Sorcery Hands-On Preview

If you’ve ever looked at the PlayStation Move remote and hoped to wield it like a magic wand, Sony most definitely has you covered. The electronics giant will soon be releasing Sorcery, a motion game that has been in the works for a while now. Its goal is to make seasoned gamers, children and newcomers, feel like powerful spell-casters. I recently enrolled in magic school, in order to see how that dream has been turned into digital entertainment, and I’m happy to report that the results are very positive.

Upon picking up Sony‘s two high-tech motion controllers, I was quickly briefed regarding the roles of certain buttons. Even though Sorcery is predominantly controlled through arm movements, some traditional inputs are also required. They become extremely handy when one must pull up a shield for protection or change spells – the latter being a joint procedure that results in players using both motion and button commands. Although it took a few moments to get used to everything, I quickly found that the game’s designed inputs made sense and combined well with its required wrist flicks.

Once the tutorial was over, it was time to start the first level. This was where I became well-versed in the ways of motion gaming wizards. Through the flick of a wrist, my young avatar could shoot a spell forward, although more advanced movements were required to defeat baddies with shields, as well as those situated on top of ridges. Pulling off each shot became second nature after a bit of practice, although the device ended up misinterpreting the odd shot. Sure, that was a tad on the annoying side, but it wasn’t overly-detrimental to the experience. Since spells can be fired off quickly, missing one only required a brief adjustment. It was also through this practice that I became better and started to arc my high shots a bit more.

Earlier on, I referenced having to employ a different game plan in order to take out shielded foes. Certain baddies will hide behind, or protect themselves with, sturdy objects. Hitting their bodies through straight on means is nearly impossible as you’d expect, so curved shots must be employed. Those are thankfully easy to pull off – at least, once you get the hang of things. It took me a few tries to get used to the low swipe movement that would result in such an attack. However, after that brief trial and error period, I had fun magically harming enemies who thought they were impervious to damage. Thankfully, the in-game sorcerer’s evasion tactics and magic attacks are much more creative than his foes’.

Another neat mechanic you’ll want to get used to is combining spells. Pressing the PS Move button will bring up your available elemental attacks, allowing for quick movement selection. If you pick fire, for example, and then act like you’re drawing a horizontal line in the sand, the game will create such a thing. Once that is done, pressing the same button will reinstate the game’s default spell. Casting it through your newly-created line of fire will result in powerful fireballs, which are an understandable asset. It’s nice to have this combination option, as it adds variety to the experience, and actually ended up being one of the most memorable parts of the demo.

Overall, I was quite impressed with Sorcery, which seems like it could end up being one of the better motion titles released thus far. Although there were a couple of hiccups, the game ran and played well. It was also fun, which is the most important thing, after all. If a game isn’t fun, then it doesn’t matter how good it looks. Thankfully, Sorcery succeeds in both categories, delivering an experience that is also visually appealing.

Sorcery will be released on May 22.