Sorcery (PlayStation Move)
We all know the story, boy becomes apprentice, apprentice is set tasks, apprentice goes to boardroom, gets fired... sorry, wrong media. Boy becomes apprentice, befriends a talking cat, gets too big for his boots, steals a magic wand, chaos ensues... that's the starting point for Sony's latest Move release which see's us dance around our living room, move controller in hand, casting spells and generally trying to save the world.
We start Sorcery as a pretty powerless apprentice though one who clearly doesn't like to stick to rules. Our PS3 controller, or Move Navigation controller allows us to navigate the game world in a 3rd person perspective and X is primarily used to interact (Climb, drop, dodge, etc). Through a little exploring we find our magic wand and in the process the game introduces a number of Move motion related controls in quick succession. We can push forward to insert keys, twist to turn, shake to activate potions and turn upside down to drink.
After this the real fun begins as the game introduces us, via some target practice, to spell casting. We simply flick/wave the Move wand in the direction of an enemy/target and a bolt fires. Advanced moves such as curving shots and shooting high/low are available too along with the ability to move objects and interact with the game world at various set points. We can for example mend bridges or open chests by "drawing" circles with the wand at appropriate times.
From here on in we get an action RPG experience where we must explore dungeons, towns and larger environments to defeat the numerous waves of foes in our way with the end of each segment putting us up against a boss (with the occasional mini-boss along the way too).
Breaking up the action elements we have exploring tasks where we must gather items and coins by breaking open crates, barrels, skulls and the like to boost our inventory. As the game progresses we can then combine items to create boost potions and buy/sell items as required. We can also create temporary spells through this method and gain additional bound spells as we progress, making us more powerful as the game continues.
Along the way we also gain trophy achievements as is normal for PS3 games however there is no multiplayer to add to the content... it's just us and our cat vs. the world.
Graphics and Audio
Sorcery uses the Unreal Engine and so before it even begins the potential is there to impress and overall the developers have done a decent job visually. There is plenty of view distance with minimal popup and the almost cartoony graphics ease the workload to keep framerates smooth most of the time. Items of interest and our foes are easy to see within the environment and helpful hints are always present, whether they be via on screen text or the wisps that inhabit the game world, leading us to important areas.
On the audio front we get voice acting from the main characters which is performed to a reasonable standard. The script is decent and music fits in well with the theme of each area with more dramatic score elements kicking in as on screen events play out.
When motion controllers were first introduced by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony there were a few game subjects which seemed well suited to the control method. Star Wars play would be one, party/dance games another and right up there with them on the list would be magic. Until now though the magic side of things has been very much under-represented on all three platforms which seems odd but Sorcery resolves that and does so reasonably well.
With this being a Move title we were always going to require the second controller for movement to assist our Wand and the controls via the stick are responsive. Auto camera angles work well the majority of the time and when they don't we can centre the view to resolve any issues. Our motion controls are all very intuitive with a good level of accuracy and it is easy to action moves right from the beginning of the game.
There are a few niggling issues which take the shine off the game a little though. Some of the scripting can be a little repetitive, or not match the gameplay exactly. In other areas events which unlock the next section of gameplay sometimes don't fire until we pass over a point exactly which causes backtracking. There are few things more annoying in modern games than the illusion of free world roaming being interrupted because the game didn't register our progress correctly and "unlock" the next area. Additionally, the controls are occasionally contradictory. We can for example drop down from some edges, but not others.
Interestingly the world of Sorcery has a real old school feel to it, constantly reminding us of games from a number of years ago... the likes of old Amiga point and click adventures or maybe it's because or main hero wears a green hooded cloak at some points? Whatever the case this is clearly a game designed by developers who are not afraid to use inspiration from classic games in creating their own charming magical world.
On the whole a nice variation of spells, moves and unlocks as we progress keeps things fresh, something which elevates the game past the initial random wand waving against on running foes. An enjoyable Move title with a decent enough story which, if it was Harry Potter branded, would probably be the most enjoyable game in that franchise.
Sorcery is available with the complete Move bundle for £57.99 at Amazon.co.uk