Sorcery: Spell casting proves spectacular selling point

The wizarding-world game Sorcery is one of the first built specifically for the Move controller, PlayStation's motion-sensing answer to the likes of Wii, and certainly shows its potential.


From: The Workshop/SCE Santa Monica

For: PlayStation3


The third-person, single-player, role-playing game follows the adventures of apprentice sorcerer Finn, who must foil the evil plans of the Nightmare Queen in order to save his friend, Erline, from her clutches.

Our hero heads into the nightmare badlands to set the world to rights, accompanied in his quest by Erline, who has taken the form of a cat, which is to say, a feline. Erline's role for most of the game is to provide sarcastic comments in the background, although a more problematic contribution arises later on. We won't say any more about that here.

Other than the bad guys, the only other character of note is the Wandering Alchemist, who randomly turns up to sell Finn potion ingredients.

The game is set in an ancient world of Celtic-inspired stone towns, ruins and castles, and magic forests, with some slightly disorientating twisted walkways thrown in to link different sections.

The graphics are nicely drawn, icy sections providing particular visual interest.

Sorcery is played only with the Move controllers, the handle with the glowing orb on top in your wand hand, and the Move navigation stick in the other.

The controls are pretty straightforward, so it doesn't take long to find your feet. In fact, Finn's a little limited in terms of range of movement and athletic ability, unable to climb or jump over obstacles of any size. This is offset to some extent by Finn's ability to shape-shift, though one of the forms he takes is even more constrained in terms of movement - you'll see.

The game's strong point is the spell-casting.

As you advance in the game your repertoire of spells grows and gets very cool indeed. There is not a huge number of different spells, but when you can conjure a spiralling electric storm, you don't need too many.

It is the spell-casting that really puts you in the game. On screen, Finn waves his wand according to your movements, making the gaming experience much more involving than the buttons on a standard controller can provide.

You really do feel like you are casting spells. In a similar way, you stir up potions using the Move controller as a spoon.

The game follows a familiar format of battling through a series of environments, leading to a showdown with a big bad guy.

The lower-level evil minions - sylphs, bogies, spiders and restless dead - don't pose much of a challenge. Some of the bosses are a different story, though once you have worked out the required technique to defeat them, they too bite the dust without too much trouble.

Where the game lets itself down a little, is length. It's all over fairly quickly and there's really no reason to return to the fray. There are trophies to collect, but you wouldn't go back just to pick them up.

Something like an extra multiplayer battle mode would have been nice.

-Hamish (12) and Finn McKinlay (10).




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