Okami Preview

Imagine an ancient evil taking over the world in which the very life force of all living things is being destroyed. What would you do if you had the power to combat this evil and restore everything as it once was? Imagine that you have divine powers, but now must give many of them up in order to return to earth. The scenario of this story is taken from Japanese mythology and takes on real substance in the upcoming game from Capcom-Okami for the PS2.

Okami is an action-adventure game that has you playing the role of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, who comes to earth in the form of a beautiful white wolf to combat the treacherous Orochi, a multi-headed snake whose sole purpose is to spread evil and destruction upon the inhabitants of earth. During the adventures of Amaterasu, she encounters many dreaded monsters, enemies, and antagonists in her quest to return peace to the world and defeat the demon snake.

Gameplay involves a great deal of exploration and chance meetings of characters and situations. Amaterasu travels-or rather, runs-constantly, while engaging various citizens that need her help. The scope of these side adventures range from the mundane running of errands to the more formidable tasks of ridding the populace of the evil darkness that is trying to engulf the land. Combat involves the use of special skills, and linking attacks together. With each successive hit, the damage to the enemy increases accordingly. A hit counter during battle action lets you know how long your combat strings are. During the course of the game, the almost powerless sun goddess is able to refresh more and more of her powers. The more good she does, the more praise she receives. And the more praise she receives translates into more powerful skills and traits. It is a long process, but then again, no one becomes a sun goddess in just a couple of days, right?

In addition to just old-fashioned monster/demon butt kicking duties, you,ll also be collecting weapons, items, and new skills. All of these things will be instrumental in how you fare in the last battle with Orochi, so a keen mind and observant attitude will be useful in gearing up for the final encounter. You,ll not only meet the human and animal inhabitants of the earth, but various deities who will assist you in the craft of learning deity skills.

An unusual aspect of gameplay is the appearance of the "celestial brush." In this mode, you,ll be able to use a large brush, which is able to "paint" scenes in your environment. You,ll be able to use this power to formulate bombs, change the weather, and create constellations in the sky. In total, there are about a dozen of these special powers that you will be able to learn. But amidst all the fighting, you,ll also be challenged with a variety of puzzles to keep your mind challenged.

The game presents a totally open environment, which is non-linear in nature. While there is always a plot, the storyline does not confine you within any boundaries; you are totally free to roam the countryside and world with abandon. However, the totally free nature of gameplay may be a hindrance to those who are more familiar with game plots that are more structured rather than the spontaneous nature of Okami.

Visually, the game’s done in cel-shaded animation and has an artistic style that is reminiscent of impressionist paintings or detailed sketch art. The graphics are done with broad strokes, but in a flowing manner that gives the game a feeling of constant motion and energy. It’s rendered in 3D, but conveys a strong feeling of a 2D world. The melding of the two drawing styles is unique and pleasing, and a refreshing change in visuals for games these days.

The sound and music in the game is well done. The musical score is quite dramatic, and adds a great deal of urgency to the battle action and overall ambiance of the title. The fighting scenes are chock full of sound effects, and this also adds a great deal of feeling to the game.

Okami stands to be a good title for action-adventure fans that enjoy roaming the game surroundings in a free and unrestrained manner. The plot of the game revolves around Japanese mythology-the stark contrast between the values of good and evil, and the decisions that must be made to remain good. The question of whether you,ll like this title or not depends on your view of how adventure games should flow. If you like free roaming, Okami stands to be an excellent game for you. If you are more of an RPG fan who likes a tight plot, however, it may be a little too overwhelming.

Okami hits store shelves for the PS2 on September 12th and will retail for $39.99. The ESRB rating is still pending.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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