Folklore

Couple Gaming finally has a PS3.  Yes, I know we said it would be a cold day in hell, <utahbashing> but it’s cold in Utah every year, so we figured it was enough of a sign </utahbashing>.

A month or so ago, Ymiris came across a game he thought had all the elements his wife would enjoy: hidden pasts, mythology, and a storyline.  He knows me entirely too well, so I though I would give the PS3 it’s chance to wow me.

OK, I admit it.  I’m wowed.

Folklore starts out much like the latest Japanese imports, with a lot of movie and a dash of incomprehensible mystery (see Fatal Frame or Trace Memory).   After the first bit of movie, you are given a choice: Play the Female story, or the Male story.  OK, a few games do this.. no problem.

Here’s where it gets odd:  You don’t just play one or the other.  You play both, and they weave through each others storylines beautifully.  The girls storyline seems to happen first in the timeline, and then the mans follows along after her.   It’s perfect for a couple, as each story line is interesting in it’s own way.

The basic premise is that through a specific island, one can reach the Spirit Dimensions.  During the day, you talk to the towns residents and find out about their lost loved ones, trying to find your own.  At night, you can talk to spirits, or travel to the ghost zones to find out about the afore-mentioned Loved ones.  The ghost zones are fairly straight-forward, and sometimes the landscape is beautiful, and sometimes it is repetitive and annoying.  It’s a toss-up, but it’s almost always interesting.

Your powers come from the spirits you suck up.  Your first spirit is a small sprite that hits things close to you; the sprite actually jumps out of your fist & into things, instead of having you just hit.  It’s an interesting theory.. and it plays out very well here.  After that first spirit, the characters split, with the girl getting some specific ghost-powers, and the man getting a different set.  You have to play to your characters powers’, and learn each one through each chapter.  The game then becomes a case of  “what is this monster vulnerable to?  Should I use my fire slicing wildebeast, or my gun-shooting army?  Or my tank, and then the wind-blast griffen, followed up with the water-bubble-blower.”  The beasts keep you guessing much of the time, keeping the fight scenes from getting too boring, although frustrating during bosses.

It’s mildly frustrating to play both characters on your own (I found myself more than once thinking “oh, if I Just had the other characters power..” ), but watching each other & the storyline progress was wonderfully interesting.

As a Couple game, I give this four stars.  Of cours, Ymiris was busy playing the WoW expansion, so I played this one with the Couple Gaming Daughter And Test Subject, and we are both enjoying it immensely.

There are a few annoying parts of the game, firstly: 2 characters, 1 save.  You cannot stop in the middle of one characters “chapter” to pick up the other character.  You finish it completely, and then you can switch.  Also,  the final bosses are the same for each character (at least as far as we’ve gotten), and they have a tendency to be very annoying (expect to die at least 10x per boss until you find out his weakness).  But the storyline (again, so far) and beautifully landscaped zones has made up for it.

We’re looking forward to finishing the game, but would love to hear your take on the subject!  Have you tried Folklore, and if so, what did you think?

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