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Sorcery Preview

by on April 24, 2012
 

Sorcery-PreviewIt would be fair to say that people might need a little reminding of what Sorcery is. Unveiled at E3 2010, Sorcery looked set to be the hardcore game for PlayStation Move fans, but it went rather dark afterwards and we’ve heard little or nothing about it since; at least it had gone dark until now.

First things first, this is no party game collection. Far too many motion controlled games, be it Move, Kinect or the Wii, are simply a collection of party games, which is part of the problem for the core gamer. You’d expect Sony’s Santa Monica Studios to produce a “proper” game and it appears they have delivered in spades.

The formula for making the killer Move game actually seems rather simple; you have this incredibly precise motion controller that can be utilised with the navigation controller to allow the player to have complete control over movement and thus, the adventure. This is why Sorcery feels so excellent in the hands. There is absolutely nothing “on-the-rails” about Sorcery, you have complete control over your character, but you also have the ability to move the camera, so you can dodge enemy attacks with the roll move then correct the camera, if needed, pretty quickly, so you’re never blindsided by enemy attacks.

Sorcery-Preview-Combat

So movement is covered, but what do the motion controls do? Put simply, the Move controller is your magic wand. Whatever angle an enemy is attacking you from – they’ll come at you direct, they’ll hide behind cover, they’ll fire arrows at you from high – you can fire magic spells at them. The precision of the Move tech itself lends itself so well to this kind of gameplay, but they don’t stop there. You can curve your shots too, so if an enemy is in cover you can bend the spell round the (for example) rock they’re hiding behind and nail them still. As you progress you’ll unlock yet more toys to play with, including a shield which can be used to protect yourself from enemy attacks or even just used to barge the enemy in order to give yourself some breathing space. The generic arcane bolt spell is unlimited, but the more powerful magic like Earth uses up a meter, so has to be used sparingly.

Sorcery also differs from most motion controlled games in difficulty too. Among the difficult settings – and there are quite a few – there is a “gamer” setting, although it isn’t the hardest setting, it will definitely see your skills tested in combat. The first major boss was actually quite tricky, using the age old technique of memorising patterns, it required a deft hand and some quick reflexes to defeat.

Once you’ve explored the first dungeon, you’ll start to learn even more about the mechanics though, and a simple arcane bolt can be transformed into a flaming one by throwing it through fire before it hits the enemy. This does massive damage, as you’d expect. All of this is done whilst looking gorgeous. Sorcery has a distinctive art style about it, almost cartoon-like, yet retaining a realistic appearance; it’s a really pretty game.

sorcery-preview-mending-bridge

Sorcery manages to marry exploration into its experience and you’ll be off finding treasure chests galore in no time. This actually leads me to one of the best things about the entire game; how natural it feels. To open a chest you don’t have to go up and press an arbitrary button, instead you wave your magic wand in an anti-clockwise direction to open it. You’d think this would get old fast, but somehow it doesn’t, the immersive feeling it creates is palpable. Moving the wand in a clockwise direction however, fixes broken parts of the environment. So for example, if you go up to a broken bridge and swing your wand around, it will fix the bridge, allowing you access to something previously hidden away.

In a similar manner, to drink a health potion you have to hold a button to get it out, shake the potion, then raise it to drink it. Try as you might, every single time you’ll hold the “potion” to your mouth, even though you don’t have to. You also have a telekinesis ability which helps you solve puzzles and find yet more secret areas – always a joy – and this is done by simply moving the Move controller in a sideways motion. Simple, intuitive, fun.

sorcery-preview-telekinesis

It’s with great trepidation I say this, dear reader, but it all feels very much like…Zelda. Finding treasure chests, solving puzzles, fighting enemies toward an eventual boss, a humorous storyline with dark undertones, getting keys for doors. There’s something in Sorcery that will appeal to most gamers on a deep level, it has that secret formula that somehow makes the player want to move the story forward and see the next magical thing they could get to use.

The core gamers who are also PlayStation Move fans may have endured a bit of a torrid time, but Sorcery looks set to be the hardcore experience we’ve been waiting for; maybe even the first must-own title. Combining fun exploration with great combat, I simply couldn’t put Sorcery down. The precision of the controls, along with a really enjoyable sense of humour and hugely engaging gameplay means that Sorcery is set to be a truly exciting game when it is released this May.

Sorcery is set for release on May 23rd in Europe, May 22nd in North American and June 13th in Japan, exclusively for PlayStation 3 with Move.

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  • Lee Garbutt

    It’s shocking that Sony aren’t making a big song and dance over this. Sorcery should have been an early Move game.

  • http://www.MartinJBaker.org.uk Martin Baker

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want this. Finally something half decent to use the Move controller with!

  • Anonymous

    Shocking maybe, but not surprising. Sony seem almost embarrased by Move, given the almost total lack of support they have given it.

  • http://GodisaGeek.com/ Adam Cook

    Which is such a shame (imho), because it’s the best motion control tech out there. The precision on some games is incredible!

    I really hope people give this a try, it’s excellent :-)

  • Anonymous

    I tend to agree with you, though I am no fan of that glowing ball at the end ;)

    The sad thing is that I bought a Move starter pack pretty much on release, got some little use out of it but was waiting for titles such as this to really put some hours into it as most of the early stuff was poor.

    Fast forward to now and I no longer have a working PS3 as my Phat died a second time and I’m still too angry with Sony (pay a small fortune for a repair only for it to fail 5 months later and be told that the repair warranty was a pathetic 3 months!) to buy another one. However, I still have my Move knowing that at some point I will pony up for an ugly Slim and have been looking for that killer Move title that will push me over the edge*. And in over a year there has been nothing of any worth at all. Really, really sad state of affairs.

    (*The only game I regret not being able to play is U3, a non-Move title. Almost bought a Slim last year just for that.)

    Your preview here makes me think this may just be the game I have been waiting for. But then I seem to recall your Kinect Star Wars preview being pretty damn good and it appears the final code was somewhat less than engaging ;)

  • http://GodisaGeek.com/ Adam Cook

    Sadly the three month warranty is something a lot of companies do, Sky TV are especially bad for it.

    I didn’t preview Kinect Star Wars personally, but we ended up giving it 7/10, which isn’t a “bad” score, for sure.

    One of the reasons I liked so much of Sorcery is that it’s not like the other motion controlled games. Most of them (all of them?) are mini-games, whereas this is a proper video game as people like us know them. There may be mini-games in the game I didn’t get to see, but it just felt like a proper adventure game to me.

    It shouldn’t have taken this long to get a game like this though, I’d agree there.

  • Anonymous

    I think I was spoilt (if you can call it that) by my RLOD experience which of course was repaired for free but also came with a renewed 12 month warranty.

    With my PS3 I’m sure they probably mentioned the 3 months as they took my £130, but I don’t remember it. It has left a bitter taste though ;)

    About Sorcery though (as this news post isn’t about my personal woes :)) I’m very, very impressed by what I now see. When it was originally shown is looked good, but a ‘slight’ experience. Now, as you say, it looks like a proper game. Really interested to see how this turns out.

  • http://GodisaGeek.com/ Adam Cook

    That’s the thing, when I was playing it – and then writing it – I sat down for a little while trying to think of a PS Move or 360 Kinect experience that *wasn’t* ultimately a tarted up “mini game experience”…and I still can’t think of any apart from The Gunstringer.

    This is defintely a “proper” game, I’m hesitant to say it, but it’s an adventure game in the style of Zelda, with chests, keys etc, it’s just good fun.