Sorcery Casts Fun and Trouble [Review]

By Rich Shivener in Reviews
Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm
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Under Finn's spell.

Sorcerers are few and far between in this realm we call Earth, but if you've ever wanted to become one who wields magic, Sorcery is moving you in the right direction. This is a PlayStation exclusive that requires the PlayStation Move, used for combat and spell casting in a fantastic world that takes cues from fairy tales and Disney. That is, through all the alchemy, you might find that its style is enchanting yet its substance - its story, really - needs more ingredients.  More of that faerie honey, perhaps?

This Sorcery lets you jump right into spell-casting adventures. At the helm is Finn, a budding sorcerer with an insatiable curiosity that unearths plenty of trouble, namely that of ghouls and one nightmarish queen. Ever at his side is a mystical, anthropomorphic cat named Erline, who blames herself for reigniting an ancient war. Their story, full of magic, unfolds with lots of action and a few cutscenes; it's a a kid friendly, coming-of-age tale along the lines of The Sorcerer's Apprentice and The Sword and the Stone. Comedy has cast away any gore and expletives, keeping the conflict lighthearted.

Take this interaction between Erline and Finn:
"You're seriously suggesting that I drink something that's been lying around in a tomb?"
"Come on. Where's your sense of adventure?"

Unlike those tales, however, Sorcery brings you closer to the alchemy and magic. You flick the Move forward, left, right, and upward to summon and cast spells; you flip it upside down to mix such ingredients as faerie honey,  grave dust and whatever else you can scavenge or buy; and you keep moving and moving, as this is an interactive tale with much to collect, fight and unlock. And before you know it, Finn has strength-boosting potions like Bear's Blood and Stoneskin Elixir, and he also has spells that wield earth, ice, wind, fire and more. So when game requires me to summon them with the Move, I feel like I have a stronger connection to them. Suffice it to say that the Move is my (ahem) magic wand.

I enjoyed my magic wand most when Finn was casting spell combinations. When thwarting an ice troll, for instance, he can create a moving firestorm by first casting a fire wall then a whirlwind. He also can freeze smaller threats, like bogeys, and shatter them with a "Heroic Strike," or earthquake. By and large, the more I moved, the more fun I had emulating a sorcerer.

Except moving was repetitive sooner than I thought. Five hours into the game, I had my fill of burning up bogeys, which severely outnumbered ghosts and ice trolls. Perhaps I needed to try Sorcery on less "Casual" setting?



My only qualm with the Move is its calibration. Sometimes I had trouble flicking my spells directly at the enemy, and I couldn't tell if the game requires pinpoint accuracy. My trouble wasn't a talestopper, though, as it seemed like the game compensated for my poor aiming. If my conjecture is true, then I think Sorcery moves well.

I can't say the same for its design, which had some faulty wizardry. I experienced some choppy cutscenes, especially when Finn was acquiring a new nexus, or an item that empowered him to cast wind, ice, etc. (And, yes, I checked out my system, measuring it against installed games like Assassin's Creed II and Little Big Planet.) In addition, the realms are expansive but far from malleable. I was hoping Finn could climb all kinds of surfaces and manipulate environments with the flick of a wrist. Alas, he had boundaries, blocked by invisible shields that prevented him from, say, falling off a ledge; my sense of exploration was nil.

Overall, Sorcery has spellbinding gameplay, but its story and aesthetics could be banished to a PS2 - or, dare it say it, an N64. Adults might desire some polishes to really feel like a sorcerer. But I'm sure kids won't notice, or care.

The Official Verdict: 3 out of 5

This review is based on a PS3 copy of the game provided by the publisher.




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