Written : Monday, June 04, 2012
By: Lee Bradley
Revealed as a flagship Move title when the peripheral was announced at E3 2010, Sorcery has only recently reappeared after a spell in the wilderness. Now part of the second generation of Move titles, it’s a game that Sony - outwardly at least - is touting as proof that waggly games can appeal to the core too.
It’s a bold statement. While core experiences utilising Move have enjoyed a degree of success, so far no game has emerged to make the ping pong-topped stick essential. A PlayStation Move-exclusive, is Sorcery the game to fill that gap? Not really, no.
Players take control of Finn, a sorcerer’s apprentice overflowing with cocky exuberance. When his master leaves for town, disappearing into the sunset, it takes about two minutes for Finn to cause a calamity. The overconfident scamp causes havoc with one of his master’s powerful wands, spilling a powerful potion. A powerful potion that his master had expressly forbid him to mess with, no less.
"Obligatory far-off scary castle. Check."
To right his wrongs, Finn sets off with his snarky feline companion to locate the magical ingredient with which to restore the potion. Trouble is, the only place it can be found is the Land of the Restless Dead. The even bigger trouble is, once there, he unwittingly unleashes the Nightmare Queen who promptly drowns the kingdom in darkness and unleashes her minions with disastrous effect. Oops.
Sorcery is the rather charmingly told story of how Finn sets things right, saves the world and maybe, just maybe, learns a little something along the way too. But first there’s waggling. Lots of pointing and sweeping and waggling.
Unlike many Move titles, Sorcery is not on-rails. Instead it’s a traditionally-presented third-person action adventure game in which you have complete control over Finn’s movement, while the Move controller acts largely as his wand. That’s where the waggling comes in.
You’ll use Move to do everything from drink potions, manipulate environmental objects and cast spells. It all works rather well and a fair amount of variety has been included to mix things up a bit, but the game’s main issue is that it gets repetitive over time. Though your various gestures may have different effects depending on your context, the truth is that it’s tiresome, especially over prolonged periods.
All of this isn’t so much of a problem if you’re playing in short sessions. But extended play reveals Sorcery’s shortcomings. The novelty wears off rather quickly.
"Go on, Finn! Waggle with all your might!"
It’s important to note that the low price point, Saturday morning cartoon stylings and relative simplicity of the game position it as a nice, diversionary title for younger gamers, not a flag-waving example of how Move will capture the core. Indeed, in that context Sorcery is rather good, offering a nice bridge for those graduating from mindless mini-games to the experiences we cherish. With expectations lowered accordingly, there’s fun to be had here.
That’s not to say Sorcery is completely bereft of interest. The nicely-implemented environmental puzzles, the character progression and potion research all combine to speak to the game’s ultra-light RPG aspirations. It diverts from the core simplicity of the game, offering more to think about than just waving your arms around, but at risk of hammering the point home, it’s ultimately quite shallow. In an inoffensive, friendly kinda way.
The camera, however, is far from friendly. It’s largely out of your control and a touch wild, getting increasingly erratic when there’s too much going on. The only control you have is to centre the camera, but it’s all a bit inelegant. It behaves most of the time and you learn its foibles, but when it craps out in the heat of a battle it’s bloody annoying.
"Erm... Can't we talk about this?"
Trophies, meanwhile, are a doddle. Largely. As befits the game’s audience, charging through Sorcery with a degree of care will net you many of the bronzes, silvers and golds. The only difficulty comes in the form of collectible Trophies.
Why? Because the game regularly gives you two separate paths to take. One progresses you further through the story and the other often takes you to a treasure chest. It’s the chest that you need for the Trophy. Unfortunately however, no indication is given as to what way is what, leaving you to guess. And if you chose the progression path, there’s no going back. You’ll have to pick up the treasure on your next playthrough.
However, perhaps this won’t be too much trouble. Sorcery is very short, taking little more than six hours to complete. It makes you wonder just why development dragged on for so long.
Ultimately, Sorcery is a decent, if uninspiring game that at least tries to give you a reason to dust off your Move controller. It’s not going to win many awards, but as a budget title that gives up most of its Trophies without too much of a fight, it’s certainly worth a bash. With some nice colourful visuals, not insignificant charm and a surprisingly good story, Sorcery is actually one of the best Move titles on the planet. It’s just not very good.
Voice acting is great, imbuing the characters with charm. You’ll care about them. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is solid.
Bright, colourful and vivid environments, let down by some dull enemy designs. The PlayStation 3 is capable of more.
Casting spells, manipulating objects and drinking potions is cool and works well. The novelty wears off quick however, and the camera can be very frustrating.
A very short adventure and no New Game+ let Sorcery down terribly. A poor show.
Not the most exciting list, but if you want to pick up a bunch of new trophies without too much effort, or expense, Sorcery could be the game for you.
Featuring a decent little story and some diverting Move-waggling, Sorcery is best suited to young, less demanding gamers. It’s short, cheap and shallow, but also rather cheerful. A rental, perhaps.