Hands-On: Sorcery (gematsu.com)
At E3 2010, Sony debuted a PlayStation Move title that had the industry buzzing. But since its initial announcement, Sorcery has gone pretty ‘under the radar’ – until today. Fortunately, I got to play Sorcery during Sony’s PlayStation holiday showcase in Manhattan.Sorcery is back, and it’s been completely revamped.The most immediately noticeable change to Sorcery is its design. The art style has seen some significant changes, and the overall presentation of the game has been greatly improved. The game has lost some of its child-like appeal, and now resembles a game designed for an audience of all ages. The art direction has seen a tiny addition of grit, while still maintaining a vast amount of color, bringing the game’s wondrous world of magic to life. The graphics have been updated quite a bit. Textures have made the jump to higher resolutions, and character models have more detail than their two year old counterparts. The apprentice’s spells have been updated with more dynamic effects, making them look more realistic and engaging. Sorcery shows itself to be a full-on PlayStation 3 title, as opposed to a game developed as a quick cash-in on the PlayStation Move controller.
The controls themselves make great use of the motion controller. The peripheral is one and one with the apprentice’s wand, comparable to the Wiimote being one to one with Link’s sword in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (minus the stabbing). The controller is dead on, which is important because you need to wave and flick your wand in specific ways to cast spells and change the trajectory of your Arcane Bolts – the game’s standard spell shot. While some actions may seem a bit overzealous (such as opening treasure chests by circling your wand in front of you), most of the gestures you will make with your controller are simple, fluid, and link a sort of connection between you and the apprentice. I would have preferred to open treasure chests with just a simple upward flick. However, a horizontal flick will cast aside obstacles such as boulders that may stand in your way. This action was a perfect example of adding a layer of immersion you may not be able to find in games without a motion controller.
More complex actions are used for switching spells. While these gestures are not difficult, it can take a bit of time getting used to waving the wand the correct way. Sometimes I found myself switching to ice spells while trying to throw on wind. To switch spells, you simply hold down the Move button to bring up your spell menu, and follow the on-screen gesture for the spell you’d like to put on. To switch to fire, you’d perform a clockwise rotation; for ice, you’d go counterclockwise; and for wind, counterclockwise while pointing the controller up. Casting spells is a bit simpler than choosing them. While you have fire equipped, a single flick of the controller will create a combustion in front of you; drawing a line in front of yourself with the controller will lay down a line of fire at the apprentice’s feet. For the most part, we saw the same gestures used for different things. Waving your wand in a circle may open chests, but it will also equip your ice spell (when you’re holding the Move button, of course), and repair items and terrain. Because of this, the game feels more natural and less cluttered with tons of gestures that will have you sprawled out all over the living room floor.
Intuitive and natural controls are extremely important for Sorcery. It would be a shame if the control scheme took away from the immersion of the game, because the game world has been so radically changed. The old Sorcery was designed to be a dungeon crawler. Now, the game has been changed to suit a big and open world. During our hands-on, we saw two different environments. The first location was a dungeon that housed a secret artifact for the apprentice to collect. The dungeon was our beginner level – introducing us to the controls and gameplay. Despite being simple and straight-forward, the dungeon looked great and felt like inviting and welcoming first steps into the game world. There was a lot to see in terms of environment. Broken columns and pillars sometimes scattered across the floor, while light shined off of surfaces from blazing torches strewn about the walls and pathways.
The second area of the game was more or less an arena of sorts, filled with enemies for the apprentice to fight his way through. Being in outside area, this section of the demo actually looked a bit more tropical. Lush plant life and trees were spread here and there, the gorgeously lit sky opened up, and the sun beat down on the closed arcane gateways – which would soon open up portals for the apprentice to step through, allowing him access to parts of the map he wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. Despite how great the game looked, there were creatures waiting to get their hands on me, cutting my scenic trip just a tad short.
It doesn’t hurt a game when it has a fun and satisfying combat, right? Because that’s just what Sorcery brings to the table. Combat can be as simple as flicking arcane bolts at enemies over and over again, but the reward for exploring the combat system in Sorcery is too good to pass on. There’s nothing quite like drawing a line of fire in front of you, shooting arcane bolts over it, and turning them into fireballs as they hurl into on-screen enemies. Using wind, you can create a tornado, send it toward your enemies, shoot arcane bolts inside it, and watch the bolts fly out and knock them dead. But why not do all three? Draw a line of fire at your feet, cast a tornado through to warp it into a firestorm, and shoot arcane bolts over the line of fire to transform them into fireballs that will bounce off of the firestorm uncontrollably in every direction. Your bolts will also bounce off of a freezing foe, or will shatter the enemy if you’ve completely frozen him. We only had a small taste of the spells / combinations in Sorcery, but there are four more spells and many more combos to be made in the full game that we’ve yet to see. The combat in Sorcery is addictive, simple, intuitive, but most importantly, a lot of fun. Last I checked, that’s a good thing to have in a game.
Some things did not make it to the new version of Sorcery. While the shaking and drinking of potions, as well as the rat potion, have stayed in tact, the pumpkin transformation is now unfortunately gone. In the demo I played, I had health potions readily available, which I could use by pressing square, shaking the Move controller (to mix the potion), and performing a drinking motion with the controller.
Significant changes have been made to Sorcery, and all of its time in silence have been to reinvision the game for a more substantial audience. We are definitely excited to seeSorcery again, and we can fortunately report that the game is looking great, and may actually force me to pick up a PlayStation Move controller as the game’s nears its spring 2012 release date.
For more on Sorcery, be sure to check out our gameplay video and the official b-roll, attached below, as well as our interview with its creative director, Brian Upton. Additionally, you can check out new screenshots of the game at the gallery, and a features list from a fact sheet sent out by Sony below.
- A Real Magic World – Use the PlayStation Move motion controller as your magic wand. Cast extraordinary magic spells, brew enchanted elixirs, solve ingenious puzzles, and defeat the forces of darkness!
- Unique Combo System – The gesture-based casting system lets you chain together basic spells into powerful combos. Freeze and shatter your enemies, electrocute them with lightning called down from the heavens, or incinerate them in a lethal firestorm!
- Develop Your Character – Collect magic items, learn new spells, and concoct upgrade potions, to turn your humble apprentice into an unstoppable magic force!
- A Lusth and Varied World – Explore five unique realms, each with their own enemies and challenges. Descend into the kingdom of the dead to battle the Banshee and the Restless Dead warriors, venture into the endless stair where vicious bogies are wreaking havoc, brave the faerie forest, raid the Slumbering Palace to free Lord Fey, the Faerie King, and much more!
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Sorcery releasing Spring 2012, new info ,videos & screen shots
One of the few reasons why i have kept my PS move.
WOW Thats looking A LOT better than the innitial E3 version. Love the new look. Day 1.
Hands-on: Sorcery Casts a Spell on PlayStation Move This SpringBU: What we showed at E3 was largely organized around a dungeon crawl, and we realized we didn’t want that. We wanted a full-blown fantasy world, not a series of tunnels. A lot of our re-tooling involved moving the action gameplay into a more free-flowing space. The E3 version also had a much younger hero, and the enemies were a lot more cartoonish. We though, “you know, we have a game here that would appeal to a hardcore PlayStation gamer…and it looks a little bit like Spyro!” [laughs] We didn’t want people to get the wrong impression, so we wanted to bring the visuals in-line with the gameplay.
+ Posted by Sid Shuman // Senior Social Media Specialist
One of the more memorable action games I’ve played this year is a game uses the PlayStation Move motion controller to paint a symphony of destruction. Last seen at the E3 2010 PlayStation press conference, Sorcery captured the imaginations of PS3 owners while remaining tantalizingly out of reach. At last week’s PlayStation media showcase in New York City, I was finally allowed to go hands-on with Sorcery and speak with its design director, Brian Upton, who stated that the game is on-track to release this spring.
Sorcery is running on a heavily modified version of the Unreal engine, and the art direction has progressed by leaps and bounds since its last showing. The game now skews a bit older, with nastier monster designs and edgier spellcasting combat. Watch the video, read our full Q&A, then let us know what you think of Sorcery in the comments!
PlayStation.Blog: I’ll cut to the chase: Why have we had to wait so long to see Sorcery again?
Brian Upton, design director, Sorcery: Coming out of E3, we knew there were some things we weren’t happy with. We really wanted to re-tool the game’s look, its world. We had the gameplay we wanted, but it just wasn’t ready for public consumption.
PSB: Tell me a bit about the character and quest. What’s changed since the original debut?
BU: The hero is Finn, he’s a sorcerer’s apprentice and a real hothead: he’s always trying to learn things he’s not ready to learn yet. When the game starts, your master’s magical talking cat, Erline, dares Finn into venturing into the realm of the dead. Finn, being the guy he is, can’t resist.
In the realm of the dead, you accidentally unleash something very, very bad. The consequences are dire for you and the entire world, so the quest is to undo the trouble you’ve caused. You also begin to realize the Erline is much more than a magical talking cat: she’s central to the whole problem that you’ve created. You’re cast somewhat in the role of Erline’s protector, you’re trying to get her from the human world to the heart of the faerie world to fix this problem.
PSB: Once I got my hands on Sorcery, I was particularly surprised by the intensity of the combat. What does spellcasting bring to combat?
BU: We noticed that with a lot of motion-controlled games, it works a bit like Simon Says: you’re told to do something and you do it. But that’s not how action games work. Action games let you be creative, to craft your own solutions to the problems you face. So we wanted a game that taught you easy gestures, which became tools that you can use in combat. You can use basic spells in a variety of ways, but you can also layer them on top of each other to create more complex and powerful spell effects.
PSB: I noticed that when I combined the cyclone spell with the fire wall…
BU: Yeah, the Firenado is great. It’s one of the more powerful spells in the game. But there are lots of clever ways to use it: you can pick an enemy up with a cyclone and push it through a campfire to create a Firenado. Or you can cast a fire wall, shoot arcane bolts through it to create fire bolts, and aim them at a whirlwind to suck your enemy in and incinerate him. There’s a whole array of ways to inflict damage in this game.
PSB: Tell me about Sorcery’s approach to motion controls. What’s your philosophy?
BU: We wanted something very accessible, something you can pick up quickly. The very first spell you learn, arcane bolt, is very simple to use because you just flick it forward. It’s like throwing stuff at your enemy. As you keep using it, you start to realize its depth: you can curve bolts and arc bolts around obstacles. When you start using ice magic, you can slow down enemies, or freeze them repeatedly and smash them with another spell.
PSB: How do the gesture-based puzzles fit into Sorcery?
BU: We don’t want you fighting all the time, partly because it’s a gesture-based game and you’d get tired. So we try to mix up the intense combat with puzzles to solve. The gestures are pretty simple: You mend things, move them around. It’s less a question of figuring out how to do something; you might see something you can get on top of, and you’ll wonder how you can get up there, what you can rearrange. They aren’t intense brainteasers, but it does change the pace in the overall game.
PSB: I noticed that Sorcery employs an automated camera, a bit like God of War. How does it work and why did you take this approach?
BU: We want to keep it simple: If you have to do camera maintenance all the time, it really sucks. We’re not a shooter, but we do learn a lot of lessons from shooters. In a shooter, on a basic level, you want to establish an interesting shooting gallery and let players be absorbed in it. When you encounter a new group of cameras, the auto-camera will shift to focus on them. It’s a function of trying to streamline the game as much as possible.
PSB: Will there be any RPG elements? Will Finn be able to upgrade his abilities over the course of the game?
BU: There’s an alchemy system. As you travel through the world, you’ll discover magical ingredients and you can use them to research new magical potions. There are roughly 56 magical potions in all, and every time you drink one, it gives you a permanent upgrade. You’ll have about a dozen opportunities to do it, so these potions basically become your build tree, your stats, the way you customize Finn. Do you boost your health or your ice powers? Or maybe make your shield bash more damaging?
PSB: Is Sorcery a shooter? And if not, what is it?
BU: As a designer, I used a lot of the principles of shooter design. I have a shooter background: I worked on Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. Coming from that shooter background, I learned a lot of lessons about how to build an encounter. But Sorcery is not a shooter. Your fire rate is much lower, you have to deal with Mana limitations, you can curve and arc your shots…we used shooter gameplay as a touchstone, but then we took it way beyond what shooters do.
PSB: Earlier you mentioned a shift in the game’s tone since E3 2010. Could you shed any light on that?
all this extra time seems to be absolutely worth it!!!
i hope not all spells act like homing missles
Combine spells/moves? Curve shots?
Getting the inevitable move bundle when this game is out
Sorcery Is Back With A Bang
Back at E3 in 2010, Sony showed off a game at its press conference called Sorcery. A PlayStation Move-enabled title based loosely around Celtic mythology, Sorcery invoked third-person action while using what appeared to be fairly accurate motion controls to put players in the role of a wizard named Finn. But since the game made its debut at E3 that year, we haven't heard anything about it. That is until just a couple of weeks ago, when IGN broke the news that Sorcery was indeed still in development.
Sony recently visited the IGN offices to show off the game, one that I joked around with Sony PR that I didn't actually believe existed. But Sorcery does exist, and I was lucky enough to play it fairly extensively. The end result of my experience with Sorcery: you should be excited to play it for yourself. When it first made an appearance at that fateful E3, many a PlayStation 3 gamer said that Sorcery would convince them to actually use the PlayStation Move. From what I saw and played, I don't see why that wouldn't still be the case when the game finally comes out in the spring of 2012.
Sorcery requires the PlayStation Move and its accompanying navigation controller, though you could supplement the latter by holding the left side of a DualShock controller if you'd like. Moving Finn around is done on the navigation controller's analog stick, and the camera pretty much sets itself as you go, though you can center it at will by pressing the trigger on the navigation controller.
On the other hand (quite literally), you have the Move controller itself, which allows you to conjure up any number of spells and unleash them at enemies. Your primary attack, the Arcane Bolt, is flung at enemies by using the Move controller while aiming at enemies in real space. If an enemy is to the left, aim at it and fling a spell. Likewise, if a foe is shooting arrows at you from above and to the left, you won't be able to hit him by just holding the Move controller in front of you; you'll need to reach out at him and make sure the game knows that is who you're aiming at. You can even arc spells around corners once you get the gestures down pat.
For a game that's clearly catered to a younger audience, there's still plenty here to rope in the older and more experienced player. In that sense, Sorcery reminds me a bit of another PlayStation Move game I took quite the liking to, Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest, which followed a similar accessible-yet-deep path.
What impressed me the most in the case of Sorcery was how spells could be combined with one another to create something special. For instance, conjuring up a fire wall and then shooting a tornado through it creates a flame-riddled wave of air that careens into nearby enemies. Freezing an enemy and then shooting Arcane Bolts off of him will redirect those shots at enemies that may be obscured from view or otherwise difficult to strike. Sorcery will come complete with five different offensive spells, as well as magical skills that serve a more mundane, non-violent purpose.
There's something decidedly special and well thought-out about the two stages I got to play in Sorcery (Lochbarrow and Endless Stair). This isn't just a game where you'll run up to enemies and wave the Move around wildly until the screen is devoid of any threats. That technique (or lack thereof) would get you killed rather quickly. Here, combat is more about pinpoint accuracy, though to be fair, the game's aiming system could use a little bit of work in specific instances where Finn isn't on the same level as the enemy he's shooting at.
Sorcery will also come complete with a few other options that I didn't get to fully explore, but options that will nonetheless flesh out the experience and make it something more engaging. Hidden items will allow you to use an alchemy system that works towards making Finn and his spells more powerful. Likewise, gold coins collected in the environment can be used to buy items and more from merchants. I was told that the game is only five or six hours in length, but that returning to earlier areas after completing them to reach previously-unattainable locales and to find collectibles could add plenty of length, if gamers choose to thoroughly explore.
Developer The Workshop, created by some ex-Treyarch employees, is hard at work at finishing Sorcery, which is that studio's very first project. My hands-on time with the game renewed my interest in a game that I previously assumed was cancelled, if not at the very least stuck in development hell. Sorcery seems like it's going to be the real deal, and for PlayStation 3 gamers looking for one of those rare reasons to pick up their Move controllers, that should come as really good news.
I personally think it should be a DS3/ Move game.
with the same Move controls but also have it so people can play the game with the DS3 in fact I can see DS3 controls getting patched in if the game don't sell too well with Move only controls.
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Can't effin wait!
Wow, massive bump in graphics.
Hmmm, i really like what they did with Sorcery and the art style seems perfect for this type of game !
I thought the game was cancelled or something... Will definitly get this one.
I've been excited for this since I got my move. Can't way to play.
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I'm happy to finally get a 100% confirmation that I did NOT waste my money getting a move. Hurray.
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This is the game I bought the move for. It really looks so much better than the demo from 2010 E3. Can't wait!
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Looks interesting. Too bad I sold my move controllers. They just sat for months and collected dust.
i was a bit hesitant hearing they were using the unreal engine rather than something from scratch but it does look really nice
Looks a lot better than before. This is the main move game i'm waiting for.
Yeah but the point of this game is to push the Move, and tbh we need more high profile Move only games like this. I'm wondering if its still a $40 title.
Oh man, i guess i'll be getting a PS Move lol
I cant wait. Move is awesome. Killzone 3, Resistance 3, Child of Eden, SOCOM 4, inFamous 2, just a few of the awesome implementations we've had, now I have Bioshock to look forward to, and Sorcery. Im a happy camper.
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