Folklore Review

Folklore is one of those games you’ll either love, or hate, as evidenced by the vast mixture of review scores. With that in mind, realize that no matter what I say about this game or what I give it, it just might not be for you. For me, though, Folklore is an awesome game and absolutely worth every penny.

The story of Folklore is the highlight of this game. Without spoiling too much, it’s the story of a girl named Ellen who receives a letter from a mother she thought was dead telling her to come to the town of Doolin. At the same time, an occult magazine writer named Keats who believes in using logic and reason gets a call from a woman saying that faerys are attacking her in Doolin, and she needs help. Originally he thinks the phone ringing is a prank, but once he hears the request… I’m still not entirely sure why he takes it seriously, but I’m glad he does.

From there, Keats and Ellen arrive in Doolin, find themselves thrust right into a murder mystery, and very quickly realize there’s more to this mystery than meets the eye as the two are placed into one supernatural event after another in order to piece together the pieces of the past; Ellen to find out more about her forgotten past, Keats to get a good story and solve the mystery.


Folklore Ellen


The game takes place in both the town of Doolin and the Netherworld. Composed of as many realms as there are stars, the Netherworld is basically exactly what it sounds like. While traversing its sometimes-luscious and othertimes-confusing grounds you’re forced to fight against folks, which are essentially just glorified monsters. Fighting is fairly easy, and it seems to draw a lot from Phantom Dust.

As you fight folks, you can capture their Ids by locking onto them once they’re weakened and jerking the Sixaxis up (sort of like hooking a fish). When you capture an Id for the first time, you can place the ability gained from that folk on one of the face buttons, and use it in battle. Abilities range from short-range melee combo attacks to long-range artillery bombardments, and there’s a huge variety in terms of what each skill does, elements used, range, and all of that good stuff. To keep things even more plentiful, each folk’s abilities can be increase by completing certain tasks, which range from capturing X Ids of said folk to killing X folks with it to consuming X items.

When you enter each realm, your whole mission is to uncover more of Doolin’s mysterious 17 year-old past. How this is accomplished is by defeating the folklore in each realm. To keep a long story short, they’re holding memories of the deceased and beating them tells you more of the story.

And now that we’ve covered the basics of the gameplay (which a lot of people always want to know about) back to what makes Folklore great: the story and presentation. During gameplay, you’re introduced and told the story in a variety of ways: cinematics, in-game talking, and comic-styled cutscenes.

The cinematics are good, but there’s just something about the voice acting which seems a bit off. Maybe it’s that I kept wishing Keats sounded like Jeff Goldblum, or maybe it’s just that the voice acting wasn’t that fantastic. Either way, the story it tells more than makes up for it.

The best portions of the story are unvealed during the comic-styled cutscenes. If you’ve seen Broken Saints or any number of Broken Saints copycats, you’ll feel right at home. It presents itself like a comic book, and using different sized fonts, animations, colors, and all that gets across the emotions and everything without sound. Unfortunately, it’s not like the new Broken Saints DVDs and there’s no voiceacting in the scenes… Then again, maybe that’s for the best.


Folklore Keats


Folklore’s world and art design is the other point where it really shines. If you love games that look fantastic, and if you love unique art that’s unlike anything you’ve seen yet strangely familiar, you’ll love the visuals in Folklore. The incredible amount of folks all look cool, the Netherworld looks fantastical and Doolin looks like any number of small towns in that neck of the world, and the comic cutscenes have great presentation. Combined with the nice score, the game just works. Unfortunately, the visuals and story are so compelling it’s near the top of the list of new games which may be optioned into a movie… Let’s hope it isn’t.

Of course, I can understand completely if people don’t like this game. The story is linear despite taunting you with adventure-like abilities, the combat can be repetitive at times, and essentially replaying every chapter twice (once for Ellen, once for Keats) with only different perspectives on the story may not be your cup of tea. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but if you love the quirky adventure RPG titles, like good story telling that’s not cliché ridden, or want something new, give Folklore a shot. Otherwise, look elsewhere for your adrenaline-pumping shootfest.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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