Ever since I saw the demo of Sorcery at E3, I have been waiting for it eagerly. Now it’s finally time to see if it lives up to the hype. The game’s hero is a sorcerer’s young apprentice named Finn. He is curious, rebellious, cheeky and utterly scornful of rules and instructions. Tell him not to do something is a sure way of getting him to do exactly that. With him is Erline, his magical cat. She has an insufferable know-it-all attitude and takes great pleasure in needling Finn at his apparent lack of control over his magical skills. Things start getting troublesome when it is revealed that Erline is actually the fairy princess in disguise, hiding from her mother, the Nightmare Queen. Of course, the queen storms into town, levels half of it and kills Dash. Thus begins Finn and Erline’s journey to reach the fairy king, while trying to avoid getting caught by the Nightmare Queen’s forces.
As the name implies, the heart of the game is magic, and the Move motion controller becomes your wand. Flicking it causes spells to be cast. Apart from the straight line casts, you can also move the wand in an arc, which causes the Arcane Bolts to curve around obstacles and hit your targets. As you move ahead in the game, you will get different spell classes; lightning, fire, ice, earth and fire. Pressing the Move button will bring up the list and flicking the wand in the appropriate pattern will activate the corresponding element, which is where the fun starts. Take fire, for example. You can flick the wand to scorch enemies, or you can move the wand in a horizontal sweeping motion to create a wall of fire. Need more mayhem? Switch to wind, sweep again to summon a tornado, which will combine with your firewall to turn into a firestorm and burn to a crisp every Tom, Dick and Harry trying to take pot shots at you.
Enemies will also be colour coded with respect to their elemental affiliations. Ice trolls will be blue and will shrug off ice attacks. Fire shamans will be red and will shrivel up and die if you hit them with ice bolts. The elemental spells are also required to open up paths that are blocked. Best of all – fill up your power bar, press the trigger, hold the controller up and bring it down sharply as if hitting the ground with a hammer and then watch all the enemies in the screen get knocked off their feet. Of course, not all spells were given equal love. I found the earth spells to be completely useless and didn’t use them apart from the times I flicked my wand incorrectly and it got activated.
Movement is controlled by your standard PS3 controller or the Move navigation controller. I played the game with the standard controller and I suspect the other controller would be more comfortable. Throughout your journey, you will come across various treasures and ingredients. Ingredients can be combined in certain orders to prepare magical potions. These potions not only power you up, but their effects are also permanent. To prepare potions, you need to pour, sprinkle, grind and stir, all with your motion controller. Tapping the controller gently will cause the ingredients to fall in the cauldron gently. If you want to speed things up, just shake the damn thing hard. To drink the potion, first shake it, then turn the controller upside down to drink it. I actually ended up putting the controller in my mouth when I was trying to drink a health potion.
The graphics are pretty solid. It is great to see that the developers have paid attention to the world and not just the Move parts. The spell animations are smooth and it’s thrilling to watch those monstrous firestorms and lightning storms carve out a path of destruction. The voice actors for Finna, Dash and Erline are excellent too, but the Nightmare Queen, while not bad, was just a little over the top.
Unfortunately, all the goodies were packed into a very short single-player campaign that will last anywhere from five hours on the easy settings to a couple of hours more on the harder settings. There are no bonus levels, no side quests and no hidden treasures to be found. The game is as linear as it can get. There are also no multiplayer or co-op modes available. Also, a little more time could have been devoted to explain the Nightmare Queen’s motivations.