Sorcery Review (PS3)

First unveiled almost two years ago, with a brilliant demonstration at Sony’s 2010 E3 conference, Sorcery has gone through many changes since its inception. After disappearing for the best part of a year a redesigned Sorcery surfaced, but does this game live up to the by now enormous expectations that two years of hype has built?

It’s a tough one to judge: Sorcery, as a game for PlayStation Move, is wonderful and features arguably the best and most intuitive use of motion controls to date. However, compared to its non-motion controlled contemporaries it isn’t anything particularly special; a fun but ultimately shallow game, though not a bad one by any means.

[boxout]The game follows a sorcerer’s apprentice, Finn, and his magical talking feline sidekick, Erline. Unlike other companions, Erline is never a burden – she won’t get in the way during combat and can teleport ahead, so there’s need to wait for her. She’s very much like Navi or Midna in The Legend of Zelda, though thankfully not as irritating. Erline plays a rather large role in the plot, moving the narrative forwards and fleshing out the backstory along the way. The bond between Finn and Erline is excellent; it’s completely believable and one of the better parts of Sorcery overall.

Sorcery’s story involves Finn and Erline saving the world from a treacherous power – the Nightmare Queen with her legion of corrupted minions – based on Irish mythology and folklore. This narrative is told through animated storybook scenes, which have a nice style to them but leave the game feeling disjointed. Although they are animated with accompanying audio, you don’t get to see everything taking place during them (sort of like a motion comic), making it hard to visualise the action at times.

Sorcery’s success lies in its control system. Using PlayStation Move and the sub-controller – or the DualShock – you’re able to not only fire spells off, but move Finn around the area very easily making for a much more fleshed-out action game – this isn’t simply an on-rails shooter.

These motion controls appear to have been refined since Sorcery made its debut; it’s actually quite a fluid system that harnesses the 1:1 motion of the Move controller to its full potential. All it takes to fire an Arcane bolt is a flick of the controller, though an amount of dexterity is required as you’ll have to aim high, low or even curve your bolts with a sweep of your wand to hit your targets. It’s not always spot-on, but the accuracy of Move along with the aim assist means that you won’t have too much trouble disposing of enemies.

[drop2]Even though Finn is right handed, the movements still manage to transfer well if you use your left hand, due to the Playstation Eye. Switching between spells is surprisingly swift for the most part; the several spells in Sorcery can be selected by holding the Move button and flicking or spinning the controller in the right direction, time slowing as you make your selection. It’s all very easy to do with the exception of the ice and wind spells, where it can be hard to differentiate between the two in frantic moments of combat.

Aside from the basic arcane bolts, there are five other types of elemental spells – earth, ice, wind, fire and lightning – that are collected as the game progresses. Unlike the arcane magic, these five spells cost mana to use and take some time to recharge. Each of these spells (bar earth, oddly) have different attacks for flicking or sweeping the controller. Wind, for example, fires out a gust of wind which pushes enemies back with a flick of the wand, or conjures a tornado when a sweeping motion is performed.

The variety of spells allows for many different styles of play, which enriches the combat experience. Spells can even be combined, with devastating effects. Finn can conjure a tornado, combine it with fire and then hit it with arcane bolts to create homing, fiery bolts of doom. It’s quite fun experimenting with different combinations, and though they are somewhat limited, there’s enough to keep you experimenting.

There are other spells, too, including a shield which blocks incoming projectiles and allows you to bash enemies that get too close; a useful ability when you’re cornered. As well as using your main selection of spells outside of combat in order to progress (freezing a river with ice, for example), standalone unlocking and mending spells can be used at certain sections by circling the Move controller.

With all of these attacks, wand combat in Sorcery is a satisfying affair; a nice degree of difficulty being added due to the enemies having regenerative health – you can’t hide and break down their defences slowly, so have to attack them head on. Once you begin to master the spells you’ll feel extremely powerful, though some sections will be challenging and boss battles even more so if you come unprepared.

These boss battles in Sorcery are always fun though; there’s often a particular tactic you’ll need to employ to bring their health bar down and it usually varies from boss to boss, meaning the fights never get too repetitive.

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  1. I was always intrigued to see how this came out. Will be buying. Along with PixelJunk 4am, seems like a good time to dust off those Move controllers.

    • Pixeljunk 4am is great IMO, I spent about 7 hours of the weekend making tunes and throwing shapes!

      • Yea defo picking up Pixeljunk 4am looks class.

  2. Spam. nob. ~cb

    • so glad you accept pyapal payments, I’ll be there in a jiffy

  3. a good review there, but just hasn’t got the zap to get me to buy it.

  4. Will pick this up. Need to justify buying Move eventually.
    And, yes, I am 1 of the 7 people who did buy the stupid little analogue thingy.

    • I knew there was more than just me who baught it!

    • I picked up the Move as well and did not regret it as I need it for shooters like HotD.

    • I bought it too. Used it for a few things though, Heavy Rain, Dead Space and more.

    • Mine has died since the last time it was used. Not impressed!

  5. Will probably pick this game up at some point, the Move controllers haven’t seen the light of day since Sports Champions!

    • I won’t be in a rush to get this either, might get it with LBP Vita at the end of June.

  6. I’m so glad this is a half decent game. My Move has been sitting at the back of a drawer gathering dust, it’ll be great to dust of my little glowing ball ;)

  7. still playing hotd overkill on a regular basis so might give this a try.

  8. This had to be a 9 or 10 to tempt me, 7s are the new 5s. I know Tsa uses the full scale but there’s so many 8s, 9s and 10 around now 7s have to be something I’m liking the look of, and I don’t with this, never have. Good review though.

    • It’s absolutely not an average game (a 5), just to make that clear. Is is a hard one to rate, though, since it directly corresponds to your enjoyment of motion controls.

      • I know I understood that, like I said I’m aware 5 is the middle ground for Tsa. This all depends on what type of average we’re talking. But with so many 9s and 10s these days its rare that a 7 (which still denotes a good game) tempts me.

      • EG gave Max Payne a 7 you love that Tony give it a try great review by the way Blair.

      • 73 is the average score of 484 TSA reviews listed on Metacritic… which isn’t all TSA reviews, but most of them I think.

        According to Metacritic, TSA ranks games 1 point lower than their Metacritic average, 74.

        Even the lowest scoring publication listed on Metacritic (with over 100 reviews) has an average of 59

        So 5/50 may well be what we/you’d consider an average game, but 7ish is indeed an average of the games reviewed.

      • “average game” by my standard means, “not good and not bad” (5), not “about the same as the mean value of all other games we’ve reviewed on PS3” (7), because that would be silly and doesn’t make sense. Can we not go into this again?

  9. Just replayed through KZ3 using the Move, was actually good fun (did it on DS3 first time). This should satisfy my next Move itch :)

  10. I’ll definitely be picking this up at some point, though will wait for the inevitable price drop. Good to hear it has turned out to be a decent game, it had the potential to be an absolute stinker!

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