Okami - PS2 Review
Okami is one of the best games ever. I say that now because I don't want any hint of a negative comment during this review to put you off buying this game. It's original, unique, entertaining and engrossing. Developed by (the now closed) Clover Studio the game has been produced by Atsushi Inaba, the same individual that brought us Viewtiful Joe a couple of years ago.
|Oh yes, these screens are nice.|
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.
After a rather lengthy introduction where you'll have a tonne of storyline to digest it's into the game. Okami is perfectly balanced in the way it teaches new skills from moving to looking around and fighting enemies. Joining you in your travels is a tiny wandering artist called Issun. He's small, and like most sidekicks he tends to crack a lot of jokes - most of which come off pretty well, some which don't. It's through Issun that you unlock the coolest feature I've seen in a videogame for quite some time. That is the ability to hit the R1 button to pause the game and then use a virtual pen to alter the game world. In some locations you'll be able to draw bridges to cross rivers, or draw a sun to make the game world light during night or draw a circle around dead trees to bring them back to life. As you progress through the game you'll unlock more of Amaterasuís powers which have been locked away for 100 years.
|Graphics really are spectacular.|
Combat in the game comes in two forms. Firstly Amaterasu has typical strikes, including those using the Bronze mirror of Yata located on his back, which are performed by pressing the square button on the controller. More importantly though gamers can also hit the R1 button, but rather then alter the game world as we described above, Amaterasu can draw a number of symbols on the enemies to cause damage. A single strike across the enemy will cause a slashing strike. It works superbly with different attacks useful under different situations.
|Fighting one of the bosses.|
It is also important to interact with the numerous NPC's littered throughout the massive game world. Many will have tasks for you to complete, some of them are essentially mini-games within the main game, in order to receive new information or items required for your travels. Another of the many neat features is the day/night cycle with some enemies only appearing at night.
There really is so little to complain with Okami. Sure, there was the odd occasion where I was unsure about the next objective or location to travel to, but you'll have such an enjoyable time exploring the game it will hardly matter. I also felt that the majority of the games enemies were defeated far too easy - the only exception being the bosses which put up a decent fight. It would have been nice for a bit more difficulty in the battles.
|Cut scene time.|
As you can seen from the surrounding screenshots Okami is a unique title visually with a glorious Japanese calligraphy style. The game world is created with a traditional Japanese art style and barring one or two very rare frame rate glitches it's near perfect. The animation on the characters is simply delightful and the way in which Amaterasu moves around the game world - be it walking or sprinting, is always a joy to watch. The cut-scenes are presented using the same game engine which ensures consistency between these scenes and in-game graphics.
If there is one area where I was a little disappointed with Okami it was in the audio. The music, it must be said, is brilliant with some wonderful orchestral music changing tempo with the action on the screen. The effects are also impressive however it's the voice work that I felt let the game down. Sure there would be thousands of lines of dialogue but I really felt that the 'Sims'-like voice murmurs were annoying after a while, especially when you have 10 minutes worth of dialogue in one hit. Having said that Okami is still an impressive title aurally.
|Is there a more artistic game?|
There are few games that truly impress. Sure you have brilliant games, but few leave you wanting more after over 40 hours of gameplay. Okami is one of those rare games. If you don't add this title to your PS2 collection then you're missing one of the best titles in the systems entire library. It's brilliant. A masterpiece of design and art. Stunning.
Review By: Dave Warner
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
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|GRAPHICS||Stunning artwork and technically polished this is a visual tour de force.||96%|
|SOUND||The music is simply stunning, and the effects great. The only downer, and the biggest of the whole game is the muted 'Sims'-like voiceovers.||86%|
|GAMEPLAY||So unique and so much fun. One of the most engrossing titles ever.||97%|
|VALUE||At over 40 hours this is a lengthy game that will have you hooked.||93%|
|OVERALL||Okami is almost certainly the most entertaining and original title on the PS2 in almost a year. Well worth purchasing - you won't be disappointed. I certainly wasn't.||94%|