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Old 07-19-2009, 05:38 PM   #1
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Turning The Spigot - Year 2: Week 9 - Folklore

Work getting you down? Summer heat got you beat? Take a vacation to the realm of the fae in this week's edition of Turning The Spigot.


Year: 2007
Platform: PS3
Rating: Soul-Suckingly Awesome
# of Players: 1

Folklore is an action RPG for the PS3 that you've probably seen in abundance if you look on the Used Games shelf at your local game retailer. Playing like a mixture of an old-school adventure game and Pokémon for grown-ups, Folklore is a stylish romp perfect for these hum-drum days of summer.

One of Folklore's biggest strengths is also its biggest weakness. The game tells the intertwining tales of two characters caught up in a struggle between powers they can barely comprehend. Over the course of the game, you will play as Ellen, a young woman who comes to the Irish village of Doolin at the behest of a letter from her dead mother and as Keats, a journalist for an occult magazine who seems to be equal parts Mulder and Scully. He wants to believe but has a hard time accepting the fantastic events that occur right before his very eyes.

Having two main characters is both Folklore's strength and its weakness. It is a strength due to the excellent job that the game does of intertwining the two different points of view over the course of the game. Sometimes you'll play as Ellen in one chapter and spend the next session playing as Keats, pursuing in Ellen's footsteps. This is where the dual storylines are a weakness as you'll often find yourself playing through the exact same level twice with only minimal changes. Most of the time this boils down to a different set of monsters to use during the trips to the faerie world and a different set of people to talk to in Doolin. Otherwise, the level layouts do tend to play out in the same way.

The gameplay is quite enjoyable in both the human and faerie realms. As you spend time in the human world of Doolin, you'll gradually uncover a mystery that revolves around Ellen's past and the series of murders that are plaguing the village over the course of the game. This is done by talking with the eclectic cast of characters that populate the village and helping them with problems, much like a traditional adventure game of yore. The story of what happened in Doolin and just how deeply the faeries are involved unfolds through cutscenes and dialogue presented as pages out of a graphic novel. The pacing of the storytelling does tend to be a little on the slow side and this could put some players off but there is a gradual build-up in tension as the game progresses that emphasizes that there is something very off-kilter about the village of Doolin and its odd inhabitants.

Once you step foot in the realm of the faeries, everything changes. The game turns from a more dialogue-based adventure into a full-bore action RPG, with a slew of attacks, spells and defenses at your disposal. You gain new skills by capturing Folk, or the spirits of the creatures that populate the 7 different faerie realms. Battles play out in real-time but have a feeling very reminiscent of a Pokémon duel, with most creatures having very defined strengths and weaknesses.

You add to your stable of Folk by yanking their soul out of their body using the SIXAXIS motion controls. Folklore is one of the few games to use the PS3's motion controls in a manner that doesn't feel tacked on or broken. Each Folk requires a slightly different set of moves to liberate their soul from their mortal frame. Some will have you slamming their souls from side to side, others have you giving a sharp yank upwards. Regardless of the motions involved, it never gets old and the satisfaction of finally putting down a particular quarrelsome monster is almost as much of a reward as the new skills you'll receive. There are also all sorts of little mini-goals to strive for in order to unlock new skills and Folk as you make your way through the netherworld.

Folklore is a very surreal and stylized game that may not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of dark fantasy, murder mysteries or Pokémon, you might just want to take this overlooked title for a spin. Unfortunately, Folklore is one of those titles on the PS3 that for whatever inexplicable reason has not seen a price drop over the years. It is still retailing for $55 over at Amazon, though you'll likely be able to find it for much cheaper if you poke around the internet.
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:19 PM   #2
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I loved this game. It was one of the unique exclusives to the PS3 that justified my purchase far more than MGS4 or FF XIII, even if that had stayed exclusive.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:00 PM   #3
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Alright, some PS3 luvin. This is a game i've been meaning to buy ADDGirl forever. She loves action RPGs (see her Fable fangirl love) plus having Faeries...I hope she doesn't see this column...she'll be asking me again why she still doesn't have it.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Purple Santa View Post
Alright, some PS3 luvin. This is a game i've been meaning to buy ADDGirl forever. She loves action RPGs (see her Fable fangirl love) plus having Faeries...I hope she doesn't see this column...she'll be asking me again why she still doesn't have it.
I got it on clearance at Wal-Mart a while back, it still seems to be a higher price at other stores. I'll go back and beat this one day... If only my OCD gaming didn't kick in where I want to learn every skill for every creature available as I obtain them.
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You've had like three prospects since your divorce and you're complaining to us?

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:59 PM   #5
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Folklore was my first ps3 game i got. freaked on it for a long time playing the Guy's (forget his name) story but didn't get a chance to play the girls side. if i find it cheap i'll pick it up again.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:06 PM   #6
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Folklore was my first PS3 game also. I absolutely loved the graphic novel storytelling style. I think it's one of the most unique experiences i've had in a game in recent memory. The action was addictive and i couldn't help but try to get every single creature in my arsenal.

For those who are fans of RPGs, PICK THIS UP! You won't regret it.
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:06 AM   #7
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I gamefly'd this when I first got my PS3 and loved it. It's got a storytelling style that smacks of Eternal Darkness and that's a very very good thing. Add in the gameplay that reminds me of the Lost Kingdom games and I was hooked.

One of these days I may buy it if I can find it for $10ish.
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:01 AM   #8
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What's utterly sad is I bought a PS3 FOR this game.

And I have yet to even play it.
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:38 AM   #9
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I tried the demo for this when I first got my PS3. It was kinda nice, but there was too many stuff that didn't click with me, especially the way the story was told. Bit boring.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:49 AM   #10
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Hopefully I'll be buying this one off total tonight, so I'll finally get to play it. The irony is that back at the old site I got into a nice long argument about the review of this game with another forum member because I had the gall to say that it looked like it was a good game based on the one review I linked to. Funny stuff.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:29 AM   #11
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Hmm. I've got mixed feelings about this game.

On the one hand, the art-style is fantastic. A real nightmare-meets-Alice-In-Wonderland, so to speak. The story, while told in an odd way and with a slow build-up, is interesting. The music is excellent, I thought.

On the other hand, it seems to fall apart near the end. Spigot already mentioned that you effectively have to play through the whole game twice, which felt like a poor game design decision. For me, the fighting, outside of a few boss fights, started to get really repetitive even with just one character. For some "folk", the controls felt, I dunno, awkward for some reason. Also, the SIXAXIS stuff, while amusing at first, again, started to get tedious near the end.

It's a decent game, probably worth at least renting to see the nifty art style.
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:33 PM   #12
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Folklore cries out for a sequel. If it were to ever happen, I'd like that it would focus more on exploration, as it was very linear. After completing the game, there wasn't much reason for me to go back again.
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