Alright, let's get this show on the road. 4 games...GO!
: : PS3 (Platinum #60)
People on this site probably have a huge misconception that I hate Nintendo and I similarly hate motion control due to my various posts over the years railing against both. They're wrong on both, but let's just focus on motion control for the moment: my problem with the Wii has never been the idea of having to do motion control for certain games, but rather that the technology flat-out doesn't work
and it certainly
doesn't work reliably. Then Nintendo proceeded to shove it into games it didn't belong in, performing functions that correspondingly (due to waggle) were either obnoxious or unreliable at best. Even Skyward Sword's motion control wasn't terribly reliable in my experience.
Now here's Sony with the PlayStation Move, a device I've found in the past to be even worse at motion control than the Wiimote, due to most of the games that support it using it as a pointer device whose usefulness is entirely dependent on the lighting in your room. I've often considered getting rid of the thing but after playing the long-delayed, recently-released Sorcery I'm glad I held onto it because it's a pretty decent (if extremely flawed) budget title.
In Sorcery, you (naturally) play as a teenage Sorceror's Apprentice named Finn, apparently quite skilled in wrecking anything he manages to point a magic wand at. After a misadventure in a nearby cave to scavenge for potion ingredients with his talking cat Erline, the Evil Nightmare Queen arises to attack the duo and reclaim Erline as part of her plan to Take Over the World.
So, young Finn and Erline set out to find a way to stop the Nightmare Queen, with Finn gradually growing from an incompetent, cocky spell-slinger to an earnest heroic figure. As simple as this story is (it's "Fantasy Hero's Journey 101"), I thought the game sold it very well through the constant and entertaining Uncharted-style banter between Finn and Erline, as well as the simple but stylized 2D "storybook" cutscenes between chapters. The characters are memorable, and the storytelling is rather gentle and earnest while still having just enough bite to it. It's "child-like" without being "childish". In many ways, this game reminds me of the similarly-budget titled "Majin & the Forsaken Fortress" in that respect.
Being a PlayStation Move-required game (and I'd argue a Nav controller-required game as well, unless you really
like holding an entire Dualshock 3 in one hand and a Move wand in the other), obviously the big question is "how are the controls?" Well, I'm surprised to say they work astonishingly well, especially for a PlayStation Move game: you cast spells by flicking the Move in the direction and trajectory you wish them to hit. That means that if you want to hit someone off to the far left, you flick your wand in an arc to the far left. If you want to hit an opponent above you, you perform a quick flick above your head with an arc heading upwards. To switch spells, you merely have to hold a button to bring the game into slow-motion while making a quick flick or rotation to switch to the elemental type you want to use. It's all very simple; fast; and largely intuitive, with the exception of switching to Wind Magic (which I eventually learned to do by raising the wand over my head and waving the Move like a helicopter propeller). The motion control works
because the developers were smart enough to limit the gestures to simple flicks, sweeps, and circles both the Move controller and the player can easily understand. There's also a certain degree of finesse to how you flick the Move that just isn't there in other Move games. It also helps, of course, that there's a very generous amount of aim-assistance on spell-casting.
One key aspect of the game I thought was really cool, though, was the potion-brewing system. Throughout the game, you can take ingredients you either purchase or find in chests, and use them to brew potions that grant Finn permanent stat increases (more health, greater fire damage, etc.). When you do so, the game takes you to a separate screen where you actually brew the potion using motion control, sprinkling the magic dust; grinding the mushrooms; pouring the magic water; stirring the mixture; etc. And once you're done, you use the potion just by shaking the Move controller until it's ready (with the light shifting from a light color to a dark one) and performing a "drinking" motion. That all works really
well and feels really natural.
I think the key problem with Sorcery is how Sony has decided to hype and market it: as this "epic, awe-inspiring, and immersive hardcore fantasy experience." Having played the entire game to completion twice now, this game is not "that
" in any way, shape, or form. It's a child-oriented fantasy budget title where you flick various magic spells at waves of enemies in a way similar to a 3rd person shooter. It's not a particularly polished game and it's not a particularly deep
game mechanically, but I also don't think it's a bad
game. In fact, the game has some really solid and enjoyable ideas that probably just needed more time to develop into something great. I wish some of the "kids' games" I played growing up had this much thought behind them. Similarly, the story could have been something quite memorable with more time and levels to flesh out the characters. As it is, the game is merely average altogether, but if you have kids and the equipment to play the game, I think they would have a lot of fun with it. It's apparently a better "Harry Potter" game than any of the actual
Harry Potter games have been.
Incidentally, it may only have been a coincidence but shortly after playing this game, the Dualshock 3 I normally have assigned to my PS3 broke...seemingly permanently. It will no longer sync with my PS3. It may just be a coincidence, but consider yourself warned.
Damn, that was a long one.
Thankfully, there's not so much to explain in the others so they should be much shorter.
And the others will be worse
But seriously, Sorcery is a decent game and I DO
recommend it if you have the equipment to play it.