The Good: Beautiful art and creature design, great murder mystery, good use of Sixaxis controller, lots of folklore to collect
The Bad: Very hard, very linear, frustrating controls, weird quirks
One idea that has not really been explored in video games are fairies and why this is is beyond me. When I saw Folklore debuted at E3 '05 I was stunned by the beautiful visuals and charming idea of capturing fairies "ID" and using them to attack. After the game's release two years later is received luke warm reviews with most people complaining of the difficulty and repetition, and I have to agree.
Game play wise Folklore takes a step in the right direction, but then trips with flawed execution. You can capture dozens of fairies and store them for later use. Each realm has different types of fairies and they are used not only to fight certain enemies, but bosses as well. Some fairies are weak against some and immune to others. You can assign fairies to each face button and execute them as attacks. This is the step in the right direction, but the trip up is the flawed mechanics. Every time you attack with a fairy the character stops and then the animation is played out. This can be very frustrating when fighting fast moving fairies or bosses. Another flawed element is you don't know what fairy is good against each other because there is no data letting you know. You have fairies classified under elements, but you don' t know which can fight which unless you equip and unequip each fairy and this is daunting.
If that sounds bad enough navigating through the levels is extremely hard despite the extreme linearity of the game. Most levels are like mazes that give you no direction on which to go and re-spawning enemies every time you reenter an area is a disaster. Really? Re-spawning enemies? C'mon. You have to fight each area to acquire the IDs to break certain gems or fight bosses. After you have visited an area once you can just run by them all. Another thing that I hate is there is no way to use items. You can collect karma items, but I have no idea what they are used for. Health can only be generated by save spots or when enemies drop them and this is rare. If you die you have to start all over again from the last save point.
The other useless and annoying element to the game is the MP bar. It regenerates, but there is no special magic attacks so using your only attacks that drain a bar is absurd. After a few hits you have to wait for it to regenerate and this can be very annoying when fighting enemies that have timed down times.
If you want to talk about something that really annoys me? There are 8 chapters in the game and each character has 6, but when you get to chapter 7 you have to play 1-6 with the other character. Playing through an already frustrating game twice to see the ending? Almost not worth it. The game does have a great mystery murder type story that will keep you guessing all the way through, but there are even problems with that. Lots of text readings and hardly any cut scenes. The scenes are pre-rendered CGI which is what next generation technology is supposed to illuminate. You also get weird comic style panels that you can fast forward and then RPG type avatar conversation screens.
There are positive notes that make the game worth at least renting, and the biggest one is the great use of the Sixaxis motion sensing. This is probably the most use I've seen from any PS3 game so far. When you defeat a folklore you will see a red soul come out of it and that is the sign to hit R1 and pull the controller up. Some bigger folklore and bosses have you whacking the soul side to side, pulling up at timed moments, and shaking the controller vigorously.
The game's best feat is probably it's looks with gorgeous landscapes and beautifully designed folklore, but that's really not enough to keep you playing. Once you get to chapter 7 and realize you have to go through the game again with the other character it makes you decide whether to tread on or give up. If the game wasn't so frustrating with all of it's weird quirky game play elements it would be an amazing adventure.