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Okami is revolutionary on so many different levels. If you own a PlayStation 2, you absolutely must buy this game. This is one of the best (if not THE best) games on PS2.
- Okami has perfected the fun formula and created the most original experience in a videogame, ever.
- The cell-shaded art style fits both the story and gameplay of Okami perfectly, and makes for the most beautiful PS2 game that you've ever laid your eyes upon.
- The gorgeous musical scores along with the quirky voices work wonders.
- Combat isn't all that deep.
In the land of Nippon (Japan), a mammoth monster has been released upon mankind. As Okami Amaterasu, you must fight the evils of the world and restore the land of Nippon to its previous peace. So begins our romp through Okami, developed by Clover Studio (R.I.P. 2007) and released in the U.S. on September 22nd, 2006.
The storyline puts players in control of a female goddess from Japanese legend, Okami Amaterasu. However, rather then taking the form of a human female, Okami is pictured as an incredible white wolf. Amaterasu doesn't speak, but she is accompanied by the chattery Issun, a small entity who wishes to master all of the Divine Brushtrokes. Issun is a fantastic addition to the game: Okami's plot is faithful to the atmosphere of Japanese legends, and his presence adds a lightness that prevents the events to develop too dramatically. They set out on a quest to recover all of Amaterasu’s lost brush techniques, restore color and life to Nippon, and defeat the monster Orochi. However, they eventually find themselves confronting a much greater evil (no spoilers here!) The story is simple yet stirring, comedic yet dynamic, and emotional in a way previously thought impossible in a game.
Behold the cel-shaded glory
From a graphics standpoint, Okami is the most beautiful game you have ever had the privilege ever play. This is not an understatement. The game takes cel-shading to the next level, immersing one's senses in a moving watercolor painting. Okami’s environments feel exactly as they should – when roaming through an open grass field, they are alive and vibrant; subsequently, while in a cold and harsh place, they still adapt and fit. You literally feel like shivering when entering the snowy land of Kamui. Animals litter the world, giving it another element that adds to the already amazing sense of life. Watching bursts of color appearing on your screen, dead trees blooming into cherry blossoms, and battle effects has never been quite as beautiful as in Okami. This game would be worth it for the art alone, fortunately there is a lot more than art that makes this game a must have.
Music to the ears
The sound in Okami is brilliant. First, the music must be mentioned, with dozens of scores stirring a sense of tranquility into the mind of the player. The music always perfectly matches the environments and situations you are in. During boss battles, music is epic, providing a backdrop to some truly amazing experiences. In dungeons, music is creepy, mysterious, or whatever it needs to be to fit the situation at hand. This game wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing combinations of graphics and music that it provides.
Other in-game sound effects are good as well, especially small things such as a sound every time you defeat as boss or find a secret. That may sound familiar to Zelda fans, and indeed it is, because while one might not expect it, Zelda and Okami share many similarities (which will be discussed more later).
Last but not least the voices, but voices they are not. Each character, from major to main to minor, speaks with a series of squeaks, mumbles, and grumbles instead of an actual voice. While this could be a turn-off to many people, you quickly get used to it. After playing through however, one realizes how bad real voice acting would have been for the game. Trust this; the quirky voices are beneficial instead of a reason to miss out on this fantastic game.
Paint your way through the most original game ever...
Even after all it’s other positive elements have been reviewed, where Okami truly shines is its gameplay. The main focus is on the “Celestial Brush”. During any time whatsoever, you can press and hold R1 to turn the game into what looks like a sepia scroll of parchment, which pauses the game and allows one to draw, interacting with your surroundings in amazing ways. It’s a strange concept, but it’s actually the core of the game and its main success. There are 13 brush techniques (15 if you count blossom, lily pad, and vine as three), which ... (continued on next page)