Sorcery Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Sorcery Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Magic In Your Hands

Two years ago, we were shown a demo of a game that held all the promise of what the Move could do. It made a lot of people excited, just for the potential to finally get their hands on a motion control game that made you feel like you were actually in charge of the action on the screen. We’ve since had several titles show off loads of possibility for the Move, Kinect, and the Wii. Even last year’s Skyward Sword showed impressively responsive motion controls, something the Wii had been promising since the beginning of the motion control life cycle. Can Sorcery, seemingly late to the party, deliver the magical world of enjoyment it initially promised? You bet your Potter it can.

You play as Finn, an impatient sorcerer’s apprentice that probably should have watched a few more Disney cartoons. Finn’s mentor, Dash, takes the slower road towards teaching his young apprentice magic, and just like most stories about impatient adolescence, it’s not fast enough. While Dash is away, Finn decides to take one of his mentor’s magic wands in order to get some illegal practice.

Sorcery Screenshot

At this point, I’m sure many of you are saying you’ve seen this movie before. Well, you’re right. In fact, Sorcery even includes a talking animal that likes to goad the protagonist into doing things that undoubtedly will not end well.

In this case, the goading animal is a feline named Erline. Erline’s desire to scare Finn and Finn’s desire for adventure and danger combine in a recipe for total disaster. Players quickly discover this as Erline pushes Finn to travel to a place wandered by the restless dead. The dead is one thing, but the restless dead seem somehow much worse.

Upon making several discoveries about Finn, the game brings the rest of the story into sharp focus. The Nightmare Queen has broken an ancient pact with mankind and threatens eternal darkness, all because she’s looking for her daughter. The evil Nightmare Queen decimates Finn’s home and leaves him with a quest befitting even the most heroic adventurers. With your guidance, Finn takes shape as an apprentice with more than just a smart mouth.

Sorcery Screenshot

This is one of the really cool things about Sorcery: You’ll develop Finn through finding ingredients to make potions. These potions can make Finn more accurate, increase his health, and even increase his own strength. While I wouldn’t call it an RPG or even RPG-lite, it definitely borrows from other action titles that allow you to level your character up as you progress. You will also slowly unlock new spells to use. Of course, these new spells seem to arrive right when the enemy is changing tactics. Again, we’ve seen this pattern before, but who’s going to complain about using a formula as tried and true as this one?

The gameplay is one of Sorcery’s strong suits. However, it is not its strongest. While the motion controls help spring the character to life, there are a few problems with them. Being told that there’s one-to-one movement in this game is not entirely the truth. Too often the “aiming and utilizing magic” motions don’t seem to match one hundred percent. This is not to say it reminds me of the overly simple waggling that Wii games seem to have championed for years, nor does it quite capture the harmonious swordplay I enjoyed with Skyward Sword.

Sorcery Screenshot

However, even with that, there’s no other way I’d rather enjoy this game. The Move working as the wand adds a layer to the game that all previous magic-based wand games have failed to capture. This isn’t to say you have the ability to just come into this game and shake the crap out of the Move controller to ultimately achieve your intended goal. With finesse and precision, though, you can truly embrace the wand magic of Sorcery and feel more and more like Finn, from the safety of your own home.

Sorcery doesn’t rely totally on wand-waving anarchy though. There are also a few challenging puzzles thrown in to keep you on your toes in between magical showdowns. Unfortunately, these are also some of the more disappointing parts of the game. There’s just not enough added extra to the gameplay. Sure, you can find different ingredients to upgrade Finn’s abilities, but outside that, there’s not much reason to look around and collect stuff. In fact, there’s not really much to collect. I’m not usually one to complain about things a game doesn’t include, but in this instance it seems like Sorcery is missing elements that have become staples in the action/adventure genre over the years. These elements would have helped, If for no other reason than to give more motivation for subsequent replays.

Sorcery Screenshot

And with graphics like this, why wouldn’t you want another reason or two to come back to this magical land? The environments are top-notch, with lavish colors and spirited terrain. The character models are fluid and in harmony with the motion controls. Enemies are playfully designed to invoke dread, but bright enough to allow a younger audience not to be intimidated by grandiose beasts of the arcane. One of the better ways this is shown is through story sequences, which are told in a motion comic book format. Instead of traditional motion comics, the scenes are laid out how you might find them in a story book. Simple, short, and completely in line with the style of Sorcery.

While the visuals are clearly meant for a younger audience, the soundtrack holds no punches for the adults among us. The music reminds me of several different Celtic-inspired theatrical themes rolled into one for a wondrous score that is like a love affair for your ears. In many recent instances, games have embraced the truly vast approach of orchestral scores. Sorcery raises the bar for action adventure and embellishes in a way that never stagnates and adds layers to the environment and the enemies you face.

Sorcery is not everything one would wish for out of a Move title. However, this is a great title to experience both the Move and an action adventure title with magical elements. Suffice to say, this game might not get the respect it deserves, but it definitely deserves your attention if you have ever thought about how cool it would be to be a wizard. (And not long ago, I believe pretty much everyone was wishing they could be a wizard.) Sorcery at least gives you that chance, without making you go through several years of life-threatening wizarding school.

Bright colors and smooth character models make this an enjoyable visual experience. 3.9 Control
Precise controls make you feel like you are in control from beginning to end. 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
An amazing score draws you in deep into this world of magic. 3.8 Play Value
Solid execution of motion controls makes this a delight to play. Your only objection will come from your own exhaustion of wizardry. 3.8 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Wield the power of a legendary sorcerer’s wondrous magic wand – Cast extraordinary magic, brew enchanted elixirs, solve ingenious puzzles, and combat the minions of darkness.
  • Power in your hands – Get closer to the action than ever before. With the PlayStation Move motion controller, you hold the apprentice’s weapon in your hands. Cast powerful spells, conjure storms, unleash walls of living fire, and transform into magical creatures. Then combine your spells for even more power. The possibilities are endless!
  • Transform from a fledgling apprentice into a master wizard – Start from humble farm boy beginnings, with only a small arsenal of magic at your disposal, and become an unstoppable magic force!
  • Journey into the dark of the Faerie Realm – Embark on your adventure throughout the dangerous Faerie Kingdom. Battle undead soldiers, corrupted forest guardians, and giant stone trolls as you face down the forces of the Nightmare Queen.

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