Publisher: Clover Studios
Platform: PS2 (September 19, 2006)
Wii (April 15, 2008)
From the first time I laid eyes on Okami, I expected great things. And Okami more than delivered, it was jaw-dropping. Okami has to be one of the most awe-inspiring games I have ever laid my hands on. When I started playing I was hooked till the end. I just love this game, the characters, the art style, the gameplay, everything about this game is so unique and so distinctive that it’s sort of sickening.
In Okami, you play as the newly revived sun-goddess Amaterasu. Amaterasu was killed 100 years before the current day in a battle between the eight-headed serpent, Orochi. At the beginning of the game, Amaterasu’s mission is to restore the world of Nippon to its former beauty, but it is soon realized that the dreaded Orochi has reawakened and Amaterasu’s new mission is to stop the serpent once again. I know it sounds cliché, but Capcom pulls it off with flying colors.
But what is really great about the story may not be the story itself, but the characters. The characters in Okami have a life on their own. The characters dialogue is witty and sarcastic. Especially the games two main characters, Amaterasu and Issun. Issun is a bug sized artist that serves as the games guide and comedic side-kick. Amaterasu is a goddess, but she’s also in the form of a wolf so she can’t speak, but that doesn’t mean she can’t come across. She’ll literally fall asleep if something bores her. Funny thing for a goddess to do.
The design of Okami is based around the use of the celestial brush, a godly instrument that allows you to literally paint object into the world or directly affect its state. There are 13 brushstrokes in all and the powers they grant you are truly amazing. You can revive a dead tree by drawing a circle around it or slice and dice enemies with a single drawn line. I particularly liked the fact that if you didn’t like something that a villager told you, then you could set them on fire (I’m not sadistic). And don’t worry, it doesn’t kill them.
At the beginning of the game the use of the brush is fairly limited. You can do things like changing night into day by drawing a circle in the sky. But as you get more and more into the game, the celestial brush gets fairly complex. As you collect more brushstrokes you can do have more freedom. You create bombs out of thin air by drawing a circle with a fuse attached to it or create gusts of wind to blow out fires. Some enemies even have to be beaten using certain brushstrokes. An interesting part of the game is learning how to use these brushstrokes together to solve puzzles or beat enemies. For example, you can create a bomb and a simple gust a wind will send it barreling towards the baddies, truly innovative if you ask me.
Enemies are usually encountered by running into demon scrolls that are scattered throughout Nippon. You have to actually touch one to initiate a battle so theoretically you could go through the entire game without encountering a battle via a demon scroll. But if happen to stumble into one of these scrolls you shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever, the enemies you fight are generally pushovers and most won’t give you any problem.
The bosses, however, are an entirely different story. Most of them tower over Amaterasu as if she were a bug. Big or small the games main bosses are a challenge and require a little puzzle solving in order to defeat them. The only problem is that the bosses are in limited amount so you’ll encounter very few of them. But the ones they have are a spectacular addition to the game.
In addition to the main quest of the game there are literally a TON of side quests that you can embark on. From helping the townsfolk with simple tasks, digging up turnips, feeding animals, or exorcising demons. Some of these tasks get you money, but what you’re really after is the praise. Since you’re a goddess, praise helps you power up by getting more health or more inkpots for your brush. With the side missions included, the game is over 30 hours so you’re sure to get your moneys worth.
When I first set eyes on Okami, I was simply amazed. The graphics in this game are a visual feast. Visually, no other game on the market today can compete with Okami. Everything seems to be alive. Even when Amaterasu is running across a field, trails of flowers and grass follow behind her, truly a sight to behold. During the game, there were several times when I just stood there, taking in the great graphics in this game. The animation is superb too. Amaterasu looks just like a wolf should and would look if it were running, not some crappy imitation. The game is smooth and easy to control, the one and only time I witnessed any lag was when I would create too many bombs with the celestial brush, but even then, it wasn’t drastic and it passed quickly.
Think of what you would think a Japanese game would sound like only better. The game has a remarkable soundtrack. The sound blends extremely well with the world of Nippon. When someone talks and series of grunts and mumbles are what come out instead of words. I know that many people don’t like that, either voiceover or nothing, but it adds to the games charm. And this game has charm oozing out it’s ears (if it had ears that is).
Presentation: 90 (easy to learn game with informative help screens, lots of extra stuff to go around, decent story, and witty dialogue)
Graphics: 100 (one word…freaking amazing)
Sound: 95 (soundtrack=good)
Gameplay: 90 (great boss battles and plenty of side missions/puzzles, but most battles are just too easy)
Overall: 94 (Great Game!!)
If you haven’t had the privilege of playing Okami, PLAY IT!! It really is a game worth your money. I had a blast from start to finish. It’s a refreshing game that’s charming, witty, and engaging that any self-respecting PS2 or Wii owner need to pick up just because there isn’t anything else like it. Sure it does seem like Capcom might have taken a shot at trying to create a Zelda-like game, and it has so much in common with Twilight Princess that it’s kind of uncanny. But is that really a bad thing? If Okami wants to take its structure from Zelda and make a game even more unique, by adding the celestial brush perhaps? Then I say more power to ‘em. Okami is a game that you shouldn’t pass up, particularly if you like the Zelda games. It’s s stunning refreshing game that deserves your attention, as it greatly deserves it. So go pick it up.
And to all you people wondering…yes, since you’re a wolf, you can give your enemy a golden shower and yes, it is hilarious.