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January 18 2007
Okami - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
14/2/2007CapcomClover Studio1$79.95

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These really are artistic graphics.
Okami. The name doesn't really make sense to us here at Future Gamez (it probably translates to something meaningful from Japanese), and the screenshots also don't really give a sense as to what type of game this is. Remember the last time this happened? Yes, Capcom's other uber stunning and original Viewtiful Joe. Strange name and stranger graphics. Indeed the producer of this game, Atsushi Inaba, is the same individual that brought us Viewtiful Joe. One can only hope that this latest game from Clover Studio also manages to capture the same high quality of gameplay. So what's it all about then? Well, as you'd expect, the story is also a little confusing - but stay with us and we'll try to work it out...

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Heading into battle.
In Okami, the legendary monster Orochi has come back to life and turned the world into a veritable wasteland. Players must assume the role of a wolf, an embodiment of the sun god Amaterasu, capable of wielding unimaginable power. The state of the world lies in gamerís hands as they must fight ominous beings and reclaim the earth from a curse that plagues it. It is crucial to help Amaterasu make the world a place where all living creatures can dwell once again.

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Oh yes, these screens are nice.
Traditional Japanese art comes alive through beautiful scenic 3D levels that have the appearance and texture of paper scrolls brushed with watercolour-like calligraphy art. As a god in the form of a wolf, Amaterasu must reclaim its powers that are scattered throughout the earth, in order to help restore the land to its former beauty. As players progress through the game, they will travel to different regions in search of the other godly embodiments that are hidden, and regain Amaterasuís powers. Rooted in the third person perspective, gamers will need to interact with the people they encounter, building their faith by clandestinely answering their prayers and wishes. As gamers lead Amaterasu through diverse environments, they will come across extraordinary monsters that originated from Japanese folklore.

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Cut scene time.
Defeating the creatures that Amaterasu encounters will not be a small feat. The real-time fighting system not only involves biting and ramming strikes, but also allows for various attacks using the bronze mirror of Yata on its back as well as a host of other unique abilities. This system allows the use of a myriad of specials attacks typically not associated with the physical prowess of a normal wolf. As the wolf becomes more powerful, more attacks become available. This blend of stylized graphics and unique gameplay will result in a rich and dynamic experience never seen before.

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Is there a more artistic game?
The graphics in this game really are a sensation. Much like Capcom's Viewtiful Joe 2 they are a style unto themselves and certainly likely to turn heads. For Capcom's sake I hope the gamble pays off - it's great to see such a big company take such risks.

At the 2006 E3 show Capcom confirmed that the PAL version of this PS2 game won't be out until Q'1 2007, with a release date now set in Australia for February 14, 2007 through new Capcom distributers Activision. Considering we first heard about this game in early 2005 by the time it hits the shelves it would have been in development for almost three years! Fortunately this looks like one of the best games of all time on the PS2 and great way to farewell the old workhorse.