Review by Gridogn

"The Best Zelda Game That's not a Zelda Game (FREE OF SPOILERS)"

Your a sun goddess...that's re-incarnated into a wolf...a wolf that has been dead for 100 years...and she's here to save the world? Well, yeah, that's the basic premise of Okami for the PS2 and Wii. Words can't describe...well yes they can because I am after all writing this review, the superb quality of this game! From it's story to game play, the game is almost perfect in every way! Let's take a closer look at the specifics!

The music really fits the mood of the game. It's very Japanese, like the very setting of the story, and totally engrossing. You'll get many themes stuck in your head, such as the very soothing restoration theme, or the main field theme, or the theme when you meet another god.

The sounds are just as fitting as the music. From the barks and howls from Amaterassu (the main character), to the death cries of imps, and the explosion of a bomb, the sounds are just like what you'd expect them to be.

Some call this the most superb trait of this game, I call it the most refreshing graphics in a game in ages! Okami, especially with it's parchment filter (which is a transparent layer of paper placed on top of the regular visuals), feels like your playing inside a Japanese painting. The detail is also phenomenal. It's all beautiful, from the times you bring out your celestial brush, to the moments you're dashing through vast mountain peeks. The only problem I had with the graphics was that it took some time to adjust to them (and their magnificence).

Game Play-

Primary Game Play-9.9:
The general game play of Okami has many similarities to the legendary (no pun intended) Legend of Zelda series. The way you navigate the field, the way you acquire treasures, and the abundance of side quests, all of these are similar to what you'd see in Zelda. However, Okami does offer some new mechanics, like the Celestial brush.

The Celestial Brush is basically a powerful brush used by the gods that, by drawing things, can perform numerous actions. The brush in game can be brought up with the tap of a button (R2 for the PS2, I don't know the Wii controls) and you can draw things to cause various actions. These actions are known as Brush Techniques. For example, drawing a straight line on a tree will cut it in half. Drawing a circle on a dead tree will revive it. Or, you can draw a bomb to blow up cracks in walls. There are many brush techniques through out the game, and each one is entertaining to use.

You can level up certain aspects of Ammaterasu in Okami via a method known as praise. Praise is gained through a variety of ways. You can feed animals, restore trees, or help out a stranger in need to get praise. You can level up Ammy's health bar, get more inkpots to be able to draw more things simultaneously, or even get a larger wallet. It's a really rewarding system.

Battle System-8.5/9.5 (boss battles):
Okami's battle system isn't really that unique, and it has some flaws in it. It's still a good system! Regular enemy encounters will be had by bumping into floating scrolls. Once you engage the scroll, you are encased in a wall and are confronted by monsters. The shame is, that there really isn't a variety of them. Most monsters have a simple strategy around them, and it gets repetitive to keep on fighting them. The reward for random battles isn't that much either. So, your best off bringing out your brush and cutting the scroll in half, which temporarily prevents it from striking you. I must say, the Zelda set-up is better, where the monsters are placed to impede you progress, and are quick to defeat.

You can fight by using your brush, but you also have a hand full of weapons to select from. Each weapon has a primary use, and a secondary use. For example, your first weapon is initially just a battering weapon, but when equipped as a sub, it can be used as a shield. Another weapon can be used as a chain, or when used as a sub has a bullet effect. This can cause some really cool combos and set-ups.

With that said, the combat is superb, and really shines when confronting bosses and other "non-routine" enemies.

Okami is a superb game in almost all respects. You will be in awe by it's graphics, humming it's tunes all day long, and engrossed in it's game play for hours (it's not a short game)! Despite being similar to Zelda (you do have a hook shot and bombs), it manages to be original! You owe it to yourself to buy this game if you own a PS2 or Wii. Go, run to your local retailer...NOW!

OVERALL: 9.7 (not an average)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/07/08

Game Release: Okami (US, 09/19/06)

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