Previews

Folklore

Discover a world of ghost, ghouls and fairies on the Emerald Isle

Now, it may look like an RPG, but apparently it's not. Well, at least that's what Sony is telling
us about its latest toe-dipping session into the world of 'action/adventure' games. And surprisingly, Folklore - which also happens to be developed by Yoshiki Okamoto, the brainchild behind Resident Evil, Onimusha and Devil May Cry - is set in Ireland.

Apparently, that is where a gateway to the Netherworld lies. Now that's something you won't find on a brochure for the Coast that includes the glittering likes of Galway, Kerry and Cork. Or will you?

Folklore or Unknown Realms or Monster Kingdom, whatever takes your fancy, the game's changed titles so many times since it was announced at the last of the 'real' E3's in 2006 - blends exploration with plenty of action. And Ireland, it seems, is serving only as the backbone to the story, the home to the portal into a spooky netherworld.

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When the game fires up you're given the chance to choose from one of two characters and rather than playing through the same storyline with just a different hero, Folklore goes for a completely new approach.

You can play through the game as Ellen, a troubled young woman who receives a letter from her mother - who also happens to be dead for the past seventeen years. Not just grew old and died dead. Dead as in murdered in a bizarre threesome of killings all those years ago.

Naturally when you play as Ellen (more of a creature summoner) you're on a quest for answers to your mother's untimely demise. Play through the game as Keats (a brawler) - a rugged-looking bespectacled fellah in a trench coat who also happens to be a third-rate journo scribbling for an occult mag back here in the UK - and you're there to undo the damage Ellen causes that may upset the balance between ours and the netherworld.

GHOSTS 'N' GOBLINS
Battling various monsters through the game's seven different dimensions, you need to capture and control hordes of Celtic daemons in order to progress any further.

We haven't seen any demonic Leprechauns yet, but our money's on a quick cameo from Warwick Davis at some point in the game with lines like: "Try and steal me pot of gold and I'll bite your ear off and make a boot out of it!" He will, you know.

From what PSW's been privy to, we know there are over 100 varying degrees of netherworld nasties to fight, capture and then use as weapons on a succession of bigger and tougher ones. Think of it as Ghostbusters meets Darby O'Gill and the Little People with (we're hoping) a peppering of one Father Ted - only the little people are ghoulish creatures. Let's hope that there aren't any rubbish voice actors brought in to do piss-poor renditions of the Oirish brogue, though. What are the chances?

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Still, the prospect of a game set in Ireland and developed by a Japanese studio is rousing enough. Folklore's being worked on right now by the same team behind Genji on PS2 and Genji: Days Of Blades on PS3. Fingers crossed, if Sony's release forecast predictions are right we'll see it some time between September and October.

Until then, have a good long ogle at these swanky-looking screens. To be sure, it's not a half-baked attempt at joypad wiggling. No really, it's pretty good. We wouldn't lie about something lie that. Game Republic has been working on perfecting this inventive way of trapping ghoulies in the game since day one of production. Away yee go, now.

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