Okage: Shadow King
Review by Akana
"Great Evil King Stanely Highhat Trinidad XIV's rise to power in one of the best games ever!!"
I cannot recall what drove me to rent this game, other than I had reread a preview called ''The Demon and I'' in a very old PSM mag I got around my grammar school graduation June 2001. I put back Dark Cloud, and gripped Okage. I almost put it back for this other interesting game, ''Tsunagi: Atonement'', but that would have been a very large mistake.
I loved this game from the instant Stan's music started up.
This is one of the most original stories I have ever seen. It's usually all, you know, 'save the princess/get the four element crystals/collect things, then save the world'-like, but here you are the slave of a an Evil King who has possessed your shadow after being trapped in a bottle for 300 years. He is Stanley Highhat Trinidad XIV, the reincarnation of the Great Evil King who destroyed half the world until he was defeated by a hero, Hopkins. Now, since most of his magickal power has been robbed form him during his imprisonment, you must set out with Stan and reclaim his power by defeating fake Evil Kings. The story is GREAT, and then it takes an AWESOME twist in Chapter Five. There are seven chapters in the game, each of then, yeah, you guessed it, incredible!!
Okay, so the sound isn't so great. The tracks are very short and they loop continuously, and the only tracks I really enjoy are Stan's theme, the snowy country music, the sad music, and this one village's music called 'Triste.' The second town music isn't so bad, but it can get annoying fast. I'm not saying you'll be groping for the mute button, since everyone's taste is different, just that the tracks in other games such as Chrono Cross are much better.
The controls are okay, not too confusing. News flash, though. You CAN get killed in the first fight, and it's about half an hour into the game, but if you enjoy rich story lines then it won't bother you. The 'half-hour-in' thing, I mean. I've read at two official sources that you can just defend for the first fight and Stan will take care of everything: NOT TRUE. Fight your little heart out. But the first place this game faults a real fault is the battles. For me, regular ghost attacks (and they like to attack from random, on-screen places, such as coming thru' walls) are just button mashing the 'Attack' choice until everything's dead. The boss fights are a little more complicated, and this is a game where using magick randomly actually works. Sure, the battles can be annoying, but if you look past them, it really doesn't matter in the long run.
Graphics. AWESOME. Great detail on everything. The character models are fantastic, and the way everyone has big, creepy eyes just adds to the mood. Most things in the distance when travelling between cities are blurry, but that's not really that bad. Again, rich environments and incredible-looking characters are present, but to me, graphics don't matter in the end.
I would say that if you're here for a story and not action, you might go thru' all the battles and Urns (what you kill repeatedly to get thru' dungeons) and replay this game. I can't say for sure what the replay value is; I can't tell that until I beat the game, and all the guides I've seen (even Prima's guide) have a severe lack of detail, so that's not coming very easily.
Now, for the big question:
Buy or Rent?
I'm not going to shout my love for this game from the rooftops, say it loud, or go shoving this disc down everyone's throat since I know Okage: Shadow King is not for everyone. I know people who play RPG's to beat them, then that's it, off to GameStop with you. Also, others might want a better, less monotonous dungeon crawl. I would STRONGLY suggest you rent this before buying, as chances are you might not like it. However, it could become your favorite game as it has mine, and that's saying something since I adore Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, EarthBound (Mother 2), Super Mario RPG, and Chrono Cross.
Buy of Rent?: RENT
In conclusion, note how I'm giving it a 10/10 since the story has completely swept me away and made me look past the inadequacies in other parts of the game. It contains a powerful and special something that has knocked Zelda and Mario and all the other great games I own out of the throne of 'Akana's Fave Game'. Stan has taken up residence there, now ( XD ). He is the one, the only, Great Evil King Stanley Highhat Trinidad XIV, reincarnation of the Great Evil King Gohma, and all shall feel his wrath!
Take some time, delve into the story, and you too can see what a rare, rare gem amid ordinary stones Okage: Shadow King really is.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/25/02, Updated 02/25/02
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