Nerdful Things – Remembering ‘Folklore’
Since my newfound interest in the podcast ‘Lore‘ and its subsequent release as a show on Amazon PRIME, I started to think about various tales I heard as a child and the sinister origins and inspiration for such tales. I always had a fascination with fables and folklore for different reasons to most kids; I enjoyed the dark back-stories and the various spins different regions and generations put on them.
As an avid movie and videogame enthusiast, I often think about what adaptations I would like to see and play and, due to the abundance of remakes and reboots, I often question why a lot of them are made. The flip-side, of course, has me thinking about what movies and games I would like to see have a makeover. ‘Folklore‘ is one of them. I’m a Playstation guy, always have been (well, since it came out back in 1994). Many of my favourite games have been given a new lease of life (the most recent being Rogue Trooper).
While, just like with movies, there are a number of games being remade or rebooted when there is no need for them, Folklore is a game that I feel NEEDS an HD revamp with some additional DLC to boot. The gameplay and visuals were brilliant and, with a fresh lick of HD paint, it could be even more brilliant.
Folklore is an action role-playing game, where players control characters in a third-person view to both explore their surroundings and engage in combat. From the start, players will have a choice to play the game as either of the two lead protagonists, the young woman Ellen or the journalist Keats, both having different yet intertwining plots and play styles. The game is split into two worlds, the real world set in small sea-side Irish village of Doolin and the more fantastical Netherworld inhabited by folk creatures and spirits.
In Doolin, players lead their chosen character throughout the village and surrounding area. When in this state, characters are unable to engage in combat or utilize their abilities and instead will be limited to exploring the village’s locations and interacting with its inhabitants, containing multiple search and slight puzzle-esque quests that progress the main story and eventually lead them to and from the Netherworld, acting as a hub between worlds and subsequent quests.
When characters pass into the Netherworld, the gameplay shifts entirely towards the action-adventure side of its genre. Basic attack techniques are performed by utilizing “folk”, various creatures and spirits that upon defeat can be absorbed for the player’s use. When a folk is nearly defeated, its spirit will glow red, allowing players to absorb it by locking onto it and performing shaking and yanking motions with the Sixaxis motion control (rather than a conventional button interface) to reel in its energy for use. While the player can choose from nearly all folk encountered and absorbed, only four at a time can be mapped to the controller’s main four interface/action buttons and used in quick succession for combat with different kinds of folk being better suited for certain situations and techniques such as close-combat, projectile attacks or magic. The two playable characters themselves also differ between play styles. While Ellen uses a variety of folk as basic strategy and favoring a defensive stance with the ability to cloak herself with folk powers, Keats uses more straight up brute force attacks with usually all round stronger folk along with the ability to release built up energy to become invincible and perform stronger attacks for a period of time.
Very few games have truly captured my imagination but ‘Folklore‘ takes the prize – I found it truly riveting and addictive yet I never managed to complete it. A HD re-release would certainly go down a treat with me – fingers crossed it gets the additional love it needs!
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