The English language version of Folklore (known as FolksSoul elsewhere) is getting prepared for its upcoming US release. For those unfamiliar, the game is an intriguing adventure game where a girl named Ellen must travel to the netherworld to find out the truth behind her mother's mysterious disappearance. Ellen will be able to collect the spirits (known as Id) from the creatures in the game (Folks). When a Folk is weakened, its Id becomes exposed, allowing players to shake the Sixaxis controller and capture the Folk's soul. Once an Id is captured, it can be used in battle as a summon for Ellen to master.
Each Folk can be upgraded by capturing more Id from each monster, or by accomplishing certain tasks. Each creature has five levels to attain, and as the beast continues to grow stronger, Ellen's abilities with the Folk will increase as well. For example, with one creature, Ellen might be able to do a two-hit combo, but when fully leveled up, she'll be able to do a five-hit combo.
Ellen isn't the only one to traverse through the Faery World: a reporter by the name of Keats is also an integral part of the story. Unlike Ellen, Keats is like a brawler of sorts. His journey provides a unique look on the events of the story. Between each chapter, you'll be able to change characters, and the producer notes that you will not get the complete story if you only play as one character. Although Keats is usually one step behind Ellen, they're both working towards the same resolution.
Folklore promises a hefty amount of gameplay: 40 hours to play through with both characters (and both are necessary to unlock the "combined story.") Throughout the game, additional costumes for Ellen can be unlocked, and not only do they affect her appearance, they change her abilities as well. After completing the first chapter, players can enter Dungeon Trial mode, which allows players to create a 9x9 dungeon, which can be populated with creatures and items that you've collected in the single-player adventure. These dungeons can be shared online with friends.
Graphically, we were impressed by Folklore. Although the game isn't pushing the boundaries of PS3 technology, we enjoy the art in the game: the characters are stylish, and the creatures are detailed and animated quite well. Halflifes that live in the Faery Realm will not only talk to you, but they'll also provide side quests, and will unlock additional missions that can be downloaded via the PS Network. These additional quests will unlock new items, Ids, and costumes.
There are also many cinematics to be found within the game. There are a few pre-rendered FMV sequences that feature voice acting. However, many of the game's story events are told through comic book-esque panel sequences. While we like the look of these events, we're sorely disappointed by the lack of voice acting in them: shouldn't everything in this game be voiced, given the vast amount of space a Blu-ray disc can hold? The lack of voice acting reeks of laziness.
We doubt SCEA will add additional voice acting to the final game, which is disappointing. For those that are interested, a new demo of the game will be hitting the US PlayStation Store in September. All in all, it appears that the English language release remains nearly identical to the original Japanese. However, there are two changes to note, one of particular significance. Firstly, the original Japanese theme song will be axed for the US release. Secondly, the town of Lemrik is now called Doolin -- supposedly, this has some interesting repercussions that Sony is reluctant to talk about.