Become a sorcerer and wield your magic wand – the PlayStation Move – as you venture forth to save the realm from the forces of darkness. The Move is in dire need of a game that utilizes it to its fullest. Sorcery is hoping to be that game by requiring use of the Move, but does it reach the hype levels or does this wand grow dimmer by the minute?
You take control of Finn, a young, undisciplined, and impatient sorcerer’s apprentice. Your mentor, Dash, leaves you alone and you use the opportunity to take a magic wand and have some fun. Erline, Dash’s mysterious talking cat, tells Finn to head into the land of the dead after Finn ruins one of Dash’s potions and that is the only place to find a key ingredients. Erline hopes to scare Finn with this, but instead it has the opposite effect as Finn starts to believe he can become a great sorcerer all on his own. When the Nightmare Queen from the Faerie Realm invades the human world, it is up to Finn to save the world and learn the mysteries that Erline have been hiding.
The PlayStation Move acts as your magic wand as you cast magic spells, brew elixirs, solve puzzles and defeat the many foes of darkness. With the addition of either the navigation controller or a standard controller you are able to move Finn around or block incoming attacks. With a simple flick of the wrist you can send magic spells soaring through the air in any direction. If you aim to the left of your television and by proxy the PlayStation camera, it will send a spell flying to the left of Finn. If you flick your magic wand to either side, the arcane spell will curve, giving you the ability to hit foes on the other side of pillars. With other spells this also provides a secondary attack. Foes can also appear on high platforms or ledges and require you to aim higher, otherwise your spells do not reach them. The concept is there, but the execution at times leads to a frustrating experience especially at the higher difficulties.
The game uses an auto targeting system that you have little control over. This can be a downfall at times when there are multiple enemies barreling down at you, as the game will switch between them constantly. Enemies are able to regenerate health which makes the constant switching a problem, as ones you hit only once or twice will have full health once again. A lock-on addition to the auto targeting would safely solve this.
As the outset of your adventure you are only able to perform cast arcane magic spells. As you progress through the levels you will collect ‘nexus’ that provides you with new spells that come in handy on your quest. Chaining these spells together is when the combat truly starts to take shape. See a lit fire bazaar on the ground; shoot an arcane spell through it and it will catch on fire. Send a whirlwind hurdling towards your foes and at the last second switch to a fire spell and light it on fire to create a flaming vortex of death. Chaining attacks together is the key to taking down some of the bigger foes such as the ice trolls. Hitting foes with a multiple ice spells will turn them into blocks of ice that can be shattered if followed up with an arcane bolt. Bringing up the menu to switch spells will slow the game down almost to a halt to allow you to perform the necessary motions to switch spells. Due to the motions not allows being recognized or the wrong motion recognized, it can feel a bit intense if the enemies are directly in front of you.
There are over 50 different potions for you to create. As you defeat foes and destroy objects around the environment, you will find ingredients. Combining three different ingredients together will create different potions. Once you discover the combinations and you have an empty potion bottle, you can create the potion and use it. Shake the move controller to ready your newly created potion and chug it down to use it. Most of them give permanent increases to your stats such as adding 20% to health, or 25% to arcane magic damage.
At higher difficulties, Sorcery feels almost like an entirely different game. Frustration set in to the point of wanting to throw the Move wand into my nearby aquarium. Enemies take too many hits, they are able to easily outrun Finn and worst of all there is little to no recovery time after getting hit. Two or more foes tossing magical grenades at you will quickly deplete your health bar, leaving you unable to defend yourself. Dodging in the game works on some of the attacks, but some of the magic spells are able to track your movements and follow you. Casting spells turns into a panicky waggle fest as you are constantly fighting with the game on which you should be targeting. I simply had more fun with the game not playing it on the harder settings.
Sorcery is not a graphical powerhouse, but the unique realms to explore keep the environments from feeling stale. You will explore the Land of the Dead and battle against the Banshee and her dead warriors, got lost traveling through the maze of the Endless Stairs and brave through the Faerie Forest; where every creature is out to get you and fire is your best friend. The freeze spells allows you to freeze running water and create ice bridges for you to climb over to reach new areas. Certain plants can be set on fire to reveal hidden treasure chests and lambs can be turned into pigs…or pumpkins. You are also able to mend broken objects in the game like stairs, bridges and keys to open doors. All of these little things help to get a lush magical world to explore in. Characters outside of Finn and Erline look rather bland when compared to the pop that some of the environments have.
The coolest effect is not actually in the game, but on the Move controller itself. The colored “ball” at the end, will change colors with different spells and potions in the game. Shake up a health potion and it will turn bright red. Mend a broken staircase and it will change between varying shades of blue.
The unique fantasy adventure of Sorcery is exactly what PlayStation Move owners have been waiting for. Casting as spells is not as precise as I would have liked due to the auto targeting within the game. Hitting enemies that are above you is harder than it should be and the lack of recovery time adds to the frustration factor. Even through all of thisSorcery only takes around six hours to beat. With no New Game+ or multiplayer options, I can’t see playing through the game a second time besides for trophy hunting. It’s a fun title that is aimed at a younger audience, but even as an adult I found the game fun to play, and fun is what I look for in games.
Note: The Sorcery review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.