59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Folklore (PS3) (Video Game)
I noticed that as of yet there aren't any reviews on the full-game version of Folklore, so I'm going to fill the space for everyone and let you know what you're getting for your money.
Folklore's story revolves around the two main characters, Ellen (A young girl desperately searching for her lost mother) and Keats (A journalist/reporter for an occult magazine). Both characters have quite different personalities, which makes it refreshing when playing through as both. Ellen is your typical naïve, albeit brave mix of both heroin and maiden-in-distress, whereas Keats is more of a cynical, sarcastic persona, after hard-facts and a good 'scoop' for his magazine.
The storyline requires you to play as both characters in order to complete the game. This is seemingly an interesting concept, as both character's stories are quite seperate in that where Ellen is searching for answers to her past, all Keats wants is a front-page story, and thus the two go seperate ways, inevitably meeting towards the end of the game, which I won't discuss for spoiler reasons! The story is set in two different 'worlds' and many different 'sub-worlds' lasting over a period of 7 chapters.
In the 'real' world, you will only play in the quite village of Doolin, and it's near surrounding area. The village itself offers very little for the adventurous player, and the locals don't have very much to say at all. The second world is the 'netherworld', now the Netherworld is split into many different realms, each of which could be considered sub-worlds. Each realm in the Netherworld is gloriously detailed and vibrant, it's clear that the power of the PS3 contributes greatly to the stunning visual effects in Folklore, and it sure is pleasing to the eye. Sometimes it's just worth a stroll through the different realms for the visual treats that they are.
Briefly going back to the story aspect of the game, and the fact that you need to play as both characters in order to finish the game, this is where the game's greatest bugbear comes into play. The way the story is structured means that you have two options in the order you play each chapter: You can either play one chapter as Ellen, and then go back and play it as Keats (effectively leapfrogging your way through the game) which is terribly boring as both characters usually go through exactly the same worlds, the only real difference being the monsters (or 'folks') that occupy the realms, and the slightly different routes you have to take based on decisions made by the character you first played the chapter with (ie, if there's two routes to get to the end, each character must take a different route). The second way, which in my opinion is the better way but that is undoubtably the player's opinion, is to go right through to chapter 7 with one character, leave the game for a few days, and then return to finish it with the other character and then meet at the end to complete the game. It's a bit of a weird way to go about finishing a game, but to avoid excessive repetitiveness you will need to leave the game well alone for a while..This doesn't help towards the replayability aspect of the game as once you know the story, there's not much point in doing it again other than to try out new tactics.
The artistic direction of this game is definitely comic-book style. Cutscenes are displayed in a comic style, with characters placed in the frames and text flowing through speech bubbles. This is both good and bad as although its presented nicely, sometimes the conversations can be a little void of character, and a little empty. They can be fast forwarded, but not skipped, which can sometimes be a nuisance. It's definitely an aquired taste, but it's equally something that you will grow used to, personally I quite like it. When the CG cutscenes appear, you can really marvel at the graphical and cinematic quality as characters and evironments come to life.
Back to Folks; there are over 100 in the game to 'collect'. This is a concept not too farfetched from games such as Pokemon, where you capture a creature in order to use it in battles. Exactly the same applies in Folklore. Folks naturally have different appearances and abilities, for example there are certain folks which act as barriers to shield you from harm, and there are folks that have status-changing attacks which might posion or bind enemies, and then there are standard folks which simply attack in different ways. Overall, the folks are well-varied and each has a nice description and unique personality. Folks can be levelled up when certain parameters are met, for example some require you to only feed them an item, whereas some require you to defeat or capture a certain amount of enemies. Capturing Folks utilises the SIXAXIS function of the PS3 controllers, and it's definitely one of the best uses so far! Overall the whole Folks system is clearly well thought out and there's definite room for expansion on the Playstation Store, I wouldn't be surprised to see downloadable Folks any time soon.
The extras in the game are a little short, with only a handful of sidequests offering you small rewards which usually go towards levelling up your folks. One thoroughly Japanese aspect of the game is unlockable costumes for both characters. Each costume gives your character both a different look and helpful attributes. For example, the fairy-cloak gives you a resistance to sleep and posion (useful for capturing one tricky folk!). For players who complete the game capturing every single folk, there's a special costume to be had, and for the competitive types this is an achievement to go for, even simply for the bragging rights!
All in all then, Folklore can best be described as an action-adventure game, with a heavy dose of 'Fairytale book' to it. It's fun, it's a little repetitive, but it'll give you many hours worth of gameplay, and in such beautifully decorated environments it isn't such a bad thing to have to go back and forth between them. It's definitely a game worth trying out, whether you rent it or buy it!
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Initial post: 20 Nov 2008 09:56:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2008 09:57:46 GMT
Good review. I'm looking to buy this after playing the demo, but it still seems pretty expensive everywhere! One thing I really loved was the vibrant art style and colours; it seems so individual compared with the visual styles, and just seems so refreshing (particularly when compared to all the meatheaded shooters which seem to dominate the PS3/360 at the moment).
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