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Mark Marrow
24 Jul, 2005

Sacred Underworld Review

PC Review | An expansion that improves on the frustration formula or an expansion that just makes the game worse?
If you’re reading this review then it’s more than likely you’ve experienced the original Sacred and are wondering whether or not this expansion is worth the extra cash. Well, some readers maybe aware of my frustrating experience with the original Sacred title, but that’s far from an indication that this expansion doesn’t at least improve on the previous title. Has this new expansion actually made the game bearable now? Or perhaps this latest expansion has just highlighted exactly what this series is missing?

Sacred Underworld is an expansion, and it won’t come to much of a surprise that the game hasn’t changed a great deal from the original. The game is absolutely jammed-packed full of new, exciting and rewarding features that extends on the original title. The greatest aspect of Sacred was it’s superb environment and exploration – which was roughly 70% of the game accessible from the get go – and for fans, Sacred Underworld is no different. The expansion introduces new areas and dungeons – increasing the game’s map by 40% - and the new areas are varied in terrain and are home to a number of new creatures that makes this new addition pretty worthwhile.

Fire+Worms=Instantly fried worms. Yummy!

Fire+Worms=Instantly fried worms. Yummy!
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Sacred Underworld presents an exciting new ‘Underworld Campaign’ for gamers looking for a new single player challenge. The new campaign follows the events after the conclusion of the original and now sees gamers fighting off a new evil that has once again plagued the lands of Ancaria. If you’ve managed to fight your way through Sacred long enough you’ll be able to import your characters into this new adventure just like it was an all-new extension on their previous adventure, or better yet you can start the new campaign with one of the two new characters – a vicious Dwarf or the hell-bound Daemon. Each of these new fascinating characters offers an exciting take on the world of Ancaria. On one hand the Dwarf is a small, fat warrior who has some unique properties that distinguish him from the other characters. He’s able to use firearms and he packs an incredible punch in his strength making him the best choice for a carnage rampage. While on the other hand, the Daemon processes an array of deadly spells and shape shifting abilities that allows her to shift into various elemental forms.

Thankfully, Ascaron has tweaked and refined a lot of the features found in Sacred that not only makes the game look cleaner, but also makes the game a little bit more exciting. In the original Sacred an enemy’s health was shown through a circle around the creature. The idea was fine in the lower levels of the game, but as the game progressed it became difficult to keep track of the enemy’s health. Fortunately, Ascaron has included a new information bar when fighting creatures, displaying the enemy’s health, resistance values and its name that not only makes it easier to identify which creature you’re attacking, but also allows gamers to maintain a watchful eye on their surrounding enemies.

It was already hot without your flamethrower…

It was already hot without your flamethrower…
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There were a number of problems found in Sacred that made the overall experience of the game somewhat horrid. A number of terrible battle features, animations and game menus merely highlighted the fact that the game had been pushed out with without proper playtesting. Thankfully, Ascaron took this into consideration and tweaked and refined these problems found. My previous frustration with the experience bar has been reconstructed so now gamers will realise there’s an actual button there that allows you to distribute attributes and skills. There’s also a new feature called the ‘Sum button’ that allows gamers to view their character’s bonuses, resistances and damage values by simple pressing a nice little button located near your character’s display picture.

While there a number of new features that makes the game’s formula a lot more enjoyable to play, the game still maintains a number of features that makes this game frustrating to play on numerous occasions. The battle system is still a little awkward and not always responsive – they should honestly scrap the entire ‘click-once-to-attack-once’ feature – the voice acting is still a little dry, sound effects still sound amateurish, visuals are still below par for today’s standards and the regeneration of enemies are still far too common.

Burn baby burn!

Burn baby burn!
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In all honestly though, Sacred Underworld is an excellent expansion pack that all Sacred fans will absolutely adore. It’s full of new battle features that refine the previous title, two exciting new characters and a new adventure all of which makes this expansion a recommended purchase for all Sacred fans. The game isn’t without its downfalls, obviously, but Ascaron has tweaked a lot of the problems found in the original and refined those problems into better features.

Sacred is quite possibly the one game that holds a profound array of possibilities, and offers an exciting new prospect for hack n’ slash games. However, it’s also a game with its problems If you’re a fan of Sacred, and even if you were someone who mildly liked the game, should definitely put this expansion on your consideration list, as it offers a lot more than what would normally be expected with an expansion. There’s absolutely no reason for you fans out there to pass up on a rewarding expansion, especially considering the low budget price point. However, if you’re someone new to the series, than it’s probably best to leave it alone , or at least wait until Sacred 2 is released sometime in the future.
The Score
Sacred was a frustrating game to get used to, but surprisingly the expansion improves on the title incredibly. The game is somewhat more bearable to play now, but there are still too many flaws to consider this series a worthwhile purchase for hack n' slash veterans. Hopefully Sacred 2 will satisfy our needs. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 Comments
8 years ago
given Dungeon Siege 2 went gold last friday, i think i'll pass on this
8 years ago
I disagree with this review and am copy pasting the summary of the review, which I have found to be much more informative. I have asked the webmaster for permission and he agreed.

To summarize:
I actually loved this game. It expands on the original by adding a lot of new features and improved the games performance on my lower end system. (1 Ghz with 512 MB of ram and a GeForce Fx 5200). True it still has quite a few problems, but most of the ones that plagued the original have been fixed with patches and the free expansion pack Sacred Plus. Ascaron has already mentioned that they will continue the tradition of free expansion packs and offer another free one to the owners of Underworld. (The original Sacred received the free expansion titled Sacred Plus.) So the game will only get better.

The most important part of the game however is the multiplayer. Sacred has one of the best multiplayer modes out there, beating Diablo II in quite a few fields. The characters are more different, there are more items, a much larger world and the PVP is actually much more fun. The classes are fairly balanced; there is no one “super” class, like the Hammeradin of Diablo II. So if you are looking for a class that can wipe out entire armies, keep playing Diablo II.

If you are a Sacred fan, go ahead and get this game; for you I will score it a 9/10. If you are a Diablo II fan that wants a bit more of the same, but with subtle differences get this as well.
If you are an RPG gamer and are looking for a fun hack and slash RPG go ahead and get Sacred Gold, which includes Underworld, Sacred Plus as well as the original Sacred. I would give the game an 8.5/10.

Otherwise I would give Sacred Underworld an 8.1/10.

Hope you all enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing it! Have fun and keep gaming!
8 years ago
Thanks for the impressions, Rick. Although I don't particularly agree with the points you made, it's good to see a different opinion. The multiplayer aspects of the game were superb, but I don't think they were any better than others titles in the genre, which can be said for a lot of the game.

I didn't think the game introduced a lot of new and exciting features that weren't introduced into the genre several years before the Sacred series' establishment.

I'm interested to see how Sacred 2 turns out, as I'm sure the developers will surely iron out a lot of the problems found within the series. And hopefully the graphic and gameplay problems can get a lot more attention, which in my opinion, didn't receive enough in Sacred.

I still stand by the fact that Sacred didn't redefine anything in the genre and, in my opinion, doesn't deserve similar recognition Diablo received - which is probably the series that has shifted the genre into what it is today.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Red Ant Enterprises
Developer:
  Ascaron Entertainment

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