Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sorcery is the Latest "Gotta Play 2012 Games" Title for My Rush

In a show of unadulturated luck, the Game of the Year polls have not opened just yet and probably won't before Sunday night which means I have so much time, you guys.  So much time.  Like three days to play a fair bit of a few of the games I've got to get a good approximation of them for my list when I get around to doing that.  Which probably won't be Sunday which means I theoretically have more time, but shush, details.  I finished Assassin's Creed 3:  Liberation earlier, by which I mean I beat it and am now in the arduous task of completing all its goals so that I may expel it from my Vita and never speak of it again.  Which is not to say I didn't like it, I am just thoroughly annoyed with it, much like every other goddamn Assassin's Creed title I play and you would think I would have learned by now, but you would be wrong on that front.

Regardless, this is not an Assassin's Creed post, but a very, very different post indeed.  This is a post about Sorcery which you may or may not remember as the title that got you interested in the Move, if anything would.  (Beyond cursory uses like FPS games)  It takes a very simplistic, yet effective approach to the Move wand, turning it in your hands into a magic wand in the hands of a young sorcerer who gets caught up in a quest well and truly beyond his scope and consideration.  Paired with the Navigation Controller (which you really -should- have if you want to play this, but the other, far more common usage of FPS controller will benefit as well) you have near perfect control over the main character, Finn's (no, not -that- Finn) actions as he struggles to get through the challenges he's unknowingly thrust himself into.

It sounds fine in concept and in execution, surprisingly well, actually.  I expected a little fun kind of 'distraction' game, but in all reality, it's a fairly well-realized game in its own right which might be a hard pill to swallow for folks who aren't that into the  whole Motion Gaming thing.  Admittedly, my own exposure prior to this is limited since I never really played a lot of Wii stuff, but you will be using motion a -lot- if you chose to play and that's not really a bad thing.  At the start of the game, you're given the first spell you'll utilize for the most of it, a simple Arcane Bolt which you cast by flicking your Move controller in the direction you're firing the bolt - you know, like you're actually shooting for it.  It's a novel concept, I'm sure.  Where and how you flick matters too - flicking high and flicking low throw your bolts in different ways, obviously, and a sort of curved flick will send an arch bolt - useful for throwing around a corner should that be necessary.  It's fairly simple to explain and it works well as you're playing, but you're going to give your arm a real workout in doing so.

The other method of casting spells is actually touched on when you pick up your third one, a Frost Shot spell.  The basics work like your Arcane Bolt, except the bolt is ice and can freeze your foes in place, allowing you to switch to the bolt to get a few unhindered shots at them (which, for most of the fodder foes is more than enough, really).  However, one of the things that was touted in Sorcery was environmental stuff and that's where this comes into play.  Drawing a quick, sideways line in front of you with the wand will trigger the other capability of the frost spell which is to send out a chill wave - enemies close enough will be frozen but, more importantly, you can freeze waterways with this, allowing you a method of passage where you might otherwise not have.  (Because Finn suffers from classic "what, why do you want to swim in a video game" syndrome, unfortunately)  It's a really cool effect and makes its usefulness known in short order.

Also made out as a fairly big thing in the early showings were potions, both in the making and taking of them and that is still quite the case here.  Potions come in two 'flavors' if you will (oh god, don't hurt me), temporary effect and permanent effect.  The game doesn't expressly inform you of this in quite the most direct fashion, but once you understand where the divide is, it becomes obvious.  The first, the temporary effect starts out as basically just Health potions, but I assume there will be others in that there will be others of its kind later on in the game.  The Permanent Effect potions are a little more interesting as they require you to 'research' their ingredient combination before you can actually brew one.  Ultimately, this just means throwing three things in a menu and then seeing what they would make if you combined them.  Grave Dust, Bloodberries and Brimstone make something highly different than Rotworm Ichor, Troll Sweat and Starlight Essence, after all. 

Upon researching a potion, if you have an empty bottle (which can only be used once and is thus sort of an indicator of a 'level up' as it were) you can then brew it, provided you have the ingredients to do so.  This will prompt a little....not a mini-game, but a section in which you actually 'assemble' the potion, shaking, pouring or grinding whatever the ingredients are into a cauldron and then stirring it until you have a potion.  Then you shake the Move wand until it's primed and turn it upside down to drink.  It sounds silly, hell it looks kind of silly, but it's honestly really kind of charming, and I really enjoy that, as tiny of a thing as it is.  For what it's worth, you prime health potions before you drink them as well, adding the barest extra amount of thought you'll have to expend, seeing as you'll have to shake it up and then 'drink' it before it'll actually start working and those are seconds you just might not have.  Another nice little touch with this is that, for the Health Potions at least, the ball on the end of the Move wand will light up faintly to start and get brighter red as you shake it until it's done.  (It takes all of a second or two, but it's, again a really nice little touch)  Superfluous?  Certainly.  Neat regardless?  Absolutely.

Sorcery is honestly a pretty fun game so far, which might be a little surprising, but it certainly -did- look nice when it was being shown off, so it's not completely out of left field.  Just....mostly since those kinds of showings generally incorporate the 'best' of a thing in them.  Unless you're showing off the Kinect because that just gets horrible fast, apparently.  I sort of thought to myself that if it had been released for the Wii (with Motion Plus support) we would still be hearing the Nintendo diehards crowing about it, since it is a really good example of a Motion Game done right, but the Move is certainly not going to get it the attention it deserves unfortunately.  As is, it's probably just going to be one of those charming, nice games that sit around, unrecognized for the most part except for random schmucks around the internet like myself.  Perhaps once I've played a little more of the game, I'll be a little less enamored with it (or perhaps more, of course), but from where I sit now, Sorcery seems like an actual good game that uses the Move and if that's not saying something to you, then I just don't know what would.

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