Let’s start things by flashing back to E3 2010 when The Workshop’s Sorcery was announced. The thought of getting to play a sorcerer and use the PS Move controller like a magic wand was awesome enough, but couple that with an enveloping story in a lush world and you had many of us long before hello. So, for two years we waited and wondered, some speculated that the title would not meet the lofty expectations while others praised the extended release cycle as a sign that Sony and The Workshop wanted to put out a near perfect product. So, does Sorcery zap the mark and finally give us a true PS Move experience, or will it come off as yet another cheap title with PS Move capability tacked on? Let’s warm up those flailing arms and head for the Faerie Kingdom as we review Sorcery for the PlayStation 3.
The game opens with a really cool storyboard movie that introduces us to our character Finn, Erline the talking cat and Finn’s mentor, Dash. Finn is an ultra likable young apprentice who has a tendency to get in trouble around the castle and, as a result, spends many days shining bed pans to make up for all of the mischief. Erline is a talking cat who you will find out is nothing more than a vessel for someone or something else. All the characters are well voiced and believable. The witty banter between Finn and Erline did a great job keeping me smiling even when things were at their doomed-est. The story will take you through a place called the Faerie Kingdom, as the Nightmare Queen is attempting to cover the land in darkness and release her minions to rule. All of this is pretty standard fare, but the story is told at almost a perfect pace with just the right amount of cut scenes to keep things moving.
Game play can be a mixed bag. If you are a person who cannot use the PS Move or navigation controller I strongly recommend looking elsewhere for entertainment. You will quickly notice that all game play is based tightly around the Move wand, and there are no other control options. I also recommend having a navigation controller for this title. Yes, as the package and intro states, you can use the Dual Shock controller, but this becomes a headache as you only use the left half and will have to hold both controllers at all times. Most of what you do in-game will revolve around using your left hand and a controller to move Finn as your right will be handling this magic wand. A tutorial is included at the beginning, which did a good job of getting me solid on basic movement and such, and continues to aptly explain and train you each time a new ability or spell is added. I do commend The Workshop for not having a massive, laborious tutorial when starting this game. You will head out on your first adventure feeling shorthanded only to realize you have exactly what you need, and Finn only gets more powerful as you progress.
Finn will travel from area to area via portals, which are cool and trippy hallway like corridors that connect different zones. All the while, Erline is there to keep you company, take a few jabs and explain all the whats and whys of the current goings on. Even if you do not get into the lore here, there is really no worry because things are explained well in-game and in-between, via the storyboard cut scenes. The moves are diverse, and they are upgraded throughout the game to keep things fresh. In no time, you will go from hitting someone with a puny arkane bolt to tossing them in a fire-filled tornado of death. Your spells come in five types: Earth, Ice, Fire, Wind and Lightning.
Each of these has a direct attack, executed by snapping the wand at an on-screen enemy, and an area attack that provides protection and damages more than just one close foe. A close range is completed by waving the wand left to right. I did have issues at times getting the game to register if I was doing a ranged attack or a close maneuver. This was only an issue when there were multiple targets that required a specific attack. The automatic targeting of enemies did a good job frustrating me. A lot of the boss fights had me dealing with minions along with the boss, but if the camera was locked on a minion and a boss was attacking, I needed to dispose of the small foe before engaging the boss. This was a headache, as minions are spawned continually throughout the fights.
The camera is more or less fixed in place with just the ability to hit a button and have it snap back front and center. This was a pretty major issue when surrounded by enemies, and the camera cannot be controlled in the slightest. There were many times the camera would be behind me and I would be backed against a wall by a group of enemies. When this happened, not only was there no sight of my character, but I could not roll out of harm’s way. As the game progressed, I made it a point to stay away from walls, keeping nothing behind me to avoid being trapped like I had been initially.
I was also tasked with creating my own power-increasing potions from items I had picked up or purchased. It was cool and kinda fun to actually mix and prepare the potion in a cauldron on screen. The geeky side of me also loved the fact that each time I made a potion my character had to drink, I would have to shake the wand to mix it and then do a drinking motion to consume it. Each potion has it’s own color represented on the PS Move controller when mixing. The use of individual colors in my hand matching what was on screen was a nice touch to help immerse me in the world.