|Dev: The Workshop|
|Release: May 22, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes|
by Josh Wirtanen
Sorcery was first announced at E3 way back in 2010. Since then, it's been an easy title to forget about, considering the fact that it seems like it's always disappearing, only to re-emerge a few months down the road at some trade show or gaming event. Well, it's getting close to that vague "Spring of 2012" release date, so it's probably time to dig it up again and see how it's doing.
Now, part of the reason the title went dark for a while was that the developers at The Workshop weren't quite happy with the version they showed us way back in 2010. There have since been numerous tweaks and refinements, bringing the game more in line with the original creative vision. It's always good when a developer decides to delay a game to make it better rather than release a rushed project that hits a specific time slot yet falls short of its true potential. And so far, it's looking like Sorcery will be worth the wait.
The game was originally announced as a title that would make use of the PS Move controller, and, as such, this is a motion-controlled introduction to the fine art of spellcasting. Back in 2010, one of the touted features was the one-to-one movement, which made the game's protagonist move his wand in the same way the player moved the PS Move controller. Considering this was a pre-Skyward Sword world, it was impressive indeed back then. But with the almost two years that have passed since then, it's going to take more than one-to-one wandplay to impress us. Sorcery, though, has some other tricks up its sleeve.
With the focus on motion controls—and the title of the game simply being Sorcery—the spell-based combat is obviously front and center here. However, the developers didn't want the motion control aspect to limit the amount of creativity players were allowed. As such, Sorcery will allow you to use several basic spells and combine them in various ways. One example we've seen was creating a line of fire on the ground, then pushing a whirlwind through that fire to make it into a spinning vortex of flames and destruction. Another interesting twist (literally) added by the motion controls is the ability to put some curve into the trajectories of your projectile-based spells by twisting your wrist in different ways.
We don't know a whole lot about the story yet, but it sounds like the game's protagonist is a teenage boy with "humble farm boy beginnings" who, over the course of the game, becomes a powerful wizard who must do battle against the Nightmare Queen. The game's environment is said to be rather large, taking place in a land called the Faerie Kingdom. (Though, don't expect a Skyrim contender here. It sounds like players will get an experience closer in length to a Call of Duty story than a full-on Elder Scrolls experience.)
In some recent footage, we've seen evidence of talking animals that will accompany you on your journey. And speaking of animals, the 2010 gameplay demo showcased the ability of the protagonist to transform into a rat, and we were promised there would be other animals to transform into as well. Hopefully this is a gameplay element that hasn't been left on the cutting room floor (we haven't heard any mention of it lately), as it looks like it could create some pretty cool gameplay scenarios.
As far as visual aesthetic, Sorcery doesn't go for the more realistic look of an Elder Scrolls title or the fun, cartoony look of a Legend of Zelda game. Instead, it seeks to strike a balance between the two. The game's world is definitely filled with detail and darkness, but this doesn't come at the expense of color. Several of the enemies we've seen in gameplay footage have actually been brightly colored and less "sinister" than the types of critters we're accustomed to seeing in more mature fantasy titles. Even the troll featured in the game's recent trailer, while still looking fierce and strong enough to tear the protagonist to pieces, has facial features that are exaggerated to the point of being slightly cartoony.
From the footage we've seen, it looks like an art style that simply works for the title. It shouldn't alienate the motion control crowd (stereotypically put into the "casual" segment of the gaming audience), while it's not annoyingly cartoony as to scare off the more hardcore audience that the PS3 typically aims for. However, by not isolating one specific segment of the gaming public, might Sorcery have the unfortunate fate of not appealing to anyone?
Only time will tell. Either way, though, we're onboard so far. If Sorcery can manage to strike that perfect balance between core and casual—a precarious balance indeed—it could be one of 2012's early PS3 exclusive hits, and all the more reason for on-the-fence consumers to finally pick up a Move.
Editor / News Director
Date: April 12, 2012