Perhaps what is widely considered by many Playstation 3 owners to be the very first definitive title to purchase for their beloved system and a game that warrants their purchasing of said system, FolksSoul (better known as Folklore here in the U.S.) was available yesterday for download via Playstation Store in Japan. With such a big file size (1014 to be exact), one has to wonder whether or not FolksSoul was worth the download, and whether or not FolksSoul will even be worth considering to purchase. After all the hype this game received due mostly to its graphics full of Gothic ambiance, I can honestly say that with the exception of a few problems [of which I’m sure Game Republic may fix…after all, its just a demo], FolksSoul is pretty much looking to be an action JRPG worth owning on the PS3.
The demo begins with the player opting to choose between Ellen and Keats, the game’s main characters, who’ve been led to the mysterious village of Lemrick by a mysterious force. Most of the prologue and scenes in the demo are of a comic book nature. But since this is a demo, Game Republic has mentioned that those particular comic book scenes where Ellen and Keats receive their powers will be cinematic sequences. For those automatically assuming these comic book scenes will be the game’s norms, you can throw your skepticism out the door. Also for the sake of the demo’s size, full voices have been removed.
The first thing anyone will notice about the game are the richly detailed graphics. Given that the game has a dark setting, the graphics in Folklore do justice to the environments around them, giving off the surrealistic dark fantasy setting the game aims to achieve. Everything from the character models to the game’s environments all give off a Gothic nature with the colors perfectly reflecting such a nature, and walking through these environments is nothing short of amazing. The atmosphere is perfectly fine. Even better, though, is the inclusion of a movable in-game camera and a good character positioning, things which Game Republic’s previous PS3 title could have easily benefitted from, that allow you to better see the environments as well as the monsters in that area.
The prologue ends with Ellen and Keats receiving their powers, then the demo’s fun really begins. Both Ellen and Keats can attack and defend by extracting the ID of Folks, the game’s monsters, and using them to do so. Ellen is more of the short distance fighter when she uses Folks while Keats is more of the melee fighter. Extracting the ID of Folks, which are given a face button on the PS3 controller, is done by weakening the Folks, holding the R1 button down, and pulling the SIXAXIS in an upward motion to complete the extraction; and multiple Folks’ IDs can be extracted at once, giving you this complete and total sense of satisfaction when doing so. The more of the same Folk Ellen and Keats extract, the more EXP that Folk gains which results in that Folk levelling up and increasing the amount of attacks they can do when using that Folk.
Bossses, on the other hand, are different to extract. Upon weaking a boss Folk and preparing for ID extraction, the way to go about extracting a bosses’ ID is done in a set pattern similar to reeling in a fish. When the ID is green, you leave it alone; but once the ID turns red, you immediately pull the SIXAXIS towards you and keep doing so until the little bar at the bottom is full and you’ve succeeded in extracting the ID. Like with basic Folks, boss Folks can be used for attacking, defense, or using skills/magical attacks.
The demo overall is relatively short with it ending once Keats and Ellen have defeated a boss and return to the village of Lemrick. Some of the issues found in the demo were pretty trivial with the slowdowns being of a top trivial priority. Though the slowdowns aren’t as bad as the ones found in Genji: Days of the Blade, the slowdowns in FolksSoul that occur during the fights with some Folks as well as walking through environments could use some tweaking. Everything else, though, from the graphics to the gameplay mechanics are executed fine. FolksSoul will be released June 21st in Japan with a U.S. version, titled Folklore, following sometime in October.
If the in-game voices are any indication (battle taunts mostly), then FolksSoul may be voiced in English with Japanese subtitles.