Rather than provide loot drops, Sacred 3 grants your player gear and bonuses as you gain levels. You'll eventually be able to choose from several light and heavy special attacks, three weapons and what type of defensive maneuver you'd like to employ. Each of these has an associated skill tree that lets you create a simple character build. In addition, your armor levels up (and changes appearance) as you do.
As you traipse throughout the world, you'll also find weapon spirit gems, that unlock the souls of powerful heroes and creatures to inhabit your weapon. Each weapon spirit gives you or your team an ability or buff, but comes with a disadvantage for whoever wears it. For instance, the Demoness spirit I used in my playthrough makes all my attacks have a fire-based damage over time effect, but in return I take 10% more damage. Each can be leveled up several times by having the same weapon spirit drop again.
Unfortunately, the weapon spirits also make your weapon talk, and what they have to say isn't always as funny as the developers would have you think. Though I thought the Battlemage was the most effective spirit for my particular build, I grew tired of my weapon hitting on me or spewing salacious dialogue every time combat died down.
Out of the box, Sacred 3 is built to be played with others. Every game session is set to online and publicly joinable by default, though you can change that easily. Two players can play locally, with up to four online. There's even the fabled unicorn: combo co-op. Again, two local players can play online with two more players, and those can also be a pair of local friends. Online play is mostly fine, though due to my home router setup I was never able to host a game, but had no trouble joining others.
Taking on the campaign in co-op mode scales enemies up to the highest-level character in your party. Since enemies gain more powerful abilities relative to the character, you might want to choose characters within a few levels of one another, though you can ignore that advice if you like. Once a co-op session begins, players can buy items, alter their ability/gear loadouts and then vote on what level to take on. If players take too long to vote, or not everybody cares, the game selects a random level for you to play. Thankfully, the game records everyone's progress.
Co-op also works slightly differently, since now each character has a power meter that fills up as they use their special attacks. Once it's full, you can give various buffs to your team. In addition to being able to revive fallen partners, the various skill trees also give bonuses to reviving other players, or even being revived yourself.
If you're looking to scratch an arcade-style brawler itch, Sacred 3 is a more than acceptable choice. However, if you're looking for a game that expands on the mainline Sacred series, you're bound to be disappointed.
Special note for PC players: You will want to use a controller. The mouse/keyboard controls are awful.
The Co-Optimus review of Sacred 3 is based on the PC version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up in four player co-op through the campaign. Utilize weapon spirits to maximize your co-op team and buff teammates with unique abilities.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.