Folklore – PS3 – Preview 2

For one man, a
man who walks in the shadow of hypocrisy, everything he knows, or thought he
knew, will be challenged.

And for a young
woman, seeking what was lost so long ago, it is a journey of hope, and so belief
comes easily – as does disappointment.

Folklore is
among the more unique offerings for the PlayStation 3 console system. Developed
by Game Republic and published by SCEA, the game is part action adventure, part
mystery and part progressive exploration. It is also a glorious vision that will
enchant and challenge.

The story
itself centers on two characters, a man named Keats and a young woman named
Ellen. Keats is a journalist for an occult magazine, but he is far from a
believer in that about which he writes. He believes that everything can be
explained, and that science will eventually debunk the myths of the occult. When
he gets a call, frantic and urgent, summoning him to a coastal town of Doolin,
from a woman claiming to being pursued by fairies, he reluctantly goes against
his better judgment.


For Ellen, the
journey to Doolin is one of hope. She was an orphan and the years have passed
without knowing what happened to her mother. Then she receives a letter from her
mother, saying that she is very much alive and asking Ellen to journey to Doolin
to meet her. Ellen charters a boat, but the night is dark and the helmsman on
the small vessel will not approach the coast of the town, forcing Ellen to jump
overboard and swim to shore.

Doolin itself
is a small village sitting on the top of the cliffs. Ellen and Keats meet there,
just in time to see the body of a woman fall from the cliffs. Ellen believes it
may have been her mother. Keats thinks it may have been the woman who called
him. Together they delve into the mystery and embark on a journey that will take
them between the worlds of ‘reality’ and seven Netherworlds.

A preview of
the game was sent out and while much of what the game reveals cannot be shared,
some of the content can. For example, both Keats and Ellen have transcended
states that are tied to their journeys to the Netherworlds. For Keats, the
combat he engages in is a touch more direct, while Ellen must use strategy.
Keats seems to be a step behind Ellen in the opening levels, but during a press
conference (back in July during E3) it was stated that players will have to take
on the roles of both characters to complete the game. There are more than 100
unique and original characters and monsters, and the bosses are known as
folklore. To defeat the folklore, you will have to adventure through the zones
and collect clues as to which powers are most effective against them.


For Ellen, she
will use folks – which are creatures whose ids she has collected – and each has
unique abilities. Keats meets an invisible servant named Belgae, who puts up
with the doubts and will act as a guide. Keats’ attacks may seem a bit more
direct, but he actually uses folks as well. Folks are put into one of the four
hot buttons and each has a mana cost and cooldown time. When you are fighting,
you may knock the id out of the creature you are battling. When a silhouette of
the creature is released, and is a pinkish-red, you hold down the R1 button and
shake the controller vertically to capture the id. This has restorative
properties.

The idea is to
traverse the realms, uncover clues and battle both folks and folklore. There are
NPCs scattered about that will give you clues and help you understand the game a
bit better, from how to use portals to attacks of opportunity.

The game’s
story is told through animated panels with text dialogue that players will have
to advance. There are also cutscenes that draw directly from the game’s assets,
which is a very good thing.


During the
course of your adventures, you will open up portals that will enable you to
recover hit points, save the game or journey back to Doolin. In Doolin you can
get missions from the townsfolk, which may prove valuable in leveling up your
character for the challenges that lie ahead in the netherworld areas.

While somewhat
linear in terms of the environment (which includes invisible walls), the game
does allow you to take on missions and sub-missions. Saving progress is always
wise.

There will also
be an online mode that will enable players to create Folklore dungeons and share
them online.

The controls
have a small learning curve, and this really is a bit of a button masher. You
use the analog thumbsticks to evade attacks and the hot buttons to launch your
own attacks.

The sound of
this game is delightful and ethereal, from the music to the ambient
environmental sounds. The look is lush and beautiful.

Folklore tracks
a different kind of gaming path and one that will ask players to savor the
adventure. There is no urgency here, but instead the game has challenges and
rewards both with graphical delight and a sense of accomplishment and discovery.