Folklore Review: a Magical Adventure

By: sayed islam

Folklore is a PlayStation 3 exclusive video game that will probably get lost due to the Orange Box madness, but I will try to shed some light on the game. The game is developed by Sony and published by Game Republic. Judging by the title of the game, it is fairly obvious that Folklore is a role playing game. The storyline in the game transpires in Doolin, and Doolin is a village in Ireland. Mysticism and the supernatural beings are a few of many things that haunt this village. There are two protagonists in the game named Ellen and Keats. They are immersed in an eccentric environment that is imbued with spirits and "ghosts." Both of the playable characters in the game have separate objectives. Ellen goes to Doolin in search of her mother because she has supposedly sent a letter to Ellen (sounds eerily similar to the dead wife letter that was sent to Harry from Silent Hill 2). On the other end of the spectrum, Keats is a journalist who travels to Doolin to learn about the strange occurrences that are taking place. I found the plot to be enjoyable, but the game has a storyline that can take some time to develop. The gameplay in the game has two different settings. A location known as The Netherworld is where the combat occurs, and the normal world is where gamers will be achieving typical role playing game tasks. When gamers are in the normal world, they will be collecting items and having conversations with various people. The normal world provides a nice change of pace from the combat. Each character's gameplay is broken down into chapters. To eliminate confusion, it is best to complete one chapter with one character and go replay that chapter again with the other character. For instance, finishing Keats' chapter first and replaying the same chapter with Ellen.

I felt like the game progressed in a much more cohesive manner when I took this approach. You can mix and match chapters by playing multiple chapters from Ellen's perspective and Keats' perspective, but doing this would make the plot completely garbled.
The gameplay predominately consists of acquiring souls. All of the adversaries have souls that can be absorbed and used for later use. Since each soul you gain varies, the abilities you gain is also different. For example, one soul can perform an ice elemental damage and another can utilize electricity. Once you take in a soul, you can map if to the four face buttons on the PlayStation 3 controller. Not all souls are proficient in eradicating every foe; furthermore, you cannot expect to beat the entire game with only one soul. There are strengths and weaknesses for each opponent in the game. This makes the game somewhat balanced, but gratuitously time consuming. Personally, I found the guess and check system of finding the correct soul to kill opponents to be rather convoluted. The method needed to capture a soul is unique on its own right. This is where the six axis controller is at its best. The six axis controller is amazing for getting a soul under control, and the controls itself are intuitive. The game developers of the disaster known as Lair should meticulously take notes from the game developers that worked on Folklore. Do you hear me Lair game creators? You guys can learn so much about the six axis controller from the team that worked on Folklore. If anyone who worked on Lair is reading this, then he or she needs to give the game designers of Folklore a phone call and have a long chat about how to make the six axis controller responsive. Look at me going off on one of my tangents again. Alright, back to the review of Folklore. The frame rates appears to be smooth, but I had a problem with the prolonged load times.
Regrettably, the audio in the game is utterly ridiculous. A majority of the dialogue is shown via a comic book style. If this comic book style of story telling is tastefully done, then it works to perfection (ala Max Payne and Max Payne 2). The most egregious aspect of the dialogue is that there is absolutely no voice acting during these absurd comic book style segments. I thought the lack of voice acting was an enormous blunder in the game. There should always be voice acting in a next generation console video game (especially considering the fact that this is a PlayStation 3 video game). During the major cut scenes, there is voice acting. Unfortunately, the voice acting is horribly done. Folklore pales in comparison in the voice acting department to other exquisite video games such as Heavenly Sword, Halo 3, God of War, and God of War 2. What the hell Sony? How could the audio in Folklore be this poorly executed? The only saving grace with the audio is the music and sound effects. Luckily, the visuals in the game are incredible. Everything that is seen in Folklore makes it seem like a fantasy. The vibrant colors looks like an extravagant piece of artwork. Environments, flora, and fauna are well designed. Folklore will take gamers approximately nineteen hours from beginning to end. Overall, Folklore is a solid role playing game. It is not as brilliant as Oblivion on the PlayStation 3, but Folklore has just enough to give gamers a reason to play.

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