Review by Delriach
"This is one game that you don't want to repress."
The story in Folklore is incredibly mature and unexpected. The story deals with concepts of repression, unconscious thoughts, the subconscious, memories, life, death, and more. The issues in Folklore are very believable with an artistic twist of fantasy to make things extremely interesting. The story begins with two people who are drawn to a village by mysterious means. Ellen, the female protagonist, received a letter from her mother ... who is dead... telling her to go to the town of Doolin. Keats, the male protagonist and writer of a magazine, gets a mysterious phone call telling him to go to the same location. You then venture off into different realms to uncover the mystery of the story.
The story is progressed in multiple ways. There are comic cutscenes. These allow you to speed up or repeat dialog that you've seen. The majority of the game I'd say is possibly done in this form. There is no voice acting when viewing the comic scenes. Then there are the side-by-side character dialogs. Again, no voice acting. You see two characters with their character models zoomed in on screen with comic like dialog bubbles. Then there are the in game cutscenes. There are very few of these throughout the game and they have voice acting. In addition to this are the CG cutscenes that are also voiced.
The game allows you to choose two characters, Ellen or Keats. Once you choose that character, you must finish through one chapter in order to select the other character. This allows you to play as both characters interchangeably throughout the game.
The gameplay in Folklore is pretty different than what you would normally expect from an action adventure game. You don't have any weapons. Instead, you have the Id's of the Folks. The Id's, similar to Freudian theory, "...is the original source of all drive energy". In the gameplay perspective, this source of energy comes from the Id's. In order to gain these powers, you need to absorb them from Folks.
The process in which you absorb Folk can vary and all utilize the SIXAXIS motion controls. Some Folk will require you to do a quick movement upward to pull the Folk into your grasp. Certain enemies cannot be absorbed by just one tug on the controller. There is a unique variation to what you need to do in order to capture some Folk. A meter will appear on larger enemies and you need to fill it up in order to absorb them. The process in which you absorb them can and will change. There is the traditional tug motion but with the twist that makes it so you can only tug when the Id is red. If you tug with it is green, then you will lose some momentum on the meter if you have any. Other times you will have to tilt your controller left and right like a balance scale to get the enemy positioned in the middle. Some enemies need you to do a rhythmic tilting motion banging their heads to the left or right. Other enemies change up the strategy needed to capture them mid way through making things more challenging and difficult for the player. It is a nice way to keep things fresh and keep you alert. There are more types as you play through the game.
Once you have captured the Id, you can actually use it! Each Id is different, not just in looks, but in the way they play. This even changes more so depending on the character that you are playing as. Some of the Folks in realms will be similar; some of them will even be the same. However, the way that you utilize them will differ for the character. There are also Folk that are just completely different and cannot be used with either of the characters. Most of the Id's carry a similar theme to their attacks. Some Id's allow you to link up attacks for combos. Some Id's allow you to charge up attacks and give a devastating blow. Id's can be categorized in the following way:
Non-elemental, Fire, Ice, Earth, Guard/Barrier, Slash, and Destroy.
You can assign the Id's in any order on the four shape buttons on the controller. When assigning an Id to one of the buttons, there will be a brief loading period after you exit the menu. Luckily this doesn't break the game, and is only a slight to even non existent annoyance.
The Id's play a vital role in the way you play the game. The Id's all have their uses throughout the game depending on the situation. You may need to use a certain Id to destroy something blocking your path. In each realm you are given an empty book. Throughout your adventure, you will find pages that reveal pictures of different Folk. These pictures explain to you how to defeat certain enemies with the Folk you can capture. Some enemies just need one specific type of Folk to defeat them, but the bosses require multiple Folk to attack at the right time in order to succeed. The picture book is a clever way to basically tell you what to do... despite this, you will still find yourself wondering how to beat some bosses because the pictures are not entirely a dead giveaway.
Each Id is upgradeable. The process to upgrade differs for the Folk, and each have multiple upgradeable aspects. The requirements can include variations of the following: Absorb that specific folktype a certain number of times, kill a certain folk a given number of times, have a certain number of different items, and others that I may have forgotten. These upgrades allow the cost of their use to lower and allow their attack power to increase. Some Folk also are given the ability to link up more strikes in a row. The unique thing about the upgrades is that you cannot always upgrade your Id completely in the realm that it originated from. Some Id's require killing Folk from different realms. This makes upgrading a task for the players and can become quite addictive.
Aside from the main story, you can also do quests. There are multiple quests you can do, and you can always do them at any moment that you've gotten them. You don't have to worry about missing out on certain quests as you progress through the game. The quest themselves are pretty simple. You are given a task, and you finish the task given for each quest. Some of these quests need you to kill multiple enemies, retrieve an item, or simply talk to certain people. The quests sadly can become mind numbingly easy almost making them pointless. Luckily this isn't the main part of the game, and luckily the rewards are generally beneficial to you. There will also be new downloadable quests given at a later time.
Also included in the game is the Dungeon Trial. In this mode, you are allowed to create a level with a start and finish. The mode is pretty simple. There are 25 empty slots that symbolize rooms that you can make. You can make the level incredibly labyrinth like and difficult if you so desired to do so. You are given the option to create different type of doors and directions referred to as Corridors. You are allowed to create special rooms that have enemy encounters. There are 6 pages with 12 options to choose from, leaving you with 72 possible selections to choose from including the start and finish. When you choose an enemy you can select, you are given simple options to manipulate, including the option on the requirement to advance to the next corridor. After you are done creating your level, you can then upload it online for others to play! The only downside is that you cannot see a massive list of all the levels. Each level is categorized by realms and you can only see the realms that you've actually completed. In order to find the level of someone you know, you will have to continuously scroll down one by one looking for that person's stage. It is incredibly impractical and makes very good levels hard to find. Each stage has a time limit and gives you points. With more points, you are given rare Folk to use.
In addition to this, Ellen has the ability to change through multiple costumes each with their own special enhancements. The costumes are extremely unique and are a nice reward for actually finding them. Keats can also change his attire. Another difference between Ellen and Keats is that Keats can go into a mode called Transcension. Once you raise your TP gauge by absorbing Id's, pressing L3 and R3 will make Keats transform. In this mode he cannot be harmed and the Id's that you use will cause extreme and exaggerated looking damage. The TP guage will decrease over time causing Keats to go back into his normal state.
The first thing that you will notice when you put the disc in is the incredible soundtrack. Some of the tracks are sad and emotional sounding; some songs are dark and mysterious. The soundtrack is one of the best elements to the game as it helps progress the story and helps guide your emotions as you experience the tale. The sound during gameplay is very well done. Even when you first push the start button there is a beautiful sounding chime. You have your slushing sounds when needed. Big explosion sounds, gun shots, slashes, and a bunch of other sound effects are accurately portrayed to what is being shown on screen. Just like the graphics, there was a lot of attention and detail put into the sound and really make the experience complete. It is hard to describe in words the sound the game has. Experience it for yourself and see... or hear rather. The voice acting in the game is alright at best. There aren't too many voiced clips to really make you notice it too much.
The graphics in Folklore is just another dimension in which this game sets itself apart from other games. The game is full of incredibly vibrant colors. These colors are not just for looks either as you've noticed from the gameplay. The colors are a gameplay mechanism as much as actually controlling the game. Little details such as dust and other particles can be seen as you are navigating through different environments. In terms of everything you are given, the little details, the lighting, the color, everything is just very well done and it is something very few games can come close to. Especially when in comparison to those very gritty overly drab looking games.
This is one game where you don't have to worry about fighting the same creatures over and over with just a different name. The Folk that you fight are extremely unique looking. Some are large, some are small. Some are hairy, some are not. Each of these Folk have their own unique looks and really keeps the game fresh. Glowing eyes, subtle stance changes, walking motions, little details like these are given a special care that really makes you wonder why other games aren't as careful with detail. The movement of clothes is very fluid for both characters in a very believable sense. Some may say the graphics are not the best you will ever see, but that really depends on how you look at them. The games resolution is at 720p for those wondering.
Folkore is a title that shouldn't be missed by anyone. The music, story, gameplay, and the beautiful art is what really puts Folklore in the front lines as a very unique experience. The faults of the game are very minimal compared to everything it does so incredibly well. With downloadable content coming to the PlayStation Store, you will want to pick up Folklore even after you beat it. New possible quests, folk, and costumes makes the future look very bright for Folklore players. What are you waiting for? Buy the game. Now!
d (^_^) b
+ addictive gameplay
+ mature and interesting story
+ great character designs
+ superb soundtrack
+ variety to gameplay
+ interesting usage for SIXAXIS controls
+ beautiful and colorful graphics
+ dungeon trial can keep you busy
+ downloadable content
+ Both characters have enough differences to keep things fresh
p (v_v) q
- some areas are just too small
- some comic scenes are a bit pointless
- some of the quests are pointlessly easy
- dungeon trial can be a little bit too simplistic
- difficult to search through dungeon trial
- some objectives are a bit too linear
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/22/07, Updated 10/23/07
Game Release: Folklore (US, 10/09/07)
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