
A hybrid action/RPG hack-n-slash game that is similar to Diablo, but with much better graphics (in my opinion at least.) There are several nice touches, such as the random bits of humor, or the occasional Easter egg. And the fact that you can buy/sell/use horses makes it very nice. Replayability is average however, since the quests and the map is not random. You can only beat this game so many times before it starts getting tedious, regardless of which of the 6 characters you choose to play as.

Windows · by willyum (1020) · 2006

Many good ideas, but technically a disgrace to game programming

The Good
The environment graphics are really good, very detailed and the world seems to be really huge compared to games like Diablo II, for example. I say "it seems" - read about that later. The storyline is nice, not too convincing but with a nice twist at the end and many really funny dialogues (yes, Ascaron knows how to make one laugh - unfortunately, this isn't always a good thing). Many really good ideas are built into the game, like horse riding and the countless subquests with sometimes hilarious results - like Glubba, the stupid Ogre who has taken over the main villain's tower since he found it empty. He simply renamed it from Shaddar-Nur to Glubba-Nur and claimed himself "ruler of Glubba-Nur" - and sounds like a complete retard while introducing those facts to the hero ;) Extremely funny tombstone inscriptions make every graveyard visit worth the time. The german voiceovers are very good for most of the characters, since Ascaron didn't save on the voice actors: Manfred Lehmann speaks the Gladiator, and since Lehmann also speaks Bruce Willis in Die Hard and all his other movies, the Gladiator is actually like John McClane, he even taunts monsters with his trademark "yippie-ka-yay pigface" line. The voice talent for the Dark Elf character is the german voice of Nicholas Cage - sounds very good and rough - and the Seraphim is spoken by the voice of Dana Scully from X-Files, I think.

Well, but that's it. Yes, really. That's all I liked. No kidding.

The Bad
Omg, here we go.

I expected a Diablo II style game, or better to say, Diablo II brought to absolute perfection. Hell, it's 5 years since D2 came out, someone could do it even better, I'm sure. From the box text, from the demo, from the previews - all sounded like it could be heaven for D2 addicts. I also expected the game to be full of bugs, like all Ascaron games were and will be.

On the first part, I was wrong. Yes, it has some D2 aspects to it, like the randomly dropped items, set items, unique items blah blah. But that's about all. Sluggish controls, sometimes not even responding to massive mouse button bashing, slow pace with some characters, extremely bad skill balancing (the dark elf has a skill which freezes ALL enemies in a certain range - even huge dragons - and they won't attack until the cloud has lifted), really lame item generation with stuff like unique items without any attributes, set items which drop 7 times in 10 minutes, set items which don't even have the set name (so you can't really see it's a set item, only if you equip it). The 500+ quests are basically the same - get this, get that, rescue that person, kill this person. Wow.

On the second part, I was damn right. The game has definitely more bugs than features. Not all of them are visible in single player, but the problems range from complete unplayability (game doesn't start thanks to the crazy copy protection, "old drivers" or some other hardware "problem") over skills which don't give you experience when using them, non working random quests pointing to someplace where the quest target is nowhere to be found, disappering items, items changing their type, name, attributes every time you drop them and pick them up again to really huge bugs like non working main quests (you don't get to know where to go next since the quest triggers don't work all the time...), non-working skills, bad item generation resulting in items you should be able to wear, but can't, and last but not least the absolutely hilarious multi player, on which I need to explain more so you get what I mean.

Since Diablo II, players are used to the Battle.net online gaming service. It's free, it's easy to use, everyone can play with others or alone in their own games - it's a bit laggy at times, but otherwise no problem.

Ascaron seemed to want to create something similar, which would be the first company after Blizzard who tries this. Unfortunately, they failed miserably: they didn't make it so you can create own games in closed network! They open the games theirselves, but of course, for currently 15.000+ players, about 1200 slots are not exactly enough. So while 1.200 players are playing, the rest is waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Since the game servers aren't that stable, they tend to crash, making even less slots available. Sounds good? No. And that's only now - the international release will follow end of March 2004, so even more players will be waiting. Also, they messed up the interface. When you connect to a server, there is no cancel button and no timeout either, so it'll sit there four HOURS trying to connect to a crashed server.

Then, there are other bugs regarding multiplayer. Lost equipment when joining a game (all is gone or replaced by stuff like horses, goblin figures, healing pots; the latter resulting in your char walking around looking like a healing pot), lost characters because the game server didn't save correctly, dark elf characters looking like wizards or gladiators while still having dark elf skills... if you can read german and read the forums with the bug reports: it's a complete mess!

Ascaron issued a patch on the release day, but it didn't fix much. Multiplayer was enabled by it (the retail copy didn't even include it, regardless what it said on the box), but the game still doesn't run well. Needless to say that LAN multiplayer doesn't work properly either - desynched games, lost quest NPCs and extreme lags are just three problems.

The Bottom Line
All in all: don't buy it NOW. Maybe Ascaron can fix the bugs and build a proper multiplayer network, but at the time of writing, there is not much hope. I completed the game once, and to me, it has no replaying value. Other than D2, you cannot run bosses or something like that, also the items are boring as hell (no Windforce here, sorry). It gets old soon, and that's the main problem.

Windows · by phlux (4295) · 2004

Refreshing change to the Diablo-style games

The Good
The game really is very interesting to play through. The characters you can play are unique and have some really nice skills and abilities they are able to use. The game really is a lot like Diablo combined with a Baldurs Gate world. Rather than the relatively small worlds of Diablo 2 (and smaller in Diablo), the world here is much larger and more interesting to see.

The characters you communicate with are varied and the ones with voiceovers have voices that aren't too similar. The wide range of quests in this game allow you to get experience as you go and do things other than just bash your way through the game from start to finish. If you like doing that, you still can... but the quests are there for those who want a little more out of a game. The quests also tend to be in the general direction you are headed. You can get 2-3 quests going that all are in the same area of the map. Then just go complete them and return (if necessary) for your reward. That makes it much nicer to complete side quests than most other games where you are running all over trying to complete the quests. You will still do that here if you don't take more than one quest at a time, but that is your own fault.

Many of the creatures you fight are really interesting. From the undead which will stand back up to fight again until you bash them enough to keep them down, to the goblin shaman who will keep summoning more goblins to attack you (this gets troublesome if you have 3+ shaman near you), you will find dangers wherever you look.

And unlike Diablo and similar games, running around the map is a BAD idea. If you run past an enemy, that enemy is likely to chase you forever. So you might have 30+ enemies around you at once by the time you stop running. Depending on the enemies, this can be a real problem. It does make for a more interesting game... no longer can you just decide you're doing badly and run away to recover.

You are also not able to hide behind things to avoid being hit while you take out everyone around you. About the only way that is possible is if you're on one side of a river and the enemies are on the other and you have a range attack and they don't. Other than that, you have to fight.

Transportation in the game is also a nice addition. Riding around on a horse saves you considerable time and gives you bonuses as well.

As for skills, you have a much greater control over those than in the Diablo games. You can add a new skill of your choice, or put points into any skill(s) that you have. You can get useful skills like disarm and parry as well as ones like vampirism (for the vampiress).

The ability to upgrade/downgrade your equipment is also a definite plus. You can add bonuses to your weapons and armor and then when you're ready to upgrade to something new, just remove the upgrades and have them available for later.

Armor is also a nice change. Rather than only having a few types of armor, there are many different pieces of armor to use from belts and boots to gloves and shoulder guards. You also can have up to 4 rings and an amulet.

Also, portals are very interesting to view. You actually see the land where you are going through the portal rather than just a swirling mist. Even if it's a default view and not accurate, it's still nicer than the standard portals seen everywhere else.

The Bad
Although the graphics were nice, they weren't anything special (although the gore was well-done). They definitely were not 2004 level graphics. They are the type you'd see in late 90s, perhaps. Although graphics don't make the game (in my opinion), they still are a nice addition to a good game.

I find myself not upgrading equipment very often because you do not find items with upgrade slots very often. And when you do, it may not be what you are looking for. Having upgrade slots a little more frequently would be nice.

Items don't remain on the ground. This is annoying when you finish killing 30 enemies and can't carry all the equipment and goodies you got from them.

Attacking from the horse is not an easy task. You can't just click and attack like you can on the ground. The horse has to get close enough, then you can click again to attack. This gets to be such a pain that you rarely will want to fight while mounted.

Normal attacking is not too bad in that you can hold the mouse button to continue attacking rather than killing your mouse button, but it can still be more difficult that way than it is if you are just clicking many times.

The inability to really have much control over your allies' equipment is a pain. Although you can change weapons, it isn't really the same

The Bottom Line
If you are tired of Diablo and want a change, but still want the same type of gameplay, this game is for you. Enjoy the freedom you have in this game that was lacking in the Diablo games. The game is a nice change while maintaining many of the gameplay aspects you enjoyed in Diablo 2.

Windows · by Riamus (8480) · 2004

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
The cheat options....clarified shade_of_mischief Sep 25, 2007

Trivia

Copy protection

Sacred has a rather original copy protection system. While the game seemed to work fine, at some point - usually upon entering a dungeon - the player character was teleported to a small island called Mal-Ork-A that he could not leave. The island could be visited by a legit player as well, but in that case, he'd still have the boat he came with.

Sadly, since Sacred was rather buggy already, the protection occasionally kicked in for legit players as well, making this kind of protection rather worthless.

Censorship

In order to receive an ESRB "T for Teen" rating, the North American version of the game removed blood and gore effects in such a way that they can not be restored by modifying the settings.cfg file.

Dwarf dungeon

The Dwarf dungeon world in Sacred were created using the renderings of The Light Works. They provided in-game graphics for this level and the water elements.

Multiplayer

Thanks to the game's advertising as being a Diablo II competitor, players believed they'd be able to play online like in Blizzard's game. While there was online multiplayer, it didn't work initially and had to be patched in. Frustration quickly ensued when it became apparent that Ascaron had saved on the wrong end - the servers. Instead of a Battle.net competitor able to handle hundreds, if not thousands of concurrent games, only a handful of servers were available, each hosting just one game with 8 players. Most of the time, these servers were either full or had crashed. If it worked, multiplayer was often plagued by synchronization issues - one player would get a quest the other didn't, or would see (and be attacked by) monsters the others didn't.

Also, it quickly became apparent that the multiplayer servers didn't actually do much more than store the character data. In fact, one could modify the client-side game files and get away with using ridiculous items online - the server never checked the client's files. It was also possible to cheat the client's memory in order to instantly level the character to max. level - this also was not detected by the server.

These issues were all fixed in the months after release.

References

There are many references in Sacred: * Sunglasses * A bunny costume (which is applied to cheaters only) * A light saber like in Star Wars * The ice hockey mask and machete from the Friday 13th movies * A dungeon which is made up like a Pac-Man game * A village which is a exact copy of Tristram from Diablo * Game boxes as quest items (all from other Ascaron games) * Tons of humorous tombstone inscriptions

Awards

  • GameStar (Germany)
    • February 2005 - Best PC RPG in 2004 (Readers' vote)

Information also contributed by Jeanne

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by phlux.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, JRK, Sciere, Xoleras, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Rainer S, Danfer.

Game added March 10, 2004. Last modified February 21, 2024.