- Journey to seven different realms, all designed and created to fit their distinct personalities
- Inspired by Western fairytales, players interact with or clash against a cast of over 100 originally designed creatures, characters, and monsters
- Using the Sixaxis wireless controller, players must battle monsters and literally â€˜shakeâ€™ them into submission and â€˜yankâ€™ their powers from them
- Begin the game as either Keats or Ellen and learn their story and gameplay style. Decisions made in one storyline will directly impact the story path of the other
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- Platform: PlayStation 3
- PEGI Rating: Unknown
- Media: Video Game
(Region free, Full English language, will play on any PS3 console system)
Exclusively for the PLAYSTATION 3 comes a new dark adventure full of wonder and mystery. Two strangers are drawn to the mysterious town of Doolin, where it is said that the living can speak to the dead. They soon learn the town serves as a gateway to fantastic worlds that exis beyond our own, realms full of creatures, fairies, spirits and monsters. In order to solve the mystery of the dark, foreboding lighthouse that stands at the towns edge, the pair must journey through these worlds to discover their secrets.
- Battle monsters and creatures and ultimately collect their powers. As players harvest these powers, they in turn can use them against other monsters in battle, thus getting stronger with each monster they capture.
- Play as both characters, Ellen and Keats, and watch as their separate tales intertwine. Each character has specific talents and gameplay styles: Keats uses traditional direct attacks while Ellen uses strategic methods to trap her enemies.
- From the colorful Fairies to dark Spirits, each creature is painstakingly designed to inspire wonder and amazement.
- Much like pulling fish out of the water with a fishing pole, the PLAYSTATION3 SIXAXIS wireless controller lets players literally shake their enemies into submission and yank their powers from them.
- Design custom Folklore dungeons and share with players online. Populate your levels with creatures you collect during your single player campaign!
Launch games for new consoles are often given far more leeway than others, simply because everyone recognises they havent had as long in development. Genji: Days Of The Blade wont be making any ones top ten lists by the end of the year but with their second game Japanese developer Game Republic have made some improvements. Set in Ireland the game has an unusual storyline involving fairies and other monsters of significant scarier proportions. You take control of either the rough and ready Keats or the more tactical Ellen, with the chance to switch between either character at the beginning of each chapter of the game.
At a basic level its a sort of action role-player as you spend time in town talking to fairies before venturing out to capture monsters, Pokemon style. In order to capture a monster (or "Folk" as the game has it) you have to soften them up with normal attacks and then reel them in by flicking the Sixaxis upwards like a fishing rod. If it works youre then able to call upon your newly captured critter for help by mapping them to a face button. Different Folks have different abilities, such as flying or creating magical shields, and you often need specific types to overcome particular enemies. .
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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!
When Ellen receives a letter from her deceased mother inviting her to Doolin, a village where you can 'meet the dead', she sets off to find her and stumbles into a web of real world murder and ancient faery myth. Accompanying her is Keats, writer for a struggling occult magazine, who brings a less emotional cynic's-eye-view to the table. Technically an RPG, the game is set in a beautifully isolated Irish village, and during the day you spend time as each character investigating the series of murders shaking the tiny community; at night, on the other hand, you venture into the mysterious Netherworld to battle through hordes of malicious faeries using the 'folk' you collect and train, and get answers from the murder victims themselves.
Plenty of positives make the game worth a play. There is an addictive quality to the Pokemon-esque folk collecting and training, and an intriguing element of strategy in changing up your 'deck' of four folk to best meet the weaknesses of the foes you meet. The combat itself is action-oriented, requiring you to move and dodge as you unleash your various folk attacks via the intuitive control scheme, and the lack of over-extensive menu systems and stat tweaking are a welcome simplification. Presentation-wise, the graphics have highs and lows, but there are some very memorable vistas in the Netherworld environments that I'll be taking fondly away with me - the flower field in the Faery Realm being one in particular. The soundtrack feels very thematic and the plot deals with some interesting notions of death, the afterlife and all the places in between. This is also one of the few games I've played where the inclusion of Sixaxis motion controls felt well integrated into the game - there are various minigames that involve you moving the controller differently to extract the id, or soul, of a folk you're trying to catch.
There are, unfortunately, a host of flaws holding the game back from being more than okay. The primary stickler that almost made me drop the game early on is that although two characters, Ellen and Keats, are available to play, it isn't until later chapters that the two actually complement each other in gameplay terms. If you play the Prologue as Ellen, and then play the Prologue as Keats, you'll find you're subjected to a very, very similar experience over exactly the same map in exactly the same order, with only the perspective on the plot and layout and composition of monsters being any different. This structure held fast until at least Chapter 3 or 4 and beyond, where you finally get to choose different paths for each character, and later on when you can switch characters within the same chapter. Why this much more flattering and interesting structure wasn't implemented from the very beginning, I have no idea. The end result is a game that, in the first half at least, seems to force you to repeat content, even down to viewing the same cutscenes where the two playable characters are together, and that isn't often fun. Both characters are also required to progress for full completion of the game, so don't think you can get away with picking your favourite and sticking with her/him, either. The Netherworld environments are quite restrictive and linear, but given the repetition inherent in the game design, perhaps this isn't such a bad thing. It keeps the chapters short and tight, although you can make them longer if you want to spend time training the folk you've collected in a particular realm. The game, overall, is fairly short as RPGs go, so if you play in expectation of another 100-hour epic, prepare to be disappointed!
Game mechanics and design aside, the plot is presented in a combination of talking head cutscenes, the occasional cinematic, and - most frequently of all - a very strange, unvoiced, animated comic-book format that is awkward and not at all compelling. Many areas of the plot are also left vague and fluffy even at completion of the game, and although I had a wry appreciation for one admittedly clever twist at the very end, overall I felt I was expected to suspend my disbelief a little too much on the multiple murders and the motivations for them. At one point a long-running NPC decides to fight you because . . . well, just because. No reason is given. Perhaps this is Japanese implicit/interpretative storytelling at work, but it frequently just feels like lazy writing - an impression only compounded by the glaring spelling mistakes you occasionally stumble across.
With a little more thought, polish, and perhaps a bigger budget, Folklore could have been amazing. As it stands, it's still a fun, mildly-addictive romp while it lasts.
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