Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 02.02.2016

Review for Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 on PC

The art of making story-focused games has been long lost in recent times. Not visual novels, oh no, but a title with a heavy focus on its narrative, without coming off as either preachy or obtuse. However, slowly, things are changing with releases such as Tales from Borderlands in which the tale is still the central focus, yet gameplay has become more prevalent. Sorcery! takes another step into this re-emerging genre with a classical tale of a guy/girl on a quest for a legendary treasure. After individual mobile versions, now Parts 1 & 2 come together on PC.

Games like Sorcery! are weird. Not in the 'Look at the person with the deformity in the carnival' weird, but 'Coming right out of a leftfield that some people didn't even know existed' weird. The art of the text adventure has long since been lost to the gaming world, due to an increasing focus on action and gameplay. First-person shooters, action titles, horror, and even in RPGs, everything is always much more heavily focused on gameplay than some of the older text adventures, while visual novels, in which options are usually reduced to a series of choices on the screen with little besides, only rarely get noticed, and they aren't quite the same.

What does that mean? Well… Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 follows the tale of a young hero whom has been tasked by the king to set out and find a special crown. There is a goal of reaching a certain city in Part 1 and to traverse said city in Part 2, but the many different paths to reach it, tools at their disposal, and the like, are numerous and, frankly, drastically different. Early on, for example, adventurers will reach a tree with a strange old man and some honey inside of it. There are several options given for dealing with both - from being outright rude to the old man, trying to withstand the bees to get their honey, to blowing up the tree with a lightning spell. Depending on how the situation is handled, information might end up being given, provisions may be obtained, not getting stung by bees is a possibility, and then there is still the nearby crossroads to come, where one side leads to a forest and the other to a completely different direction - one direction must be chosen.

Screenshot for Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 on PC

It's actually quite amazing to see how everything plays out. Early on, assuming a specific path has been followed, it is possible to sneak into a cave with an ogre inside. Disturbing it results in the beast attacking, yet there are several ways of dealing with it. Resorting to swords is one plan, but spells with a variety of effects can also be used. One might cause it to trip and stumble, making it easy to get past, or a wall can be conjured up, its mind muddled, or other such things. It's actually quite interesting to realise how many fights and problems can be resolved without pulling out the sword, just through clever use of words, choices, and spells - of course, the sword will undoubtedly still be drawn at the end of the day…

This might sound obvious, or trying to make things that already exist in other RPGs sound better, but that's because it is really hard to explain the difference without actually jumping into Steve Jackson's Sorcery! first. These aren't 'status effects' or something of that ilk, but legitimate, potentially difficult, decisions. Exploring a lot can yield great rewards but can also result in some nasty things like snake-bites and, in a game where health and provisions can be difficult to come by, that might be a very serious drawback. Time can also be rewound and choices made much earlier on can be adjusted, which is a blessing since ending up stuck because of a bad decision several hours back can be very frustrating, and yet it really goes to show how major these selections can end up being. A choice made several hours back can end up having huge consequences and need revisiting in order to try and get a more favourable outcome and the game developer was smart enough to realise this, instead of falling back on saves or ignoring it completely.

However, that 'several hours' aspect is key; both journeys in Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 are very short. While two parts are out now, and two more are soon to come, the two at hand here can easily be polished off in a day or less, without stress or extra work. While this was probably a necessity due to the sheer volume of choices, it also limits how good the various aspects of the game actually are since, no matter how good the story, it will be over sooner rather than later.

Screenshot for Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2 has a great story through and through, and the weight of the various choices and potential outcomes does, indeed, feel very heavy and involved. If nothing else, this will be worthwhile to play purely as a story. However, its short length is its real weak point, as the adventure will be over too soon, but at least there is the chance to try all of the various other paths to add some longevity.

Developer

inkle

Publisher

inkle

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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