Reviews// Okami (PS2)

You can't expect to wield supreme celestial power just because some leafy tart threw a brush at you!

Posted 7 Feb 2007 12:30 by
Games: Okami

Okami is without doubt one of the most beautiful Playstation 2 games it has ever been my pleasure to play. It is up there with the best that Shadow of the Colossus, God of War or Tomb Raider: Legend have to offer. As you can see from the screenshots, it uses a style of art unique among games, which borrows very heavily from the Japanese style of sumi-e ink and wash paintings.

Your journey through the game is like passing through a living picture that you can alter by way of your brush techniques, adding items that are missing or broken, cutting down trees or stirring the wind.

The most potent way you can affect the landscape is with the Bloom technique that enables you to re-invigorate plants or sow flowers. You use this technique to empower guardian saplings that then drive the cursed zones out of the nearby land in an explosion of blossom and leaves.

These sequences are possibly the most lush and artistically excellent scenes ever put into a computer game on any platform... ever. You get a real sense of achievement when you see the tidal wave of flowers forcing the evil from the land and restoring life to the area.

The game alternates in tone between cute and comedic, and dark and disturbing. Chief among the comedic elements is a character by the name of Susano, a descendant of Nagi, who bills himself as "the greatest warrior ever", but who is mostly just a washed up drunk living in the shadow of his famous forebear. However, Susano will make his bloodline proud by squaring up to his lineage and emulating his ancestor, with a little help from Amaterasu of course.

The dark and disturbing aspects come in when you battle the demons that have invaded the land, each one has a different fighting style and is affected by different fighting moves and strategies, including the brush techniques.

Overall, Okami plays like any typical adventure RPG - think Zelda games (there is even some fishing to be done). The twist is that you are a wolf-god and wield celestial power with a brush and ink.

However, the way the game is executed is fantastic. The story is based on traditional Japanese myths and legends, and as such it has a rich and varied background, which comes through in the writing and which draws you in to the plot. The best bit though is that the characters don't actually speak in a real language, so there are no voice acting or lip-synch problems to spoil the story.

There are some issues with the game, it wasn't written into existence by the brush of a god after all. There are sometimes camera problems, and you occasionally don't have a clue what to do next to progress the story.

I was stuck in a festival for over an hour before I found a couple of characters and managed to comply with the requirement to talk to everybody in the village before I could progress. However, these issues are tiny in the grand scheme of things and don't detract from the fun of playing the game.

Okami is a work of art and must be played - no, experienced - to be fully appreciated. My only hope is that Capcom sees sales worthy of such a beautiful game.

SPOnG Score: A

Buy this game and play it. If you have a soul or a beating heart you will love it. It will enchant you with its story, beguile you with its beauty, and it will consume your every waking hour until all you can see is a wolf running free through a field covered in blossom.
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Games: Okami

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micta 8 Feb 2007 14:35
You are a poet in the body of a brute. And you can get a Celestial Brush from the latest Argos catalogue.
Zazigglebub 8 Feb 2007 14:42
micta wrote:
You are a poet in the body of a brute. And you can get a Celestial Brush from the latest Argos catalogue.

Pointless information! whats its item number!!
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