GC '07: Folklore Hands-On Preview

Game Republic's follow-up to Genji makes full use of the PS3's Sixaxis controller and online capabilities. We caught up with the designer and its game just ahead of the Leipzig Games Convention.

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LEIPZIG, Germany--While Genji was an admirable stab at a launch title from Japanese developer Game Factory, it didn't quite live up to the intentions of its creators. First of all, they were unable to fully exploit the technical capabilities of Sony's new superconsole. Secondly, they didn't have time to implement a fully featured online mode that allowed players to swap user-generated content. Finally, they didn't fully exploit the potential of the motion-sensitive Sixaxis controller. With Folklore, which is already available in Japan, Game Factory hopes to remedy all of these issues all while creating a brand-new universe for gamers to explore.

The game centers around collecting "folks" who can be summoned to attack your enemies. The collectible element to picking up these 100 folks is intended to replicate the same addictive qualities of the Pokémon franchise, but for an older market. The key to collecting folks is to harvest the souls of your enemies, and it's this act that forms both the core of the gameplay and Folklore's excellent implementation of the Sixaxis controller. Reaping souls works in a similar way to a basic fishing game: You use the Sixaxis controller to physically hook the soul and swing it back to you.

Sadly, while there isn't a two player co-op mode in Folklore, the game does offer two different playable characters who you can switch between at strategic points during the game. Ellen is a female character who prefers to use long-range attacks rather than get up-close and personal. As you progress through the game you'll be able to unlock a number of outfits for Ellen, most of which follow the Japanese tradition of being as revealing as possible. The male character of Keatz is better-versed in melee combat, and as he goes through the game he becomes darker and more demonlike in appearance, giving him short bursts of invulnerability as he progresses.

The two characters also tie into the same overall story, albeit with different introductions. They both decide to visit the town of Doolin--Ellen to investigate a letter that she received from the mother she thought was dead, and Keatz because of similar contact from a mysterious woman. As Ellen heads to Doolin, she sees the woman she believes to be her mother jump off a cliff, while Keatz finds his contact murdered in her room. As they both begin to investigate, they find that the town bridges the gap between the world of the living and the dead.

This unique story setup has allowed the creators of Folklore to go wild with the game's seven environments. The netherworlds, as they are called, consist of the Hell Realm, the Faery Realm, Warcadia, Endless Corridor, Netherworld Core, and Undersea City. We got to see the undersea city in action during our demo, and graphically it was certainly opulent. The world itself glistened with the sort of water effects we've come to expect from today's hardware. The folks that were being shown impressed with their size and detail, while they moved with believable animation. Sometimes the action was rather hectic, but combining attacks with folk summoning and soul harvesting seems rather compelling.

With the game finished and on store shelves in Japan for a couple of months now, plans are already well under way for the postrelease add-ons for Folklore. One quest pack is already being completed which will include four new quests, one new costume for Ellen, and one new folk, and this will be available for download from the PlayStation Store shortly. There are six packs planned in total, although the price for these downloads has yet to be decided. If you're looking to extend the longevity of Folklore without shelling out PlayStation Store credits, then you can also create and share your own dungeons. The creation tool lets you combine corridors and folk rooms which you'll then be able to send to other users over the Internet.

Folklore is another gamble for the creators of the Genji series, because not only is it based on a completely new idea, it shares the same Japanese design sensibilities as its predecessor. There's no doubt that using the Sixaxis controller to catch souls is an enticing idea, but we'll have to wait to find out if it's enough to drive us to the finish. Luckily, you can get a taste of the game itself either by creating a Japanese PlayStation Network account and downloading from that store, or catching the time-limited European release that will be available to coincide with the Leipzig Games Convention from August 22-31, 2007. The full game will be available internationally in October.

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PS360Fanboy

Folklore is probaly going to Be PS3's best Game, after playing the demo i was amazed how good it was, keep it up Sony!

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rob3nelson

This is the only game for the PS3 I'm somewhat excited about and that would make me think about buying a PS3. I'm not a blind Sony fanboy nor a MGS freak and so need a really good reason to spend so much money on a system when I already have one that works fine. Having said all of this, if more games like this come out exclusively for the PS3, I might eventually put out the cash. Lair, Heavenly Sword, MGS, and even FF XIII will not cut it for me. They're either too oldhat for my tastes or too boring. But, if more like this come out, I might be persuaded.

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cooper797

This game looks sweet, cant wait to play it, dont let the score put you off IGN did a great review on it and i feel it fits it well

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diablos101

I played the demo and thought it was fun also, must agree with the camera however. As much as i enjoyed the demo i doubt it would get get past an 8. Be great if it did but i see it as a 7.0-7.9 type o game. Still Heavenly Sword got around that and i love that game so :P

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Ardiendo_1

Played the demo. It was ok but I wasn't blown away. The Sixaxis support fit quite well although it would have worked A LOT better with rumble.

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thecameronman

the demo was pretty awesome. i'm excited for this one. dont let the 5/10 from eurogamer turn you off. the review is totally stupid

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SkyCastleDan

Final Fantasy meets Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver meets Pokemon. This could work. I absolutely loved the demo. Very, very good.

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raghraghragh

This was great!Can't wait until it's released!Just like how Genji should have been.he music and graphics were fantastic!And the cut-scenes looked fantastic!

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IP_Yamiko

This demo was absolutely fantastic. Though not completely flawless (sometimes the camera goes to places you don't want it to go when you are fighting a major "folk") but this is probably 'the' funnest PS3 game I have played thus far. It has the background graphics of "Genji" (without the mentally-painful non-controllable camera function; yes you now are available to actually use it the way you want) the fighting style is "Devil May Cry" worthy, and the way you capture folk is very similar to the early "Pokemon" games... (where not all creatures can be captured so easily and you have to critically weaken them first). Although I have yet to use it on my HD TV, the graphics are still extremely detailed and fun to admire, even on a standard projection television. To sum it up, I am 'so' purchasing this game in its entirety when it debuts on store shelves.

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ballasteve

this demo is amazing, game will be amazing, and itll keep me occupied through october while im waiting for assassins creed. i cant freakin wait for this game im almost more hyped about it than i am about AC lol... but yeah if you havnt gotten the demo yet, GET IT!!

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My_Name_Is_Sin

Looks interesting

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AgentA-Mi6

Folklore for the win that chick looks hawt

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NinjaMunkey01

man I really need to get the demo after hearing all the great feedback!

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Arch-l

OK my opinion,,, i enjoy the game demo and for me to be completly happy with it is that they fix the camra abit remember its just a demo to get feed back thats what theyre for!!!! i can live with the camra as it is but if there much harder folk to fight(most likly yea!!) then its a must the camra must be fix....final thoughts overall...loved the demo. hope the same goes for the game!!!!

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ldksparda21

This a great game that is not getting the attention it deserves

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pavel_nedved_br

I've got the demo a couple of days ago and have pretty much liked the game. Of course Final Fantasy is always Final Fantasy, but Folklore is really an enjoyable. The SixaxiS motion was one thing I liked and no need to say the graphics are pretty good also.

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pixelsword

I personally loved it, and I hated the concept at first, looked like another FF clone, but was the farthest from it. I didn't like the "medium" thing, but as long as you don't have to do any of it ingame, I'm good. I liked the sixaxis thing, and playing games that uses the SixaxiS like this or HS leaves me with little doubt that not only will Lair be good, but the more I play sames with the SixaxiS, the more it eases my mind on games like Lair. Because of the SixaxiS I can also see why the Wii is so popular. I don't know if I'd like the Wii, but after playing a few SixaxiS centered games, my mind is more open to the possibility of playing one. The Graphics and gameplay is good, I also hope they fix the camera and even give the map optional movement. I realize that this game is built for Japanese sensibilities, but if you're going to go multiregional, adjust to the people you hope will buy the game. A little warning, if you're playing on a standard definition television, some of the words were a little hard to read at first. After going through a little bit of eye adjustment, you'll be able to read it pretty okay (kinda like Motorstorm's trak info screens). Overall, I'd buy it!

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jawshoeuh

i thought the demo was pretty sweet, and i actually liked the sixaxis motion support. the camera and map were a little weird at first. the camera rotation was slow and you couldn't change it from the default inverted scheme, but you could get around it by pressing r3 and the camera would snap to the direction your character is facing. not sure what was throwing me off with the map (not that it was all that necessary for the demo), but i think maybe i'm used to the maps rotating based on your character's movement where as this map is locked in place. the gameplay and story seemed compelling and the graphics were nice. i'll probably check it out when it's released.

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Tremblay343

I thought the sixaxis was a good addition, once you get the hang of swinging it back and forth for keatz. Like that huge bar needed to fill for the boss battle took a bit getting used to, but once you get the timing down, how to use your couple of folks in combo's, i found it extremely fun, and rather lengthy (well compared to Heavenly sword, anyways). The whole wandering around and fighting enemies is like FFXII's new combat system, which i really liked, and is applied the same way here. But the crappy thing about this is you can't really contorl the camera all that much, which i hope they fix before release. The boss battles were very zelda-esque, I thought they were very fun to play. Especially Keatz, having to weaken him down before you got to attack his on weak spot on his body. Then theres the picture book, though a little weird, is an alright addition if you can figure out how to defeat the boss on oyur own. I didn't think i'd be buying this, seeming as how i got a million other PS3 games to purchase this year, but after playing that demo, im ready for more

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Panman_Dan

Wow, all you people from what I've seen have just assaulted this title. I downloaded the Demo from the PSStore and was like okay... But then I was playing it and I absolutely loved it. The Sixaxis control was neat too, not pointless (spidermanc2k), It made it seem like YOU as the person in the game was yanking the soul out of the Folk by flicking the controller up and also where you shake the control from left to right made it seem like you were exhausting the soul to the point were you could just snatch it from that Folk. I'll definitely get this game.

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spidermanc2k

It was a descent demo. The Sixxaxis control really was pointless. Just because you can put it in the game doesn't mean that it makes the experience better. This could probably have been done more effectively with the analog sticks instead. Hold R1 and pull or push on the analog sticks. Simple.

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jimbobb23

I played the demo, I must say - shaking the controller sucks as an input method. Drop it and let it die. Game looks cool and inventive otherwise.

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a_grunge_fan

I've played both the Japanese and European demo for the game and I can safely say, I really liked it and i'll be buying it once it's released.

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bazzatuk

Not great in my view. The game is plagued by some major design issues. Some of which I do not expect to see in a next-gen title. The most annoying of which is the camera, it rotates too slowly leaving you open to attacks or control is removed from the player altogether. The second is that the play area often appears bigger than it is, you are constantly blocked into areas by invisibles walls, often some distance away from the nearest object. This can leave you stuck while trying to defeat an adversary with no obvious reason for being stuck. The graphics look very nice indeed, some of which remind me of Kameo on the 360. In fact the concept of multiple characters with varying abilities also seems a little familiar. As it stands this does little to impress me, or suggest it will be any better than Genji.

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flexappeal

Played the demo and thought it had potential. My only main concern was the inability to control the camera. It was sometimes hard to get a clear view of your enemies (esp during the boss battle) and you end using the map to find your bearings... rather annoying. Otherwise looking forward to seeing the final product in action.

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Serious

The colors and graphics of this world of folklore was amazing. I was playing the demo for a good 30 mins and was thinking gee the full game must really kick. another + for the PS3 massive exclusive game wave. With Heavenly Sword, Warcraft and now Folklore. All this without even counting the games that will play on both systems. When will I find the time to play them all. :)

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luigismansion101

I can't wait for this game. I hadn't even heard of it before the demo, and after playing it all I can say is wow!! This game blew me away. My only fear is that the game will either be too short or it will get repetitive. Let's hope not though, cause this could be an amazing game. And having two playable and completely different styled characters makes it that much better.

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And in case anyone was wondering the SIXAXIS works great and feels very natural.

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GodfatherGamer

I played the demo and i was hooked, and i have to say not a lot of demos do that to me, the Heavenly Sword demo gave me nothing to look forward to, but the Folklore demo got me wanting more.

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The demo was awesome.

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djb1203

This seemed wierd at first , but after a few mins i got into it. thought the use of the sixaxis was unnecessary though. to absorb the folks soul you got to press R1 then u tilt the controller ...why not jus press R1?? seems like its just using the tilt for the sake of it. also would of been nice to have some voice talent instead of reading pages of txt when the characters have something to say. altho this might change in the full game. other than that, it looks promising, the graphics are very nice and at least its a completely new idea for a change.

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lowkey254

Days of the Blade wasn't that impressive because of lack of time for the release. My personal belief is that it was for the PS2 but decided to bring it up to the PS3 in a short period of time. This game looks very promising. Especially coming from one of the creators of SFII. Good luck GR.

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Doolum

i was not impressed with Genji.played the game only coz i got it for free.wonder how this one will turn out to be.

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Floms

look pretty nice

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BlueyesCyclone

You can download the demo of the game from the eu PSN store the games graphics look fantastic. This is going to be a Great Game.

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Omnislash_

Looks good! Let's hope for an equal gameplay

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bihboy69

sounds interesting, and i liked the demo, if i have some spare cash after heavenly sword, lair, warhak and COD4, i might pick this on up

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barom

I kinda liked it, though somehow I felt it became a bit repetitive and that was only the demo lol (did I mention I find FPS very repititive). So I think i'll be staying off this one. Though I think it will be good for those who are interested. I also liked the use of the sixaxis.

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ChancreScolex

This game should have no comparison to Genji 2 aside from having the same developers. They play entirely different, besides 99.9 development studios makes a crappy game somewhere in the timeline. I'm chalking Genji 2's mediocrity to it being a rushed launch title, if you played the game completely you'd know what I mean. There were a few features alluded to in the game that were mysteriously missing, aside from all the RPG aspects of the first Genji which ROCKED.

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playstation_wii

I really like how you use the SIXAXSIS to "pull" the creatures souls out. :D

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drewt003

i absolutely loved the demo, the gameplay was amazing and so were the graphics. i am more excited about this game than i am for even mass effect. love it, can't wait for more!!!

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Xenoww

I think im going to buy this one :o nice graphics also

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daxxriggs

Playing the demo now .... looks very nice....unsure of the sixaxis tho !!

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dru26

I can honestly say I was more excited about this game, before reading this article. I was hoping for a basic fable-like rpg. I also had no idea it was made by the creators of Genji, which bad camera aside, was awful.

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Crash_FOX

NICE!! Can't wait for it.

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ps3333!!!!!

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valcrist09

I think this game will be a hidden Hit, it will be a iffy unknown weather it will be good title tell it comes out. I think the game looks good, the art style to me looks looks great and it seems like something different to me.

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ballasteve

this game looks SWEET

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peeweeshift

i dont really mind if games don't look bad but when i hate the art style i hate always hate the game. the art style in this game for the enemies makes me want to throw up. "man Genji sucked, hope it doesn't have the same horrific camera" You just sucked at the game like the others who used that excuse. the game was amazing to watch and play. step up your game skill if you want to play it.

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sOuLkOoLkIlLeR

"Folklore is another gamble for the creators of the Genji series, because not only is it based on a completely new idea, it shares the same Japanese design sensibilities as its predecessor." not good?

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