Review by ScrawlKnight
"A game where you can wield the power of the Japanese sun god!"
*~Okami (Action/Adventure - PS2)~*
*~Reviewed by barkera0~*
Okami is probably unlike any other game you've ever played. Sure, it may be similar in some aspects; exploring, intense combat, long main story, plenty of side quests, fun challenges and interesting characters, but there are a number of different things that really sets Okami apart from other games and makes it as awesome as it is. Okami is based on Japanese Mythology and tells the story about the Sun God Amaterasu, who is in the form of a stunning white wolf, and her journey to help rid evil from Japan and restore faith in the gods. She is joined on her journey by a tiny little creature, who is also a wandering artist named Issun. The story starts off quite simply; an evil 8 headed serpent that was killed 100 years ago has been reborn and is threatening the world once again. However as the game continues you find this to be only a very minor part of the true evil plan of the demons. The characters also develop, particularly Issun, and you find out some very interesting things about his past.
~~Gameplay : 9/10 ~~
The most important part of the gameplay is the exploration of Japan. Whilst you will have to visit a large proportion of it during the main quest there are many hidden areas, caves and secrets to discover. Thankfully Amaterasu, or "Ammy" as Issun likes to call her, can run at an incredible pace and jump very high. There is also a lot of combat to be had; most of it is optional if you choose to avoid it, but doing so would hinder your experience and chances of gaining special items through the game. During this combat Ammy fights using a "Divine Instrument" that rests on her back and swinging it around. A nice bonus on this is that there are actually three different types of these instruments that each deal damage in different ways. Combat is a very exciting, if sometimes a little easy, experience that you'll be finding you'll be going out of your way to find, not avoid. Enemies do not just roam the world freely as you see in other games, but are confined in their own demonic dimension. However, there are various evil talismans that float through the world, acting as portals for these demons to escape through. Running into one of these talismans will briefly lock you inside their dimension where the battle will take place. Whilst the combat is not often all that difficult, when against new enemies for the first time it can be a challenging to task to figure out their weaknesses. Being a wolf, you are also able to bark and dig holes! The latter being slightly more helpful... but what truly sets this game apart from others is the power of the "Celestial Brush". By pressing R1 you bring up a piece of parchment over the screen which allows you to draw what are virtually spells on it. There are 13 of these techniques to gain in the game as well as a few bonus hidden ones. Using the brush is how you perform godly miracles. For example; one of the earliest techniques you learn is "Bloom" and this allows you to bring dead trees back to life! You will come across other techniques that allow you to create wind, scale walls, harness fire, change night to day and slow time, just to name a few. You will also gain other moves to use in the game through finding the Dojo, where you can train to learn how to jump higher, be able to dodge, increase your attack power and more; a lot more. By using these miracles to help the environment, animals and people you will gain "Praise Globes". These globes are used to, in effect, level up Amaterasu. You are able to expand your heath, how much ink you have to paint miracles with, how much money you can hold and can even be used to save you from death. You can gain these by feeding animals, bringing trees back to life, destroying demons and more! This can also become its own sort of side-quest.
Okami is a stunningly beautiful game. The entire game has been created to look like a piece of traditional Japanese art work, and it does this amazingly well. The scenery of each area of Japan is amazing and running around them is a joy. There is a variation in flora you will see as you travel; adding to the unique beauty you will see within the game. Due to the large amount of running around the game has, having these attractive environments to look at really makes it an enjoyable experience. Each human character has been crafted perfectly; giving them their own unique look and feel. Demons look fantastic too; in an evil kind of way. Each different type is distinctly different from another and it really makes you feel as if you are facing off against an entire demon army. The visuals really help to make this game as impressive as it is and making it probably the best looking game you will find on the PS2.
The audio in Okami is perfectly suited to the game and is wonderful to listen to. The background music for areas and battles mixes what sounds like traditional Japanese instruments in a modern kind of track. This works very well and sets the scene for the game beautifully as well as superbly matching it to the art style. Sound effects are fantastic too. From demon attacking sounds to trees falling; it really helps to bring you into the game. Amaterasu's howl is particularly stunning. The only problem with the sound in Okami is the voice acting, or lack-there-of. Instead of speaking parts, each character makes weird little chattering sounds to indicate them speaking while the text appears at the bottom of the screen. Initially,this is a kind of fun way to do it, but as the game progresses it becomes a tad annoying. It would have been better to either go with full-on voice acting or to leave out the character sound all together.
For an action adventure game, Okami is very long. This definitely works in the games favour and at the end you'll find yourself wishing you could have had just one more place to visit! It will take you around 40 hours just to beat the main quest, assuming you don't rush through it, and around double that if you plan to finish all the side quests and find all the games secrets. There are only a couple of points where the game drags on a little, the most annoying when you have to face off against the same annoying boss three times throughout the game. He is quite easy on the final time, but it would have been nice for something new to be there instead. After you beat the game you get an updated save file in which you can start the game over and keep a lot of the weapons, equipment and bonuses you found on your completed game. This gives you a good chance to find anything you missed on another play through and who doesn't like starting a game again with extra powerful items!
If you own a PS2 Okami is a game you owe to yourself to go out and buy. It's got a fresh, new gameplay style, nice and long main storyline, amazing visuals and superb sound and includes heaps of side quests to keep you entertained! This is one of those games that will remind you why it is that you play games and love them!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/23/07, Updated 08/31/11
Game Release: Okami (AU, 02/14/07)
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