Folklore PS3 review

The motion sensing capabilities of the SIXAXIS may or may not be inspired by the Wii remote, but either way does it really matter? We just buy consoles to play good games and rather than call Sony nasty names like copycat, you should too. Like it or not adopting and using ideas is present in any truly competitive industry, so just live with it.

The Motion Sensing of Sony’s controller hasn’t only been criticized for stealing someone else’s idea, but also for not being any good at its job. This is plainly wrong as on Heavenly Sword, we found the guiding of arrows and other objects with its after touch system to work a treat, albeit with a bit of a learning curve. It’s also implemented rather well on Game Republic’s Folklore (two paragraphs in and only now have I mentioned the reason why I’m here, that must be some sort of record for Console Obsession).

It’s hard to place Folklore in any particular genre, the story is substantial, you chat to people and there’s some levelling up business that us RPG geeks are worryingly crazy over. But on the other hand there’s little in the way of exploration and treasure chest seeking, meanwhile the combat system is much more action driven than your typical RPG, also the story as substantial as it is, is certainly not your usual Japanese RPG fare as there’s an unusual absence of saucer eyes and impossibly spiky hair.

Like any RPG worth its mana the plot of Folklore is one of the true hooks of the game. It centres on the past of both the games heroine, Ellen and the real life sleepy Irish village of Doolin (I somehow think that the real Doolin, doesn’t have a gateway to the netherworld though). Joining Ellen is the curious reporter Keats (who has an uncanny likeness to Metal Gear’s Otacon) and it’s this duo who’re the games protagonists. The story, whilst slow burning is absolutely steeped in mystery and intrigue and is told with unique and stylish comic book panels. But sadly voice acting is a rarity, which is a shame as when it is present, it’s reasonably good.

Doolin acts as the hub, where you access all the netherworld areas from. Much of the time spent here, you’ll also chat to the few locals inhabiting the village, slowly unravelling the village’s and of course Ellen’s past. You can also pick up side missions at the local pub, which can garner you some rare items to upgrade folks with.

Speaking of folks, these are your means of attack as well as your enemies in Folklore. There are over 100 of these (each with different elements) and to get them you must first weaken your enemies and then absorb them, largely achieved by flicking your SIXAXIS up to drag them in, do this to multiple enemies at a time and you‘ll win yourself more experience. Absorbing the tougher opponents ensues in a mini-game, where you may have to move the controller consistently from side to side, or wait for their soul to flash red before shaking it amongst other motions. It results in a wonderful use of the motion sensing magic and is up there with Heavenly Sword as one of the most effective and enjoyable uses of the function.

What’s not so effective or enjoyable for that matter is having to backtrack twice through sizable areas to get the full story, with both Keats and Ellen. Mercifully the two have the occasional different enemies to beat down (which also means a new folk to excitedly try out) and of course you’ll see different segments of the story. But there’s no getting away from the fact, that you’re traversing the same areas again, which is hugely repetitive, on occasion even boring and the worst of few problems, but sadly a pretty bad one.

The game is also about fighting and little else, which may bore some people, but in this writers eyes there’s enough variety in the folks to keep combat interesting. The sections that take place in Doolin are a nice respite from all of that energetic fighting though. Still, admittedly it would have benefited a great deal from more exploration and puzzles.

Folklore is a good game that has hints of greatness and makes excellent use of the PS3’s motion sensing abilities, but has too many problems to be anything more. It’s still one of the PS3’s best experiences though and one that should be played by any PS3 owner who likes this sort of thing.