I’m starting to think that motion innermost gaming is cursed. While there’s an overindulgence of motion inspired software out there for your console of choice, there isn’t a whole out of motion inspired original titles that actually justify the niche controllers that they are purpose built for. Motion controlled gaming is the very definition of hit and miss, and even at that it’s actually probably more of a case of shit and miss. It took the Wii some 6 odd years to get Skyward Sword, a game that really worked the Wiimote and almost certainly provided the controller with its best experience. As it is, the competition is waiting for their Skyward Sword of sorts. The Kinect is, if we’re being honest, something of an inspirational non-event and Sony’s PlayStation Move, for all its potential, has been fairly unflattering. Sure, Move actually works – play online with Killzone 3 with a Move and a Navigation controller if you don’t believe us. It’s mighty impressive. But for all the possibilities inherent in Move, it has yet to produce a game that really consolidates its worth.
Sorcery unwittingly became one of Move’s most anticipated titles, not least because it went underground for a couple of years following it’s interesting E3 reveal back in 2010. Elusiveness generates hype; Sorcery’s development team at The Workshop never banked on that. But does Sorcery actually live up to some if any of the hype. Well, it kind of does actually. It’s certainly not perfect, but if you’re looking for a decent game to justify picking up your fancy flashing Sony orb controller “thing” again, then Sorcery might just be for you.
Sorcery is Finn’s world, a sorcerer’s apprentice who manages to get his mitts on a magic wand before his time. As a result of his mischief, an adventure is born. With his trusty feline companion Erline by his side, Finn must protect the denizens of a Faerie Kingdom who are now under the attack of darkness from the suitably sinister Nightmare Queen. Finn and Erline are surprisingly quite a likable duo. They’re not quite Jak and Daxter on the banter scale, but nonetheless they hold your attention and you really get drawn into their companionship for the duration of the adventure.
Everything, from the general environmental patch work to the enemies, is clearly inspired by Celtic mythology and while it’s refreshing and interesting, it’s all a little bland and not exactly inspirational. Everything looks pretty, but there’s no personality here as such. It’s all a bit flat. This is a shame considering just how pretty everything looks, there’s just no character here. The early Celtic inspired PS3 exclusive Folklore had a lot more going for it than this and that relied heavily on no voice work and on screen dialogue between characters. Everything’s pretty, but it’s all a bit boring. The audio and music certainly creates a good atmosphere, but it’s not enough really.
Thankfully Sorcery and the PlayStation Move really complement each other and you’ll play with a sly grin on your face as you play through. Rather surprising, the novelty of swinging your wand, casting spells and downing potions doesn’t actually wear off from start to finish. The gameplay is quite varied and you’ll probably do things with the controller that you’ve never really done with it previously. Move is compulsory and you can play with an additional DualShock or a Nav controller, the latter of which feels best. For the most part, you’ll be flicking out spells and casting out magic skills that genuinely feel progressively more powerful as you pass through the realm. Flicking your wrist, pointing the Move to the side of the screen and/or arching your wrist at the PS Eye actually promotes a change of pace and delivery in your standard Arcane Bolt attack. The more you twist or curve the flick on your delivery, the more your projectile magic will spin and curve on the screen. It’s not particularly novel, but it’s actually very cool and very fun. Clever magicians will merge elemental spells to create special hybrid skills, for example, create a wall of fire and flick a tornado against it and you suddenly have an almighty tornado of fire, enough to do a lot of damage to even the most powerful of banshees or demonic troll. Mixing up ice and lighting is also enough to wield some impressive damage. The only issue with the magic is that there’s certainly a few balancing issues, particularly when it came to the lightning powers you get late on in your adventure. Once you get this power, you probably won’t revert back to any of the previous elemental powers.
It’s definitely worth mentioning the rather cool and subtle interactive gesture movements that allow you into interact with Finn’s realm outside of simple spell casting. You’ll solve puzzles with the Move, open chests, sprinkle and mix potions and down same potions all with unique and interesting contortions of the Move. It’s refreshing to see Sorcery actually have a bit of fun with the controller and do something different without actually pushing the boat out too much.
The biggest problem with Sorcery is its length and replay-ability, or lack thereof. After 6 odd hours, you’ll be done with Sorcery. If you’re a trophy hunter, you’ll jump back in for a another couple of play throughs, but as it is, there’s not enough here to make you want to go back in and join Finn and Erline on their quirky little Celtic adventure all over again.
Sorcery is a neat little game and certainly casts the Move in a positive light. It’s the kind of game that everyone in the family could enjoy, not least because it’s all about the controller and holding a glowing orb in your hand casting spells at a TV is actually cool. Give Sorcery a go. It’s good honest fun and although it might not be the Move seller that lots of people hoped it would be, it does enough to make you want to wipe the dust of your Move and realise that there’s plenty of fun to be had with it.
TGL SCORE 7/10
Format: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move
Release Date: Out Now
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developer: The Workshop