Sacred Tears is a traditional styled JPG that follows the story of two friends as they work their way to becoming master thieves. Styled like a 16-bit RPG of old there is a bit of magic around it and it certainly tries to do a few things differently.
The look of the game suits the source material well and the pixel styled graphics catapults you back to the golden age of 16-bit RPGS. However, there is a distinct lack of graphical options and throwing the game into full screen mode makes everything seem horrible blurry. This isn’t great and is something that really should have been considered as not many people are going to want to use the tiny windowed mode that is available.
The way the game plays will also take a lot of getting used to. Combat is resolved around a card system with the player picking cards to represent attacking, defending, magic and special attacks. The higher the number of the card the better, as if it is stronger than the opponents then that is what will happen in the turn. The problem is it all seems a bit random and levelling up doesn’t really seem to do much to alter your card hand. When you get a hand full of ones it does make you wonder exactly what you are meant to do. If you die in combat it’s straight back to the menu screen as well which only compounds the frustration.
You can save anywhere which helps and levels are broken up in chapters but we felt very little progress with regard to the development of our character in terms of their combat abilities and everything just felt too random to be fun. That isn’t to say we didn’t enjoy any of our time with the game as the general adventure is a good one and the tale engaging- it’s just there is so much to put up with in order to enjoy it.
There are a whole host of systems at work within Sacred Tear to engage with as well. There are alchemy sections and the aim of saving up money is a key goal. There’s also a ton of side quests and extra things to do to gain more treasure and level up. So for those that do make a breakthrough in the game there is more than enough to keep you busy for a fair old while.
The real strength of the game is in the script and storytelling. Characters are charming and they interact well together. The world they inhabit is also interesting and filled with engaging characters. If you can get past some of the games problems there is certainly a tale of daring adventure to be experienced but it’s going to take some dedication to see it.
Overall, The Sacred Tear TRUE certainly has some charm but we found it far too difficult to get into and make progress with. You’ll likely stick with it for a while due to the high standard of writing and characterisation but the core mechanics left us cold. With the combat system being such a chore it’s likely only a matter of time before you throw in the towel and look to something else to get your adventuring kicks from. A real shame as there is undoubted potential here.