Also published in Fórum UOL Jogos
Release Date: October 09, 2007
Plataform: PlayStation 3
Folklore story is set in modern times, in the remote village of Doolin. A seaside village which lies on the West Coast of Ireland. Over time, Doolin became a village isolated from the rest of the World. Their routes to the village began to be ruined and even the fishermen who go close to there avoid the village. But there isn´t the difficulty of access to the local that causes everyone to be far away. Rumors indicate and, according to the Folklore of the village, like it or not, there you can end at any time communicating with death.
Welcome to Doolin
In Folklore you spend much of your time unraveling the mysteries that have happened and still happen in Doolin, and then gain access to any of the portals to the Netherworld. Usually you explore the village by day, going out for clues and “Mementos” of people who have died, and then at night when you have collected all the necessary data, you can offer these found objects, so they can open up access to the Kingdoms of the other World.
In short, the game starts to change his focus a bit while you’re in the village of Doolin. It would be a mix of Adventure with RPG. What I think made the game even more interesting, because many of the discoveries you will have about what happened 17 years ago in Doolin, are made through conversations with some of the residents who still live in the village, and through objects you find, notes, pictures etc. Despite residents avoid talking much about everything that happened, there are moments in the game that they end up being “forced” to reveal some things, and so parts of this whole “puzzle” in that village are beginning to be understood. The script becomes increasingly complex and intriguing.
In the beginning of the game, two strangers are mysterious called by someone, who told them to meet her in the Village of Doolin, where they say that the living can meet the dead. One of them is Ellen. A young girl student, who goes to Doolin believing that her mother, allegedly killed 17 years ago, could be there waiting for her. The other is Keats, a reporter of one occult magazine who gets a call on his agency, with a distress call about a possible murder involving fairies. So he decided to go to Doolin to investigate this crime and write a new story for your supernatural magazine.
They soon realize that the answers to what they seek are lost within each Kingdom of the Underworld, where spirits and creatures are waiting for them. Beings who act in their own ways.
Starting a New Chapter
Once the game starts you have the option of selecting between one of two characters. Each one has different perspectives on everything, which will directly influence in the game story. In addition to different goals, each following its principles and objectives.
The game is divided into chapters. In each chapter finished, you have the option to play with the another character, so go for switching between them and joining the story by two viewpoints: Ellen and Keats. However, you can also play with only one of them until a certain part of the game that keeps you from moving forward if you don´t complete all other outstanding chapters with the another character.
The game script unfolds slowly and becomes more interesting when you go seeing all sides of the events. For example, while Ellen may be going after something in the village of Doolin, Keats may be in the same time elsewhere in the village, and end up seeing something that you would never know if just playing with Ellen. Se what would be vague to you in the history, could be better explained when you were playing later the same chapter with Keats – or vice versa – that fit like a glove in the “hole” that is left in the game’s storyline.
While it is interesting that you observe all different angles, on the other hand this double play by history can become a bit tiring at times, because the characters end up needing to go through the same Kingdoms, after discovering the memories of some people who have gone forever. But as each one has a different idea about death, what they end up seeing these Kingdoms also become a little different. But that I’ll explain a little bit later here on this review.
Messengers of the Dead
In the game you embody the role of Messenger of the Netherworld. The Messengers are those people who has the lead role of take certain messages that the spirits of another World want to come to certain people in the Real World.
Ellen ends early in the game becoming the new Messenger of the Dead, and thus having the “permission” to travel between the Kingdoms of the other World. But while there is a new Messenger, also arises a new Guardian. And it turns out that Keats gains this role of Guardian, may also have access to another World.
For that they can open a portal to another dimension where the Kingdoms are, they need to get objects – known as Mementos – or memories of people who have gone, and then immediately offer in something like a ritual. So they listen to the voices of spirits that tell them somewhere to go. Arriving at this point, the portal to that Realm where the spirit is stunned, be open to the Messenger of the Dead and his Guardian.
Ellen is a 22 years old student who lost her parents when she was a child. Growing up she went through various institutions, orphanages etc. She has no memories of her childhood and can only vaguely remember a few things that her mother told her as a child. Since then she has always carried an emptiness and fear in your heart, and because of that she never trust the people enough. But one day Ellen received a letter that was signed with the name of her mother. Rising a little hope in her heart, Ellen decided to go to Doolin with the intent to understand all this.
Keats, a boy of 27 years of age, is a reporter for the third most popular magazine of supernatural phenomena. The Magazine Unknown Realms. Unlike others he doesn´t believe in supernatural, so in their stories he always tries to reveal the scientific side of the claims considered paranormal. At the end of one of his business day of work, Keats receives a phone call at his agency, in which a desperate woman asks for help, saying that fairies are trying to kill her in Doolin. Wanting a new material for his magazine and curious about what is happening, he decided to go to the Village of Doolin where there are reports that people can meet the dead.
Dr. Lester: Doctor of the Village of Doolin. He’s isolated from all others when he feels guilty for the death of some people 17 years ago. Some think he may have committed child abuse, while others defend him by saying he is a man with a Gold Heart.
Suzette: Daughter of Regine and Renaldo, is the only one of the family that is still alive. Suzette is the first person who finds Keats and Ellen in the Village. She doesn´t seem to rely too much on others. She also avoids talking about her past, that somehow is mysterious even to her.
Harriet: She worked as an actress when she was young, until she suffered an accident that required to use a wheelchair now. When she was unable to walk, she began studies of hidden things. She researched on beliefs and although not fully believe in them, she still thinks that all these aren´t just stories.
O’Connel: He’s in the village recently looking for a girl which disappear a week ago. As she was studying things about Folklore, he believes she may have gone to the Village of Doolin.
Belgae: An invisible Man, Halflive – which can travel between Real World and Netherworld – It is he who teaches Keats to get access to the Netherworld for the first time, acting like Keats’s mentor for his journey. He have much knowledge about institutions and their way of speaking is very intellectual.
Fairy Lord: The King of the Faery Realm, who is trying to convince Ellen to stand on his side, making her a messenger in order to make way among all the other Kingdoms until the Netherworld Core, and thus “correct” what he thinks is wrong in the Netherworld.
Livane: Livane is hated by the King of the Fairies, for he says that she started a rebellion in the Netherworld, when she went to Netherworld Core and disabled a vital function of the Realm. Thus, provoking a war between her and the Faery Realm.
Scarecrow: A scarecrow Halflive – half alive, half dead – it is him who tells Ellen for the first time about the Netherworld, a place where you can meet the dead. He has a funny way of talking, and have a strange feeling that there are some things about the Worlds which prevents him from fully trust at all.
The World of the Dead
The Village of Doolin hides portals that provide access to various Realms of the World of the Dead, also known as The Netherworld. Realms created by the perception of humans of how life would be like after death.
They are spirits who live in these Kingdoms, creatures, fairies and monsters who are called “Folks”. Folks have all these forms of attack and to defend itself, that shouldn´t be underestimated. Each Folk has powerful souls who are known as their ID’s, and that can be captured and collected by travelers from the Netherworld, they being the Messengers and Guardians. So, right then can use the ID’s captured by their own need.
The combat portion of the game is set in the Netherworld, while the operation was left to the Village of Doolin.
In Netherworld there are 7 distinct realms, with different characteristics and different Folks inhabiting them. In total you can find over 100 different Folks, needing to make the perfect combat strategy to defend itself, defeat and capture them.
For years and years of our lives, the man has accumulated a number of concepts about how life would be like after death. At the time that these concepts are so strong and constant, they end up materializing in the form of a new Realm in the Netherworld. Sometimes being a place as beautiful as Faery Realm, or so aggresive in a state of war, as Warcadia.
The Folks are inhabitants of the Netherworld. They are spirits of the dead who take a new shape in this new world of life after death. The way they died in the Real World interferes directly in these creatures they became. If a person commits suicide or was brutally murdered, she ends up materializing in a disturbing way in Netheworld, in which case, would be the Folks.
Interpreting the Death
Each person interprets life after death in a different way. Ellen and Keats didn´t difer from others in this respect. During the game you realize that the knowledge that each has upon as would be the Netherworld, directly affect the way they see the World and what they will find there.
What Keats find in every Realm where he passes, not to say that Ellen will find exactly the same. The Folks that are present there are different for each character, based on how they interpret the world. That is, in the same Realm, Ellen capture the ID’s of some Folks, that Keats can’t capture in the same Realm, and vice versa. Thus further increasing the vast “library” of Folks who have in the game, and also be very tiring preventing the passage of the character by the same temple that you just go with the previous character. Because you just need to use different strategies, which provides that new Folk to destroy others who are ahead, and finally, the Folklore that makes the “disorder” in that Realm.
As Ellen uses more tactics and strategies with the ID’s captured, Keats often use more brute force attack, thus varying forms of combat.
The 7 Realms of Netherworld
There are seven different Realms in Netherworld, which are just like humans think that is life after death. Below I’ll show you what they are and talk a little about some of the creatures who is living there.
Built in a fantastic scenery and mystical, Faery Realm is the direct manifestation of the traditional view of men on the Paradise after death. Thus expressing the fear that people have of death, making the Realm a comfort. Cait Sidhe is one of the folks inhabitants of Faery Realm. He appears in the human world in the form of a Black Cat. He can speak the language of humans, but does so only on rare occasions. In Netherworld, the way he defends himself is using a kind of loose powder it, to confound his enemies.
The Realm of Warcadia is exactly our current world, experienced by the Dead. It is the idea of the afterlife and then in front, with the same aspects of the ignorant human being. A universe where the war is still prevalent. The two fields of Warcadia are trapped in an eternal fight, but not even folks remember why. Brummbear is one of the folks living in Warcadia. He is a officer man who loves commanding the moment of attack. He is usually watching the battle from afar, but even so it is no longer one of the strongest, if you need to get into the fight as well.
The city under the sea was once inhabited by various Gods created by the human race itself. Today, many of them began to lose his life, caused by the fact of lack of human belief in them. In Undersea City there is a swamp where some of the dead enter it, their memories will be forgotten forever, both for those who are still alive, as if to himself. Malabaricus is an inhabitant folk of the Undersea City. When he feels threatened, he released several smaller fish that are stored inside your mouth, and uses them as an attack to defend themselves.
The Endless Corridor is the kind of place where people who have lost faith about life after death, will stop. It is a world of puzzles. A labyrinth without input or output. He represents the modern day people who don’t understand death. Endless Corridor is also said by the fairies, which is the Kingdom of Livan. Habetrot is an inhabitant folk of Endless Corridor. The key to this whole puzzle is upon him. He controls the rhythm in time he wants. To defend himself, he unleashes a wave that hypnotizes enemies.
Death being where your sins are judged in the Hellrealm there is a court and a judge. Fachan is an inhabitant folk of the Hellrealm. He hates humans and don’t want to let them remain there. Fachan acts with more force, but is not very smart.
As I am avoiding any kind of spoiller, I’d rather not mention details about this part. Agapanthus is a very curious folk who seeks wisdom. When intruders appear, he tries to meet them, but then destroy them, following a process that he does.
The Realm of Netherworld Core was born at exactly the time that humans first understand death. The King of the Fairies aims to reach this Kingdom to fix something he says Livane chipped. A vital function. Coropuna is an inhabitant folk of the Realm Netherworld Core. He has incredible strength in his legs, but it generates a lot of effort into his head, that’s why he has that rock on his head, which serves to dissipate the effort.
Rules of Combat
In Folklore your main goal in battle is not to kill your enemies. Indeed, what more should be done is to capture their souls. However, in some cases, to evolve the “level” of his folks caught, you need to kill some of them, without capturing their ID’s.
Each type of Folk is identified with a different ID, which would be their souls. Capturing their ID’s, you gain the ability to use them in the coming battles in the best way possible.
Overall, combat is divided into several steps, which they are: the battle, the absorption of ID, the selection of the access button that Folk will be available in your control, and the invocation of the Folk in the battle.
During battles, you will have the option to fight or just flee the enemy folks. If you decide to fight – which would be more consistent, since this just benefits – you will attack using the Folks you’ve already captured. Early in the game, in the first Realm has a cutscene that shows the characters getting their first two ID’s of Folks. One that serves to attack, and one for defense.
- Attack: You invoke your folks caught in order to combat the other. There are several types of attacks. From what you have to be close to the enemy, even those you can attack from afar and even hit several enemies at once. The Folks have different elements. You using the right combination, the effect upon the enemy Folk generated can be much larger. As well, you might happen to use some folk who don’t have any effect upon your enemy. You acknowledge that everything is going well if your enemy when you attack him, his soul flashing in blue, with every blow received. In the pages of the book that you get in every Realm of the game, you can see tips on how to combat the enemy folks. And especially, and most importantly, the main Folklore what’s in each of the Realms of the game.
- Defense: When an enemy attacks you, you can use the skills of some of the defense Folks you have already captured, such as folk first defense of the game, which when invoked, appears in front of you and defend you from attacks of other enemies folks. But you can also do something else to try to defend themselves. Pressing the R2 button control, you make a kind of “dash” in the case it would be a quick leap that gives character to the sides. So you can try to divert the attacks of enemies, becoming a very useful technique, especially when you’re surrounded by several of them.
- Fleeing from enemies: You don’t need to fight all Folks you meet along the way. If you want you also have the option to flee the area, to escape enemies. But keep in mind that if you avoid the fighting, you don’t end up absorbing the soul of any of these folks enemies, preventing the evolution of ID’s already captured. Because, on the run from various folks, you may end up failing to capture some of that may be essential in some moments of the game. Not only just in combat but also to open paths by Realms. Since there are “Memory Stones” which sometimes contains important point or block the path of the game. These “Memory Stones” are only destroyed in accordance with the color of the element that your captured folk has.
If you hit enemies with the folks valid attacks, their soul will begin to jump out of their bodies in blue color. Insisting in the attacks, will have a moment that their soul will be red and that is when we take the ID of them by pressing the R1 button on the SIXAXIS.
During the game, you notice some variations of how to absorb the ID of the enemies. And these variations occur according to movements made directly by the SIXAXIS. As it happens the moment of absorption of the soul, you can press the R3 button control and view tips on how to do that such absorption.
While the absorption takes place, appears a menu bar at the bottom of the screen, showing how you’ve managed to complete the capture of Folk. If you finish all grafts that bar, the soul is captured successfully. There are 6 ways to absorb, that they are: Shot Timing, Beat, Balance, and Mix Stop & Go.
- Shot: Absorbs enemy’s ID just pulling up the control in the moment his soul is already red.
- Timing: Absorb the ID of the enemy, pulling the control up, every time, at the right moment in which the soul turns red, to fill the bar absorption.
- Beat: Absorbs the ID of the enemy, swinging control to the left and right, beating the folk on the ground, until he was weak.
- Balance: Absorbs the ID of the enemy, directing his soul to the center of the screen. While the ID goes to the right, move it to the left slightly, to make it positioned in the center, and do the same if it went the other way.
- Stop & Go: Absorbs enemy’s ID, shaking the controller rapidly up and down. When the ID becomes cloudy, do not move your control, only returning to shake it when she comes back color.
- Mix: Absorbs the ID of the enemy, with a combination of all previous actions, and ultimately, with the shot.
In each Realm of Netherworld there is a different Folklore. The stronger spirit of the Realm. Winning each of them, you bring back some order to that Realm and you can discover memories of people who have gone before. Even capturing the soul of a Folklore, you can’t use your ID later. He does not appear in your list of Folk.
In general, Folklore still managed to bring soon to the library of PlayStation, a RPG with traces of adventure and exploration, in a way that no player had expected. This is one of those classics that you love or hate. And, of course, for me it is on the shelf of the games I love.
* For this review, besides my own interpretation of the game, I used to research coming from sites like Gamespot, IGN, Folklore U.S. and the game manual.
My Personal Score: 4/5
[button type=”icon” icon=”paper”]Written by Matheus Pitillo.[/button]