Two years have flown by since Sorcery was first announced at E3 2010 for the Playstation Move. At the time, Sorcery showed much promise as a Playstation Move exclusive. Despite being a long wait Sorcery is finally being released to the public and as it was shown two years ago, Sorcery may possibly be one of the best PS Move title released thus far.
The controls for Sorcery are a love-hate relation. At first you’ll have to calibrate the controller. The first time was easy, however it wasn’t correct as often times the character would be lashing his attacks elsewhere rather then the original target. The next few times didn’t go so well either as I found myself constantly trying to get the system to even recognize the Move controller. It became to much of a nuisance at one point that I actually decided to quit the game for a bit. This was the first issue that was encountered, though once it was hurdled over I can honestly admit that this is perhaps the best Move utilizing title available.
The Move controller will act as your wand. Doing specific gestures will activate different spells. For example, simply thrusting the Move controller any direction towards the camera will cause the character to shoot their first spell; the Arcane Bolt. This will be the most used spell in the game considering that it doesn’t use up any magic on the magic gauge. This thrust will be used to aim objects or enemies at the same elevation as you are. For higher enemies you’ll simply tilt the Move controller in an upward stance and then thrust one again towards the screen. This will cause the Arcane Bolt to shoot at a higher elevation.
As you progress through the game you will come by Spell Nexus, which are new learned spells. One thing that I absolutely loved, but found a bit hard was combining different spells together. For example, later on in your journey you’ll collect a wind and fire spell nexus. The wind spell can cast a whirlwind, which will pick up light debris and enemies. The fire spell can either create a small fire barrier in front of you or send a burning blast at the aimed direction. If done right, you’ll be able to summon up a whirlwind attack set it ablaze, causing even more damage to your enemies. That’s not all, you’ll also be able to shoot the whirlwind (fire or not) with your Arcane arrows to reflect and multiply them, hitting multiple enemies at once. These are just some of the few examples of what can be combined.
Another gameplay mechanic includes the use of the alchemy. This allows you to create new potions that can add to your overall magic, health, increase shield strength, and other attributes. Potions are made by material that you find throughout the game or by purchasing them them from the traveling merchant. Once you have all the required materials you can mix them together in a cauldron. Here you’ll be tasked with using the Move remote. By titling it downward on its side you’ll pour in liquid, while doing the same thing and shaking will cause ground herbs to fall into the cauldron. After all material have been successfully added you’ll next be tasked with mixing the cauldron up. All gestures performed are identical to that you would expect in real life. Even drinking the finish product will have you shaking the bottle and then lifting the controller up as if you were about to take a real drink from it.
With the story you take the role of a young character named Finn, who is an apprentice under the sorcerer Dash. Unlike Dash, Finn is reckless and impatient. This gets him into trouble as he accidentally hits Dash’s brewing cauldron with some magic. Erline, Dash’s talking pet cat, teases Finn and tells him that the only place to get the ingredients for the brew is in the Land of The Dead. Later on in the story, after Finn has acquired all the ingredients, a monster appears in which Finn defeats. The monster drops an orb revealing Erline true form. Scared, Erline tells Finn that they must hurry back to Dash. Upon returning back, the village that once stood peacefully was now under attack by creatures known as Bogeys. Without spoiling to much of the story, Erline tells Finn that they must escape and hide from her mother because she has made a deal with a creature known as the Nightmare.
At first I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the story with the way it started out. There was no clear objective to begin with, but as you continue playing things slowly begin to come together. The two main characters, Finn and Erline are perhaps one of the best and lovable duo in a long time. If there’s one other game out there that can be compared to Sorcery in terms of character relationship than it’s Uncharted. Much like the relationship you see between Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan you can expect both characters to exchange witty remarks, which are usually funny, and while the relationships and bonds in Uncharted were great and people easily fell in love with Nate, Sully, and Elena; I felt that Sorcery one ups Uncharted when it comes to character development. During each level, Erline and Finn will open up to one another and tell something personal about themselves. What went from a non-existence friendship eventually builds up to a fully trusted relationship. By the end of the story there was a clear understanding of each character, and in respect gave me as a player a better reason as to why I should care for either of them. It’s these kind of developments that creates memorable gaming figures.
I bet many of you are wondering how long Sorcery is. Well I can’t be certain considering that it (the game) never did keep track of the time, but I say I spent somewhere between 7 to 12 hours on the third difficulty available. This may be the reason as to why I enjoyed the story the first play-through since I was in no rush to complete the game. My second play-through was on the easiest difficulty available and that took me between 4-6 hours in total.
At first glance the visuals weren’t that impressive. Many objects appeared to look clay like, which wasn’t a surprise considering that it is powered by Unreal Engine. This, however, is only really seen in the opening level. When progressing through different stages the visuals quickly begin to change into a more organic life-like look. Not exactly the kind of life-like look as in it looks realistic, but that of the one you would expect to see in nature. Places where the dead roam you can expect dark and gloomy colors such as grey, green and purple, while their complementary colors are shown off in areas where life is flourishing.
There was a few animation problems that I noticed. For example, Erline tail is often seen skipping around during certain instances when she talks. Another animation issue that was seen in multiple playthroughs was that one particular enemy would stay frozen on screen even after being completely drained of health. You may even notice some slight frame-rate issues with the game as it will drop randomly; but only for a short second. None of these issues however, were persistent and detracting considering that they only lasted a few seconds. Otherwise for the most part the game appears to be bug free.
Sadly for those who wanted to see other things beside the story than you won’t find anything else here. The game only comes with a story mode, and while co-op and multiplayer were undoubtedly not going to be in this game it would have been nice to add something other than story. In terms of replay value the trophies and the higher level difficulty will keep players busy, however it is possible to earn a platinum in your first play-through with the appropriate guide.
Overall I can say that Sorcery is perhaps one of the best PlayStation Move only titles around. Though it has its flaws, the controls are some of the best around and the depth of story that is told is remarkably better than most full titles today. I only wish that the game didn’t have to end, though it did leave some unanswered questions, so hopefully there will be a sequel sometime down the road.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this title was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes. If you have any questions about this game the reviewer will be able to answer them in the comment section. Sorcery will be available at retailers and on the Playstation Network Store on May 22nd for $40.