Review by Hansy016

"A Solid and Fairly Unique Adventure"

Well, this is my first review, and I'm mainly writing because, unlike most of the so-far reviews, I don't believe the game deserves a 10/10, a 9, possibly, being generous/optimistic, but I'll explain the details below.

Game Summary:
Alright, Okami is an adventure game. Pretty much, darkness is overrunning the world, and you, Amaterasu [Goddess of the Sun in Shinto Religion, although noted as Genderless in this game] in the form of a Wolf, must save it. Pretty generic, but like most stories, it has it's twists and turns. What can also be said is like many japan-based things, it borrows a fair deal from the historic myths and culture. So, if you're a japanophile, give this game a 20/10 right now, stop reading my review, and go buy it. Anyway, it's partly a dungeon-game, but a hefty deal is spent simply enjoying, and saving the world (literally). Using the celestial brush, you can paint things, and they will effect the world. You can restore nature (make flowers bloom, trees grow, ect.), make wind blow, change day to night and vice-versa, and control the elements like fire/water/thunder, as well as a large amount of other things. There are 15 brush-stroke techniques, although many of them gain a second or third level, allowing another power for that brush, or an upgraded version. Combat is pretty simple, but I'll get to the rest of this in gameplay.

Graphics - 10?/10
The graphics are, in my opinion, very nice, they give a very natural feel to the game, and are quite artsy, many of the 'outlines' of objects and people being very inked to make the whole thing look like a cartoon display. That said, they aren't real-life at all, but are still nice to look at. Depends on opinion really. As a comparison, they are similar to Viewtiful Joe's graphics. The reason there is a question mark on the rating, is because graphics depend on how much people like them in my opinion. However, while they aren't technologically god-like, they are more than sufficient and really fit well. 10/10 is just because I like them, and feel there are no flaws.

Sound - 10/10
The sound in this game, while again depending on how much someone likes it, are very well done regardless. They have a nice tone accenting the game's culture, having variations of familiar traditional Japanese music. The music also goes well with the situation, and changed with whats going on, working together all quite well. If I have one complaint, when you go into the 'brush-screen' to use the celestial brush, the music changes, which can interrupt the whole feel.

Storyline - 7/10
There isn't much to say about the storyline, it's interesting, somewhat, but people tired of the usual clichés will likely become bored with it. Of course, there are enough humorous moments and whacky events to keep it fun, but nothing special. As said before, it borrows from many Japanese-mythological elements, so if your into that, you'll love it. It 'does' get better as you go, I'll say that much. However ,it is bland in presentation, bringing in completely random things, which you then deal with, and move to the next one. There is no deep consistency, which lowers the score a bit.

Characters - 9/10
The characters really impressed me. The main character, you, is really somewhat unimpressive. But that is understandable, you are mute, and only get a couple Yes/No answers. However, the wolf's facial expressions and poses still add personality. You're 'side-kick' a Mini-Bug-Samurai-Guy-Thing named Issun adds some humor, but his lines can get repetitive and annoying at some points. What I really liked, what the development of the NPC's, many seem like you talk and leave, some however, just keep popping up, allowing you to delve into their various personal stories. At the same time, enough of it is optional so that you don't have to read novels of text just to drag through the game.

I will break the gameplay segment into two parts, Technical and Fun. Some people prefer the technical aspect, and some people prefer just how enjoyable it is. Of course, they coincide in some ways, but are very separate in others.

Gameplay I; Technical - 8/10
First, as a shout out to any 'hard-core' gamers. Okami is easy, there is no doubt about it. How easy depends on the player, but in general, it is not a horridly challenging game. At the same time, it's not a pushover (unless you 'try' to make it that way, which isn't hard), but I'll explain. The main reason, is the amount of healing items you can have which make it almost 'impossible' to die. You can carry 99 of each healing item, the strongest of which fully recovers you. You also have something called the 'Astral Pouch' which revives you upon death. You can get up to 4 of these, that means if you finally die, you just come back, up to 4 times. As well, there is a 'Golden Peach' which instantly fills an Astral Pouch (Although I'm not sure if you can use this in combat). Next, there are items which hurt your enemies, instantly, for a set amount of damage. Have enough of these, and you can completely annihilate anything by spending more time in the menu screen than the actual game. Taking all this into account, you 'can' make Okami ridiculously easy. However, at the same time, you can make it challenging for yourself (not using healing items, only using the weaker weapons, not using damage or buffing items, only using 1 Astral Pouch), part of this versatility is what makes it good. The only problem being it's a lot less convenient to make it hard than easy. Still, unless you demand heart-breaking challenge, it should be pretty standard if you don't go extreme either way. 'In short, it's on the easy side, but not outrageously so, and is adjustable'. There are no difficulty settings, though, which would have been nice. As far as combat goes, you run into these floating scrolls, and are trapped in a circular area to fight them. It's nice, because you can fight whenever you want, but are not forced into a bunch of encounters. Controls are easy: Jump, Attack, Attack with a different weapon, Use Brush, and some more stuff, but nothing too deep. It's rather repetitive, but bearable to be sure, and if you mix up your weapons and such, you can have a variety of different fights. Incorporating the brushes into the combat is also fun, as many enemies, though you can pound into oblivion, have an elemental or some form of weakness. Speaking of enemies, there are a good amount, and are as interestingly designed as everything else, being nice to look at. For bosses, they are like fancy enemies, and are generally very fun to fight against. You can also use brush moves in the general world, which becomes a huge part of the game, just restoring existence as much or little as you want as you move along your journey. The rest is in fun, though some of that is still technical.

Gameplay II; Fun - 10/10
The gem of Okami is, for the most part, it's just fun. Despite the slightly repetitive play or generic story, which stop it from really being 'that' awesome, it's amusing. Fixing every dead grass patch, making every wilted tree bloom, feeding every starving animal, lighting every torch, it's great to watch as you bring the world to life, helping both nature and people. Also, there are a bunch of side-quests, leaving much more than the main story, which, really isn't that constricting or too big a part. Another great thing which makes Okami fun is, as far as I've seen 'NO BUGS'. It is very solid, and you'll never fall through a wall or freeze up (I've heard of this very few times, but the great majority of people, including myself, seem unaffected). Some would argue 'Fun' is all the game needs to be a 10/10, and that's fine, I disagree, obviously, but take it however you will. The mix of graphics, music, humor, involvement, and freedom, make it greatly worthy of being an 'adventure' game, and most will enjoy it.

For a time clock, it's probably about 30 hours if you rush through the game, 35-45 if you stop to do somethings, and 50-70 if you go out to do 'everything' you possibly can. For replay value, there is a New Game+, carrying over some things and getting a bonus if you fulfilled certain conditions, aside from that, unless you just feel like it, there is no reason to restart from the beginning. Though maybe pick it up every so often after full completely just to play around.

Overall - 8/10
In a small summary, I give Okami an 8/10 because while it brings the general enjoyment and fun to please most people, you have to 'like' it for it to be good. Whereas other games, you can hate them, but cannot be denied as being extremely well-made. Don't get me wrong, Okami is done finely, but not outstandingly or perfectly so. Over all, it is a solid and fairly unique adventure.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/28/06

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