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Sorcery! Part 4

"Part 4 definitely asks more of the player than the previous games, but the payoff is worth every ounce of effort."

After crossing the Baklands in Sorcery! Part 3 and dealing with the seven serpents, the Analander must now find a way into the Fortress of Mampang, which is surrounded by high walls and flying Birdmen who keep watch. At the heart of the fortress is the Archmage's tower, where he looms over the land, all seeing and unseen by all, and you must find a way to beat the protective magic and slip in unnoticed to procure the Crown of Kings for your people.

In the initial section of Part 4, the game flows as it had in previous iterations. You can try, rewind, and try again as you please. However, once you've successfully entered the fortress via one of many ways, the magic within the walls prevents rewinding, and you must forge ahead with just your wits. Fret not though, as soon after, a new reviving mechanic takes place. Now, if you die, you revive at a fixed location on the map and retain all previous knowledge and items gained.

At first, I felt quite annoyed at the lack of the rewind mechanic and the inability to tailor each interaction as I pleased like in previous games. But as I continued to investigate the sprawling grounds encased behind those walls, I realized the necessity and ingenuity of the change. Unlike past games, Part 4 is full of creative puzzles and events that require extensive knowledge. Although there is a fair bit of backtracking due to the fixed revive location, with past knowledge, you can swiftly get through certain areas you've already solved instead, which helps reduce the amount of repetition necessary to progress. On top of that, you can repeatedly exploit known locations for additional money, food, healing, and even items. Last, it's pertinent to gather as much information as possible in order to find the single right way into the Archmage's keep in as little time as possible before he discovers your presence, hence making the retention of past knowledge crucial. I'm unsure if my killing of all seven serpents in Part 3 played a part in being undetected, but I did go through some long, undetected periods of searching before making attempts at the keep. Make no mistake, there are multiple ways you can finagle into the tower, but only one is true, and you must work for it.

Most importantly, this exception makes complete sense according to the story, but I shall not spoil it here. With enough clues retrieved and puzzles solved, the way will eventually become clear. More so, there are multiple endings available after crossing that single threshold, and I have yet to uncover them all. After completing the game, you may rewind once to any prior point to try out different routes and endings. Aside from the decisive events after the single threshold, there are also many choices during the exploration that could affect the final outcome. Part 4 definitely asks more of the player than the previous games, but the payoff is worth every ounce of effort.

Sonically, more sound effects occur around locations. For example, when standing in a spot, you may hear things that pertain to locations you can move to, which could play a part in your decision. In some way, I prefer the more silent version to pair with my mind's imagination, but I'm sure many welcome the robust additions. Aesthetically, however, Part 4 simply cannot compare to the wonder that Part 3 instilled with the beacons. Everything retains its usual charm with nothing outstanding.

Overall, Part 4 dismantles the player's reliance on rewinding and introduces a debatably better mechanic in its place. Without the revive feature, it would be difficult to complete the game by simply selective rewinding, and I'm glad they decided against it. With so many more creative puzzles and tricky events to resolve, Sorcery! Part 4 definitely provides a resounding finale to the series.

This review is based on a free review copy provided to RPGFan by the developer. This relationship in no way influenced the reviewer's opinion of the game or its final score.


© 2016 inkle Ltd. All rights reserved.



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