When the Playstation Move was announced a few years ago at E3 it wasn’t all that surprising that Sony entered the motion gaming arena. Two years later there really hasn’t been a killer app to show the use case for the platform and like many out there I had put my Move into a drawer and hadn’t thought about it for quite sometime. That changed around a week ago when I received a review copy of Sorcery one of very few “Move Only” games to come out. So does Sorcery create a market for the Move again or is this too little to late?
I am going to start with the story and work our way through some of my main takeaways from playing through Sorcery over the past week. You play as Finn the young overly enthusiastic apprentice who stumbles upon a powerful wand and ends up going on a quest to save the Faerie Realm from the evil Queen. Along with you throughout your journey is Erline a talking cat that provides advice as well as comedic relief. The story isn’t all that interesting. There is little to no investment in the backstory of any of the characters including Finn and Erline.
Sorcery is an action adventure game. You will go from point A to point B with very few opportunities to go off the predetermined path. Along the way you will encounter more and more bad guys with varying degrees of difficulty. I played Sorcery on normal and for the first hour or two of the game I used the two starting attacks for almost all enemies and it worked extremely well. To increase the difficulty as you go forward the game both throws more enemies at you and also changes up which attacks will incur more damage.
So lets start talking about the controls; probably the most interesting portion of Sorcery. First I can report that the controls work as well if not better then any Nintendo Wii game I have played. You play with the Playstation Move controller that acts as your wand and the navigator controller, which moves Finn around. To cast a spell all you do is flick the wand and book off the spell goes. If your enemy is hiding behind a rock put a little english on the Move and curve it around to take the enemy out.
If you need to take some potion press square shake the controller and lean it back as if you’re drinking your Move controller and your good. The controls in my opinion are the double edge sword of this game. They are accurate and do a solid job of immersing you into the world. I was a huge fan of the Move orb changing colors to match the spell or potion you are using, simple but effective.
Where things go array is about thirty minutes into a play through. So I mentioned just a few sentences ago that you flick the move controller to cast a spell and that the further you go into the game the more enemies start to appear on screen and the more damage an enemy can take. Well usually at around the thirty-minute mark of any play through I start to have wrist fatigue. You literally are going from what area to another and then flicking your wrist twenty maybe thirty times per area and after a while I can say that my wrist start to feel soar.
To its credit Sorcery is a very approachable game. The audience in which I believe Sorcery is intended (ages 8-15) will probably appreciate the over the top banter between characters and linear gameplay. From my experience Sorcery lost its appeal pretty quickly and became a battle between enjoying the immersion in the controls and fighting a pain in my wrist. There is nothing inherently wrong with the way the game plays but it’s missing those crucial transitional points in a game where your re-energized to continue the experience. Sorcery sticks pretty close to the experience your introduced with fifteen minutes in and your left doing much of the same at the end of the game.
Sorcery reminds me of a pre-Pixar Disney move. The use of color is by far the best thing I can say for Sorcery that outside of that is a pretty drab experience. One of my biggest gripes is on the character models, Finn is one of the most uninteresting main characters I have seen in a game and his partner in crime Erline isn’t much better. This is not a game that you will be showing off to your friends with your new 60” LED TV, but it is capable enough to get the job done.
Playing Sorcery did remind me of what a neat device the Playstation Move is and can be given the right experience. To its credit Sorcery does a fantastic job of using the Playstation Move and making it feel like an integrated part of the game. My big problem with it is how heavily the game relies on the flicking motion, which as mentioned earlier did make my wrist pretty soar afterwards. Combine that with the fact that your just constantly flicking over and over again without much in the ways of challenge coming at you and you have a game that gets stale pretty quickly.
On paper Sorcery is a game that seems perfectly suited for the launch Playstation Move, not a game to come out for the platform two years after its release. Sorcery ends up being held back by a lack of creativity. It manages to use the Playstation Move pretty well but everything else is easily forgotten.