Okami Review

Okami was originally a game released for the PlayStation 2 back in 2006. Ever since, Wii owners have been clamoring for a port to their system because the Wii was undoubtedly more suited to the game’s unique mechanics.

Since Okami was a commercial failure (although a critical success) when it debuted on the PS2, the developers, Clover Studios, disbanded. Capcom then turned to Ready at Dawn, the creators of the recent God of War: Chains of Olympus, to handle the port. I’m glad to say that RaD has done a great job in successfully translating Okami to the Wii.

You are Amaterasu, an ancient god who takes the form of a majestic wolf. The evil god Orochi has broken out of his 100 year long confinement and has cursed the world to a state of non-fertility. The world is dying and it’s up to Amaterasu to save it.

If you’ve played any Zelda title, you will be right at home with Okami. For all intents and purposes, the game is a Zelda clone. There is a massive twist to the gameplay however and it’s what makes Okami one of the freshest games in years. Early on you will gain the ability to freeze time and use what’s called your Celestial Brush to alter your surroundings. Whether it’s restoring a dead tree to life or drawing a bomb to blow up a wall, Okami has it covered for the most part.

Of course, you won’t gain all these abilities at the very start. At the beginning you are armed with only the ability to cut through monsters or soft surfaces by drawing a straight line across them. As you progress in your journey, you will gain the ability to create gusts of wind, make lily-pads on the water, and more. All the abilities are used often and the developers continue to make good use of them throughout the game rather than using them over and over for one task.

That said, the game can be repetitious at times. While the 13 Celestial Brush techniques are put to continuously varied uses, that doesn’t mean you don’t use some more than others. Especially early in the game you will be using one or two abilities much more than others. However as the game goes on, that becomes less of a problem.

When Ready at Dawn ported Okami to the Wii, they of course added motion controls to take advantage of the Wii remote. Motion control is used in two ways: fighting enemies and controlling the Celestial Brush. Controlling the brush is much more accurate compared to controlling it on the PS2 version with its analogue control because you just move the remote as if you were actually painting. It’s also much faster and after you get some practice you will be able to pull off brush techniques with blinding speed and accuracy.

However, combat is a bit of a different story. Battling enemies is done by shaking the Wii remote to attack much like in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. However unlike in that game, you can’t just shake the remote wildly around and defeat your foes. Instead you need precise timing and rhythm which is very hard to get down. Some players may like this but I still don’t have the timing completely right even after 20 hours of play.

Okami has some pretty good replay value–the main game will take most players at least 30 hours to complete and then there is a massive amount of side quests and hidden treasures. For the completist, Okami offers a lot and will keep you busy for a good amount of time.

Okami has one other thing that sets it apart from the crowd: its graphics. Okami uses a beautiful cel-shaded art style that gives it the look of an animated painting. It’s rather difficult to describe in words but although the game isn’t all that technically impressive, it’s still gorgeous to the point that my mouth hung open when I started playing. Note that I’ve never done that with any previous game. To be honest, the game’s graphics may further compel you to restore all the trees and dead grass you’ll find. It’s so beautiful that when you find an ugly, dying piece of land, you will want to restore it right away.

The music in the game is pretty good. It certainly adds to the atmosphere as the track is dark and dreary when you’ve encountered a land that’s been cursed. Vice-versa, it’s happy and upbeat when the landscape has been restored. The music at least is excellent, but the sound effects are a bit iffy. When talking to other characters their dialogue will be spoken out, but in gibberish. If you’ve played Animal Crossing then you have a good idea of what the spoken dialogue sounds like. It’s annoying for some and charming to others.

Overall, Okami is an excellent game. The action/adventure genre is at the top of its game with this one. Anyone who likes Zelda or likes adventure games owe it to themselves to pick this one up. It can’t be recommended enough.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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