Thursday, January 6, 2011

Folklore Review

Now to be fair, I did not play the entirety of Folklore. So if you believe (and you would be well within your rights to do so) that one must play the full game before reviewing something, kindly pass this by. It's just a "first impressions".

Let's do this in categories.

The game is set for the PS3, and it's a JRPG. There are no achievements for this game.


There's something awkward about the characters. There's two main characters: Ellen and Keats. Ellen is a whiny little girl who lost her mother (She's dead, except she seems to have written a letter to Ellen which tells her to go to Doolin, so maybe she's not dead, except Ellen is confused about her mother's death, except she still thinks that's odd, so your guess is as good as mine) and who can't walk around without her hand at her chest like she's holding a necklace she isn't wearing. Her clothes are actually pretty modest (odd, since this is pretty much a JRPG) until her Deus Ex Machina hits and she suddenly gets a new outfit, and an absolutely ridiculous hair setup that seems to involve fountains of braids.

The other character is Keats, who is much more believable, and absolutely awesome to behold for how hilarious his setup is. The man works for an occult magazine (For those of you wondering, if you've played Silent Hill Three, you've seen him before. he looks like Vincent, but with slightly longer hair and a way cooler coat) and receives a strange call telling him to go to Doolin because of ghosts or fairies or something equally occult and mysterious. The occult magazine people being particularly credulous sorts (*cough*) he thinks it's a prank, but goes to investigate anyways. I'm not commenting on the plot of the game because I don't understand enough about it (being a JRPG, I think it probably requires a full playthrough, and possibly a second playthrough to fully understand how weird it really is) so I'll just talk about how awesome he is. This man, in the face of ghosts, fairies, witches, and bizarre creatures consistently remarks that it's just a lucid dream. If memory serves, he even says this after he begins investigating the lives of the families of the dead people he meets on his travels. Truly an amazing character for numbers of reasons.

Some side characters are the Scarecrow and the Invisible Man. They have names, but that's who they really are. They are amazing for many reasons. the Scarecrow is quirky (and probably evil. I'm calling it right now), and the Invisible Man is sophisticated and really good fun to look at. My problem: Voice Acting in this game is minimal. Is it really so hard to keep your voice actors around for the whole game? Or at least have them speak those dialogue boxes? Visual novel style is ok for computers and handheld consoles, but this is the PS3. We can do better, guys.

Game mechanics:

Ok, there's not much to say about this. The customizable attack buttons are a nice idea, elemental attacks are fine and good, and aside from the fact that you can't jump or deviate from the VERY LINEAR plot (or maybe it just really wants you to follow the prologue and I'm just a sheep, because the game advertises that choices you make as one character effect the other), it seems pretty solid. What I can't stand is when the Sixaxis is a required part of the game. The Sixaxis really feels unrefined. The basis for how it is used (somewhat like a whip capturing the souls of the things you fight. I don't get it either.) makes that unrefined feeling somewhat warranted, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant to use.

Visuals: I think there are many different worlds to explore, but I have seen the first and the town of Doolin and that's it. Doolin looks kind of like a real place (Some place in Ireland with bad accents and about five people in the entirety of the town. The most populated place is probably the pub. So... Close enough to accurate, right?) but the real fun is looking at the art for the Fairy (ok, ok, they say "faerie" I think, but I don't personally think it matters how you spell it.) world. The faerie world has very pretty, very colorful art. In every shade of pastel and rainbow the artists could find on their color palates. It was quite pleasant, but once you realize you can't really explore a level when it's flat terrain and you can't jump, it's kind of a pity that they made it look so nice and it won't have much potential.

The enemy designs were unique and interesting to look at, and it does have a sort of pokemon-esque 'catch-em-all' vibe to it, but the interest is short lived once you realize you will never be able to explore all of their abilities to their full potential, and managing so many abilities would become a royal pain in the end.

It's a decent rental, but not something I would want to buy (except I did buy it already. oops). It's definitely worth a look, but my suggestion for best play: Get a group of friends and sit around talking about bad dubbing or how amusing some of the characters and dialogue are.

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