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Folklore review


Strange enough to maintain a bizarre originality

Quite the Tall Tale

Game Republic’s first PlayStation 3 exploit, Genji: Days of the Blade, came along with the system’s launch in 2006. It wasn’t a terrible game but it wasn’t one of the better ones to play either. The second effort came a year later in October 2007; Folklore is a much better game that takes advantage of the PlayStation 3 hardware while simultaneously handling a dual storyline, interesting characters and fascinating creatures called Folks. With its strange style it only seems appropriate that the same man who created the Shin Megami Tensei series also developed this game.

Before diving into the specifics of the storyline, it is important to mention the way the story is told. Some of the more important scenes are displayed with the same visuals seen in the real-time gameplay, but most of them take a different approach. There are animated cut-scenes that use the character models and other parts of the environment. They also do a great job of conveying the characters and their emotion, as well as the mood of the surroundings.

One of the most interesting parts of Folklore is its two connected stories. The ethereal tale begins with a woman named Ellen searching for her mother, who died when Ellen was young. Ellen’s search begins after receiving a letter, supposedly from her late mother, which takes her to the creepy town of Doolin. The other story is about Keats, the editor of an occult magazine who is also mysteriously contacted and instructed to visit Doolin Village.

Things get stranger when the two bump into each other in Doolin. Just after they arrive a woman kills herself by jumping off of a cliff, creating quite a stir in this village, which is considered to be the “Village of the Dead”. Keats starts an investigation while Ellen finds herself responsible for making a connection between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead, the “Netherworld”. The standoffish villagers don’t make figuring out any of the mysteries any easier, despite Ellen’s and Keats’ helpful intentions.

Walk With the Dead, Talk With the Dead

It isn’t long before Ellen and Keats both have the ability to run through the seven different realms of the Netherworld. Friendly spirits called faeries will help them navigate the labyrinths and passages, offering combat tips as well as background information and other facts about Doolin and the Netherworld.

They also warn Ellen and Keats of Folks, strange creatures that also inhabit the Netherworld. Imagine a more mature version of Nintendo’s Pokemon. There are a lot of creatures like goblins and trolls that are designed brilliantly and fit well among the other interesting and creative monsters. Some are even robotic or mechanical. Unlike the faeries, most of the Folks are violent or rabid, and attack the characters on sight. Since Ellen and Keats aren’t armed with anything, they have to learn how to absorb the souls of these beasts and take advantage of their powers to use against them.

Thanks to simple, intuitive controls, traveling through each level, using your own Folks and taking out enemies are all simple actions. Both characters can equip up to four Folks and assign them to one of the SIXAXIS’s four face buttons. Press X; you’ll use the X Folk. This is very similar to other action games, or action/role-playing games, and will be familiar to anyone who has played something like Kingdom Hearts. Players can save and load Folk set-ups so that strategies can be formed, and Folks can be switched out quickly. Folks can’t be used until they are captured—to do so, they have to be weakened to the point that their soul floats out above their limp, motionless bodies. By holding down R1 and pulling up on the controller (there are actually several ways to absorb a soul) a soul will be sucked from a Folk and then infused into Ellen or Keats.


fun score

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