29 January, 2008

RPG Game of the Year for $10


I have always waited for prices to drop on computer games before I buy them -- not only is it easier on the pocketbook, but I can be sure my system will run them (see requirements below). I typically look at what Target and Fry's has to offer, and I recently found a great RPG, Sacred. Not only was it just $10, but PC Gamer named it RPG of the Year in 2004.

Sacred is a Diablo style RPG with three ways to play:
  • Hack and Slash (1 player)
  • Cooperative multi-player (up to 4 players)
  • LAN & Internet play (up to 16 players)
Now I have just played the Hack and Slash, but then again I want a game that has an ending. Sacred is divided into 4 Acts (see the Sacred website for descriptions of each Act), with about 15 hours of game play each. That number can go up or down depending on how much time you spend on the 200+ side-quests.

I am now in the middle of my second time playing, with my second character. Sacred offers a total of six different characters to choose from:
  1. Dark Elf: Using either poisoned blades or his lethal array of martial arts, the Dark Elf a deadly stealth fighter.
  2. Gladiator: An expert in close combat and he is trained to use all sorts of weapons.
  3. Battle Mage: A master of weapon lore and magic; his most powerful weapon is the magic of the elements.
  4. Vampiress: A skilled warrior during the day and a ruthless vampire at night.
  5. Seraphim: She uses heavenly magic to weaken opponents before striking them down with whirling blades.
  6. Wood Elf: A ranger and hunter, preferring to avoid close combat.
As you move up levels, you also get skill and attribute points to apply as you see most appropriate. The Sacred website has a good description of skills and a table that outlines at what level, which skills will be available, based on your particular character.

You can use Combat Combos to blend close and ranged combat as well as spell casting, all into one easy to use command (right-mouse-click). Depending on your character and skill level, you can have up to 5 Combat Combos to choose from. You can have combat on or off your horse, though many combos require you to be out of the saddle. You can also tailor some of the weaponry by visiting a Blacksmith.

Here's a few tips I've learned:
  • As with most RPGs, save often.
  • Your opponents always seem to be a bit higher in hit points, no matter how many you have, therefore growing your skills and having superior armor and weapons is critical to success.
  • The greatest benefit to do the side quests, besides being fun, is to find the best armor and weapons.
  • Use a horse -- you can get around much faster, making completing the game quicker.
  • Use a single, high-level Combat Art such as Confusion or Battle Fog in one of the Combo spots. By just using the single Combat Art, it will recharge very quickly, allowing you to use it multiple times in combat.
  • Use the "A" key to have your player pick up all available Gold and Items. When your pack is full, dump lower value items for higher value items.
  • Eventually you will have enough Gold, so collecting new items to sell wont be as important, but you will still want to check them to upgrade your weapons and armor.
  • One item may have higher hit point value, yet another item has better overall value to your quests. Compare the sale price to determine the total value of weapons and armor.
If Sacred sounds interesting to you, and you don't want to look for it in your local store, as of this post I see Amazon has used versions starting under $3.00. Happy Gaming!

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Pentium III 800 MHz Processor (or equivalent)
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 1.6 GB free Hard Drive (HDD) space with at least 400 MB swap-file.
  • DirectX8 compatible graphic card with 16 MB RAM
  • Sound card with DirectX support
  • Windows 98SE, WinME, Win2000 or WinXP
  • For multiplayer games a 56K modem (internet) or network card (LAN)
  • DirectX9
Recommended System Requirements (for optimal in-game performance):
  • Pentium IV 1,4 GHz Processor (or higher)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1.6 GB HDD space with at least 900 MB swap-file.
  • DirectX9 3D graphics card with 64 MB RAM(or higher).
  • DirectX9 compatible sound card
  • For multiplayer games DSL modem (internet) or 100 Mbit network card (LAN)
  • Windows 2000 or WinXP
  • DirectX9

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