I am amazed that after all these years of Harry Potter wizardry we have not been inundated with games utilising the Move controller as some sort of wand (other than the Harry Potter games themselves), so finally someone has twigged and have given us Sorcery; a game that has been hyped by Sony at E3 last year and then all but forgotten about, so what can this title offer someone that let the whole Potter thing just blow by?
Set in a fantastical land you play as Finn; a teenage wizard in training whom is a little too headstrong and tends to set himself on fire more than performing feats of magic. That is until he sneaks into his sorcerer master Dash’s room and drinks a mysterious potion that imbues him with alchemist powers. Part worried he will get caught but also boastful of his new powers, Finn sets off with his talking familiar cat Erline to a nearby haunted island to gather ingredients to replace the potion before his master returns from town. All goes smoothly until Finn gets too big headed with his powers and takes on a banshee, with its defeat inadvertently gaining the attention of evil Nightmare Queen. It then goes from bad to worse as Finn is thrust into a magical quest full of plenty of twists and turns in this great action game, taking you to all manner of towns and ruined castles to stop the Nightmare Queen and her army of Bogeys with a high quality production that includes great looking environments and some exceptional voice talent, especially from Finn and Erline that remind me of the lighter moments with the classic duo Jak and Daxter.
Sorcery is essentially a third person shooter which just replaces the usual guns and rifles with a magical wand and the Move is perfectly suited for this, with lots of flicking of the wrist to shoot basic Arcane Bolts plus the ability to learn even more powers as you progress, holding the Move button and swiping patterns to select your chosen power; starting with an earthquake power that rips up the ground beneath incoming enemies and then learning plenty more elemental based powers to command with your wand. Each elemental magic has a powerful main move like the ability to place a wall of fire in front of you or freeze enemies on the spot which can then be mixed with the Arcane Bolt to shatter enemies or create fire bolts. You can even mix the special powers together, resulting in some devastating results like throwing a tornado into a fire wall.
With all of the Move waggling involved it can get a little frustrating, especially early on when trying to get to grips with the wands curving trick where you need to curve and flick the wrist. It is probably me but I could not and still can’t get the hang if this, taking me about 20 min to get past the tutorial, fluking it through in the end; thankfully this is rarely used with the game relying more on a simple rebuild spell that involves making a circle with the Move or puzzles that relate to the elemental powers you have available. You can also expect fatigue to set in on the more action intense areas where you will certainly start to feel the burn with manic waving of the wand as you try to defeat swarms of baddies, both on level and higher ground, it tiresome stuff being a trainee wizard.
Using either the Navigation Controller or half of a PS3 controller enables you to control the movement of Finn and bring up his shield and since your other hand is used for direct wand control the game handles most of the camera work for you with the shoulder button used to reset the view. This auto camera works well most of the time, locking onto enemies to keep them centre screen as you run around shooting with your wand but when fighting multiple enemies, especially when there are lots of low level goons and an elemental enemy in a group, the camera will not always lock onto what you feel is the priority kill. What also does not help is that the lower level goons health recharges if left alone, so if you get a few hits and the rest miss, by the time you have composed yourself they are at full heath again, not good against a swarm of enemies charging at you. All this and a slow to react camera during the boss fights, with the camera getting completely lost against the more nimble, fast moving foes and it can get a little off putting, especially when it results in a continue screen.
Though the actual game is pretty linear there are times when it’s not clear what to do next, running around walls waiting for a screen prompt to repair a bridge, levitate a blockage or using fire to blow up a cart. These moments do however force a little exploration and though all together not too hard to find, there are plenty of side alleys and hidden caves that host all manner of gold, treasures and ingredients. With the treasures you can sell them off to a mysterious merchant found wandering around certain parts of the game world, allowing you to trade in a small selection of pre-made potions and even more ingredients, with which you can create even more powerful potions.. With the ingredients collected you are able to create potions via the alchemy system, whereby using the Move to mix, grind, stir and shake three items in your cauldron in whatever order you like creates a range of potions that boost many of Finn’s attributes.
Sorcery is a fun and refreshing game to play, especially if you are looking for a Move title. I am still not convinced that playing a game such as this is a decent substitute for an adventure played with the classic controller, but there is definitely something here to warranty your consideration.
Sorcery is out now, you can order your copy here.
Rating: Excellent Review Policy (version tested: PS3/PS Move)