Let's just get one thing out of the way; this is probably the hardest video game I have ever had to review. Ever. Never before have I myself been so polarized about how I felt about a video game. Folklore mixes in an intriguing story, fantastic graphical design, wonderful sound and a great combat mechanic with some rather repetitive game design. I don't mean just a little repetitive Folklore goes the whole nines into mind-numbingly repetitive and it hampers an otherwise great game.
On the surface Folklore seems like a simple enough game. You control two characters, a young woman with a mysterious past by the name of Ellen and a writer for an occult magazine named Keats, on an adventure that spans two worlds. During the day you will explore the village of Doolin, a sleepy little place out in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. At night you will find your way into the Netherworld speaking to, and fighting, Folks of all sorts. These Folks are the souls of the dead who have lost themselves and devolved into more primal forms. While not all evil per se even the mischievous spirits can be dangerous and you must combat them.
The Folk are, by and large, based off of mythological creatures. Things like Kilmoulis, Barghest and Faerys abound in this world as well as darker creatures. They are all here and look quite fantastic. While their designs might not match up with what mythology says they are still quite a sight to behold. Personally I have to admit to a great fondness for the setting. Stories about places where the living can meet up with the dead are prolific in mythology but not so much in games. It is a great premise that works well in this game.
But you won't just be fighting the Folk; they serve as your weapons as well. You will start with two of these little guys and you must find others around the realms. By absorbing their Id, the magical part of their soul, you can turn them into Pokemů uh, employee Folk. As you gather more and more of these Folk you will find that you have a wide variety of abilities at your fingertips, ranging from four hit slash combos to sticking enemies in place or even firing a cannon ball at your enemies.
The intriguing part of this is that you can have up to four Folk at the ready at all times, each mapped to a different face button. By pressing that button you initiate that Folks attack. Since they are all so available you can create your own custom combo attacks by linking together Folk attacks. It's quite interesting and it works well, allowing you quick constant access to the action that makes this game so much fun.