There's too much to put here. The visuals are amazing, the
audio is great, the game play is novel and addictive, and
the plot is amazing and epic.
"Voices" can be annoying to some (if you hate Animal
Crossing "voices"), the brush can be a little sensitive, and
the game ends with no sequel in sight. Also, if it weren't
for the game being so much fun, the challenge (or complete
and total lack of any) would be a very bad thing.
shown off at many industry shows leading up to it's release.
It was the game that would help to revolutionize what we
thought possible from PS2 era visuals. That's a big claim,
but it's coming from Clover, the people behind Viewtiful
game finally launched in 2006, much of the hype had died
down. FFXII, Tales of the Abyss, Zelda, and Gears of War had
all taken some of the hype away in the current gen, and the
next gen lineup was forming fast and frantically. It was
hard for a game based on Japanese mythology and religion to
really get much attention to an audience like the US.
part of the reason I let the game slip by when it first came
along. It just went below the radar, and it was not until
the "Best of 2006" awards were constantly calling Okami GOTY
or runner up that I opened my eyes and saw that the Wii
could afford to sit a bit while I gave the PS2 what might be
it's final hurrah. Was waiting on this game a smart move on
my behalf? With the difficulty I had in finding a copy and
with the experience I had, the answer is clear; I was an
ago, in the small village of Kamiki, evil was afoot. Orochi
was the head of this evil. This great demon would demand a
sacrifice of a young woman on the night of the full moon.
About this same time, Shiranui, a strange white wolf, was on
the lose in the village. The villagers assumed that Shiranui
was a familiar of Orochi and were bent on stopping the
wolf...but their efforts always failed.
night of the next full moon, Nagi, the hero of this village
and the main opponent of Shiranui saw as his beloved was
chosen as the next sacrifice. Nagi decided to end this
turmoil with a final battle to the end with the seemingly
invincible Orochi. During his epic battle, things looked bad
until Shiranui arrived and helped Nagi to seal the demon.
During the battle, Shiranui was fatally wounded. Nagi took
Shiranui's body back to the village and a small shrine was
erected in the wolf's honor to remember this unexpected ally
for all time.
later (the present day), someone removed the seal that had
held Orochi in stasis. That is when evil returned to the
land. When all seemed like it could not be fixed, the statue
of Shiranui was restored to life by Sakuya, a tree spirit.
You are this restored Shiranui, who also happens to be
Amaterasu (the goddess of the sun). Sakuya charges you with
saving the land. Behind divine in nature, you naturally take
this burdon on yourself.
take on the duty of babysitting Issun, a Poncle (a small
humanoid that looks a lot like a mushroom...maybe Toad from
Mario is a Poncle...?). This mischievous imp is an artist by
training and is also a perverted troublemaker who will serve
as your voice (wolf's don't talk much more than saying
"woof"). Issun also takes on the important duty of giving
you a more easy to remember name; Ammy.
play the game, you will encounter dozens of unique
characters, vastly different moods and themes, and most of
all a good amount of emotional storytelling unlike what many
would expect from a Zelda inspired game. The plot will
continually advance and progress with each new move you
make, and you will be treated to something more reminiscent
of a classical novel's plot than the plot of a video game.
If you like complex plots with a lot of emotional
investment, then this is the best game for you.
plays like Zelda. I said it. No Okami fan would like to hear
that said, nor would any Zelda fan. However, the basics of
Zelda are the basics of Okami. Also, while you do play as a
wolf, it's more like playing as the human Link than the wolf
Link of Twilight Princess.
comes down to three basic events. The first would be
exploration, including your usual town and dungeon stuff.
This mainly includes you trying to find every hidden area,
treasure, and side quest possible. It also includes you
being able to talk with people to learn of the plot, buying
equipment, and just shooting the breeze. This part of the
game is literally as simple as it sounds.
part is battles. In a battle, you will be enclosed in a
small hemisphere, from which you and the enemies are trapped
to commence battle. Some battles allow you to leave by
breaking a hole in the hemisphere, while others don't allow
such egress. The fighting is quick and fun with the use of
your brush techniques (more on that will follow), a primary
weapon, a secondary weapon (or shield), and some fun special
abilities (like peeing on enemies to get better rewards).
The battle may have you as a wolf in shape, but the weapons
work as if held by an invisible human hand. In fact, if you
dread playing as a wolf due to games like Twilight Princess,
you should be happy to hear that the only effect you have
from being a wolf is the ability to bark, pee (and poop...it
works in the game, no matter how strange or juvenile it
sounds), and the reflexes and speed of a wolf.
will also reward you with bonuses based on the way you fight
a battle. Each enemy will drop money, but also some will
drop an alternative currency (demon fangs) if you either
"eliminate waste" on them or if you find the correct
finishing move for a dieing foe. Additionally, for talking
no damage, or for fighting quickly, you will get bonus
part of the game is the good old puzzle solving and side
quest side of things. Using your brush techniques and some
communicating, you'll have a lot of chances to solve puzzles
and help people with odd jobs. This includes races, helping
cooks with their recipes, opening complex doors, finding
hidden treasure in amazing 2D vertical mazes, and just
solving the basics of restoring life to a demon ravaged
benefit of these side quests is not the treasure. While
money is good for buying healing items, offensive items,
weapons, and whatever else you need to survive, it's not
enough. That's where praise comes in. Praise is the
experience points you get for helping to return normalcy to
the country. It can then be used to increase your health
("heart containers"), wallet size, your astral pouch (energy
tanks that restore you to full health when/if you die), and
of ink, the main feature of this game's engine is the
celestial brush. When you hit the R1 button, the world
literally turns into your canvas. You then can use the
analogue stick and one of two face buttons to draw symbols.
As you play through the game, the amount of brush techniques
you know will increase and open up new solutions to puzzles
and new ways to defeat your foes. These range from turning
day into night and night into day by drawing a circle (sun)
or crescent (moon) in the sky, a powerful slash attack (to
kill and to destroy boulders and trees), plant growth (to
restore life to the world), cherry bombs (like bombs in
Zelda...to explore new caves and to harm foes), and the
manipulation of fire, water, electricity, and vines (to fly
through the air). You also can make gusts of air, and climb
up special walls with time. You can even upgrade some of
these abilities to make (and not just manipulate) elements,
increase the power of your slash attach, and to make more
bombs at a time.
celestial brush is a lot like the items you find in Zelda.
However, instead of various ammunitions, you have just one
shared ink pool. When you run out, it will restore on vial
(one "magic meter") each nine seconds, or quicker with
special items and ink refill pickups. However, running out
of ink also eliminates your equipment until you have at
least one point saved, which will put you into an unarmed
(and under classed) position in combat.
downside of this innovative mechanism for controlling the
world is that it can be a bit touchy. For example, to make a
bomb, you draw a circle and then a line sticking out of it
(like a fuse on a bomb). Do this too quickly, and you may
summon a gust of wind (which is a swirl motion). Also, some
techniques use the same design but in different locations. A
circle will bloom a tree, but if your aim is not correctly
interpreted, you may have drawn a circle in the sky, which
will summon the sun. It does take time to get used to, but
after you start to understand what the game wants, you'll
wish this system was in more games.
end, Okami offers a perfect blend of the familiar (Zelda
style) with an innovative twist of the celestial brush. The
controls are easy to learn, and are quite complex and fun to
play with after the initial hour of learning. The only
downside at all is that this game is too damned easy. With
the free flow of cash in the game, and the ability to hold
99 of each item (including cheap attack items and three
sizes of healing items), you will not even need to put your
best in most fights. In fact, I never saw the game over
screen, nor did I use any of the "1-up" style astral
That was my first thought in this game. The visuals are
everything they were promised to be, and more. While the
details would say that the visuals are rough and far from
complex, that's where the beauty comes into play. This game
is a lot like an ancient Japanese sketch drawing. It's
simple, it looks like a Japanese drawing that came to life,
and it's amazing to behold because of it's simplistic
talking about how a game like Katamari Damacy looked great
because it was simple. That game worked with simple visuals
because it was a simple game. It was a theme for the game
that came along nicely.
looks great by being simple in one way; it's meant to
represent ancient Japan like only a few things have ever
shown it. It has the epic plot of a book like any detailing
the Heike and Gengi clans, and it has the exact look of a
Japanese sketch drawing. If ancient Japanese art was not
this style, I doubt the game would have been and it would've
looked out of place. However, using history and real art as
a backing, Okami never fails to amaze with it's beauty.
most part, the audio of Okami is as amazing as the rest of
the game. In particular, the sound effects are fun and
lighthearted, but they remain realistic enough to fulfill
their needed roles. This goes from the whistling of a
summoned wind, the explosion of a bomb, the howl of a wolf,
the crackle of a flam, and the splashing you hear when you
enter water. You also have the ambient noises of animals and
other sounds of nature are you explore the land. This goes
hand in hand with the clangs and smashing noises of fierce
(yet easy) combat.
background music is also in this same class. The music is
always memorable and it always matches the scene at hand.
There is nothing boring or overplayed in the sound track.
potential downside of the audio is found in "voices". The
voices in this game are Animal Crossing style garbled
sounds. If you can stand Sim-speak or Animal Crossing talk,
then you are in for 45 hours of annoyances on this otherwise
fabulous game. However, while some people may not enjoy
them, they actually fit into the game nicely. It matches the
art style by keeping the game rooted in reality, but
slightly removed enough to make one feel like they are
playing on a whole different level than what games will
traditionally present the player. Actual voice over work or
a lack of an "speech" would have simple left this aspect of
the game in the wrong general feel and emotion.
definitely a game that doesn't come along every day...or
even every year. This is a game that defies all that we
expect from the game industry. The visuals are fresh and
unlike anything else, and besides some influences from
Viewtiful Joe (another Clover game), there is no use of cell
shading that even comes close to this style of animation in
a video game. When you throw in the innovative celestial
brush mechanics and the plot that comes straight out of
Japanese myths and religion, you have a game that really
should not have come to the US under traditional
American shores were truly bestowed a great honor to have
seem this game. Even though it has some problems with an
overly easy challenge level, the game is epic and amazing to
play. It's one game that truly will inspire addiction to the
PS2 as we bid that generation goodbye. So, without and
hesitation, I give
Okami a very rare and very well earned 10 out of 10.
Some things could have been better on paper, but it may not
have made this game any better in practice.