I imagine our Reviews Editor, Jim Sterling, isn’t alone in yearning for PlayStation Move-exclusive titles beyond the scope of minigame collections and tech demos. Sony announced one such game, Sorcery, back at E3 2010, but hasn’t shown much of it in the eighteen months since then.
Sorcery (PlayStation Move)
The protagonist is a young sorcerer’s apprentice who’s just starting out in the world of wizardry. His master’s cat dares him to venture into Lochbarrow, the land of the undead, and -- being a carefree young farm boy -- he does. In this case, their curiosity only results in the apprentice accidentally unleashing the power of nightmare upon the world. So the two of them set off through the Faerie Realm to right this cosmic wrong, and perhaps do some growing up along the way. The cat serves as a feline Navi of sorts: she doesn’t participate in gameplay -- Upton assured me that “there are no escort missions” -- but provides hints and gives out bits of story. She has a deep knowledge of, and involvement in, the world; the bond between boy and cat intensifies over the course of the game.
The apprentice came upon an open area with numerous bogies, the world’s basic grunt enemies, waiting to take him down. As a mage-like character, it behooves you to engage in mid-range combat, firing away with your projectiles and area-of-effect spells; enemies are much more dangerous at close range, and melee isn’t your strong suit. Upton made quick work of the bogies, showing off a variety of elemental attacks.
Switching between elements requires quick gestures with the wand while the Move button is held down. (Upton told me that in light of focus testing feedback, The Workshop will implement button controls for spell switching.) However, he asserted that “once you learn [the gesture system], it’s really, really fast, and lets you do these powerful combos.” The team also noticed during focus testing that players who were familiar with motion games immediately began to waggle furiously, firing off many bolts in quick succession. Sorcery goes out of its way to teach players not to do that; while the game doesn’t get too difficult, Upton warned, “If you just spam bolts, you will die.”
The control method, with a Move wand in your right hand and a Navigation Controller (or DualShock 3) in your left, feels good. Yet Sorcery offers limited camera control and no lock-on targeting; when I expressed trepidations about that to Upton, he dismissed my concerns. The pinpoint control that PlayStation Move offers, he said, obviates the need for the control scheme seen in typical third-person action games. Sorcery manages the camera for you, and Move is accurate enough to ask players to simply aim where they want their attacks to go. In my experience, it didn’t quite work as Upton described. Then again, I did inadvertently rotate the Move controller “backward” in my hand (with my thumb, rather than my index finger, near the trigger), which throws off the Move’s targeting. It was much smoother sailing once I fixed the wand’s orientation. Either way, the development team is still tweaking the targeting, and I hope it’ll be as good as it needs to be by the time the game launches next spring.