The latest game from Kouji Okada, creator of the Shin Megami Tensei series, Folklore takes an altogether different approach, drawing heavily on Irish horror stories and folk legends to create a magical, supernaturally unsettling world full of faeries and demons.
The game plays as a third-person action/adventure game, much like Devil May Cry or Silent Hill. You control one of two main characters - Ellen, a shy girl looking for her mother and Keats a hard-bitten reporter for an occult magazine searching for a big story. Before long both have been drawn into a supernatural adventure based in the Netherworld, home to the Folk - the fabled Sidhe of Irish legend. Some of the Sidhe that you meet are friendly, but more often than not they're out to get you, to harvest your soul for their own dark ends.
Luckily for you, both Ellen and Keats are able to collect the spirits - known as Ids - of the Folk and turn them to their own uses. Cause an enemy enough damage and their Id will become visible. Holding down the R1 button lets you lock onto the Id and a swift tug of the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller allows you to yank the Id from its previous owner and store it safely within yourself. Once harvested you can use these Ids in battle yourself, by assigning different types of Folk to each of the action buttons.
Simply hit the corresponding button and your chosen Folk will go into battle, allowing you to harvest even more Ids to augment your powers. There are over 100 in total, and their powers range from attacking Ids who wield spears, guns and even high explosives to defensive Ids that shield you from damage.
Mind over matter
Keats differs from Ellen in that he can fill up his Mind Meter through collecting Ids, which, once full allows him to transform into a different form, complete with bulked up physique, long white hair, purple eyes and a scary tattoo snaking around his torso. In this state, Keats is able to cause much more damage from melee attacks and endure a lot more punishment, adding a more action-oriented combat element to the game.
The presentation of the game is very impressive, both in the story scenes, which offer stunningly lifelike characters, movements and backgrounds, and in the game itself with its large, expansive environments and magical fantasy setting. The cutscenes between major characters unfold like graphic novels, with speech bubbles and moving panels to advance the story, and it's a story you'll want to pay attention to, being packed with intrigue, mystery and a healthy dose of dry humour thrown in for good measure.
The game is set to take good advantage of PlayStation Network, with a level editor to let users create their own maps and fill them full of the Ids they've collected, which other PSN users can download and play, and there will also be a number of additional downloadable quests, complete with brand new Folk and costumes for Ellen and Keats.
Folklore is already looking very impressive, with a great combination of action, RPG elements and great storytelling. Download the trailer available now on the PlayStation Store to see it for yourself, and keep checking www.playstation.co.nz for more information as and when it arrives.