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Okami (Wii) artwork

Okami (Wii) review

"Romel Ramos - For ninety-nine years, the demon lord Orochi lay imprisoned and the lands of Nippon were peaceful. However, one fateful day the holy sword used to seal Orochi’s corpse was stolen and his evil escaped, which in effect cursed the lands, spreading an infectious mist that suffocated everything it touched. The land, being in a complete state of destruction and pleading for help, triggers the Sun Goddess Amaterasu to return in attempt to defeat Orochi once more as she did one hundred yea"

Romel Ramos - For ninety-nine years, the demon lord Orochi lay imprisoned and the lands of Nippon were peaceful. However, one fateful day the holy sword used to seal Orochi’s corpse was stolen and his evil escaped, which in effect cursed the lands, spreading an infectious mist that suffocated everything it touched. The land, being in a complete state of destruction and pleading for help, triggers the Sun Goddess Amaterasu to return in attempt to defeat Orochi once more as she did one hundred years before, and this time, for good.

Story: [Minor Spoiler]
The awakening of the evil force Orochi heralds destruction across the lands. As a result, the Sun God Amaterasu descends again upon the world, reincarnated as a white wolf to dispel the suffering and destruction. You start in the village of Kamiki where you are joined by the traveling artist Issun who is collecting “Celestial Brushstrokes” that Amaterasu [Ammy for short] is also looking for. Thus begins Ammy and Issun journey across multiple lands, simultaneously reviving everything in sight and searching for various brushstroke techniques.

Eventually the Annual Festival arrives and Orochi completes his revival after a century of imprisonment. A dark cloud is shroud across the land, keeping it perpetually dark as history repeats itself. Orochi snatches his hundredth sacrificial maiden from the village of Kamiki. Thanks to a cunning undercover mission into the cursed lair soon after, Ammy ultimately defeats him. But in the midst of rejoice, Orochi’s shadow splits and scatters with the wild wind into the distant lands! Ammy and Issun’s journey is far from over as they travel from forests, to sunny coastlines, to the expanse of sea, and snowy mountains and splash in the genres of drama, action, and comedy chasing after the vestiges of Orchid and uncover a much larger evil…

Okami is an epic action adventure game, where you travel through multiple lands dispelling evil. Largely important are the Celestial Brushstrokes you attain throughout the duration of your journey. Holding the B button on the Wii remote causes the screen to freeze and by dragging around a paintbrush with the A button, drawings are etched in. As you progress through the game, you’ll learn a number of brushstroke techniques. Among them: a slash technique, which is done by drawing a slash across the object desired to be destroyed, a gust of wind called upon by drawing swirls, a stroke used to revive trees by simply encircling the dead matter, and bombs which are simply made by drawing circles with slashes over the tops. Those are just a few examples of the many more that are waiting to be revealed!

In the one hundred years that Amaterasu had been gone, the people’s belief in the Gods had waned. Ammy changes that, by performing miraculous acts, which regains their faith and ultimately strengthens her in the process. Different methods of Divine Intervention include: using brushstroke techniques, playing mini-games, feeding animals, defeating certain enemies and more. These points can be used to heighten various aspects including: Ammy’s HP, the number of revive pouches, ink bottles, and money capacity. The sheer amount of these side activities lengthen the game by an eightfold.

In the large expanse of the lands of Nippon, Ammy can jump to higher layers of land, dig for treasure and underground caverns, run across fields, swim, bark, bite, carry animals around, blow up walls and huge rocks to find passageways, and so much more in the day-night transition world. There are no real dungeons in the game,per se, and the “riddles” aren’t at all that difficult, but it’s still a fun game nonetheless. There’s so much to do and explore. Fortunately Okami always has more things to unlock, discover, collect, and complete.

The battles in Okami are not at all repetitive. A variety of monsters exist in Nippon and each one has a different method of being defeated. Every monster type requires a different brushstroke technique in order to exploit its weakness. For example: a flying monster can be brought down with a gust of wind, an ice beast’s frozen snare can be dispelled by a blast of fire, and a shield can be broken by a slash technique. After every battle your time and damage taken is assessed and scored. The better the battle goes, the more money is awarded to you. This raises the incentive bar to do better and improve on each battle and keeps everything fast-paced.

Ammy is able to wield three general types of weapons: swords, beads, and mirrors. One of the three weapons can be equipped as the main weapon and another as a sub weapon. They each have different methods of usage in battle in coordination with the Wii-mote. The long ranged beads are used by quickly shaking the Wii-mote from side to side, the slower but stronger swords can be charged by tilting up the Wii-mote and the balanced hits of the mirror-shields can be strung at a consecutively timed swing of the Wii-mote. These weapons can be cycled through rather quickly during battle so additional strategy can be incorporated into the process. These weapons are obtained from certain boss battles and shops. The ability to inflict more damage when using these weapons is upgraded by training at dojos.

The art-inspired graphics in Okami is breathtaking. The game is set to an oriental woodblock painting style that reflects aesthetic vibrancy. Every step Ammy takes, patches of blooming greenery sprout from the rapid trails she leaves and pink petals flow in the easy breeze of cherry blossom villages and cities. The fields are wild, the forests are shroud in the mystery of canopy shades, and the shores are sunny and stretch the eye to the long sea, where the sun rises and sets. All these beauties are easily captured with the excellent 360-degree up-down camera rotation in the game. Of course, this is only viewable after the lands have been revived, which makes doing just that even more of a delight. The people in the game, appear very cartoony, but are actually artistically distinct because of the style of art the developers chose to use. Characters have no mouths and when they talk, their chins just stretch, giving off a charming effect. These artistic decisions in no way detract from the game whatsoever.

The graphics seem pretty decent for the Wii; however, I’ve never played the PS2 version from which I’ve heard has sharper images and text. I found the graphics for the Wii to be exceptional overall.

The in-game music is excellent. It conveys the emotions of loneliness in stale mist-covered lands waiting to be revived perfectly. The playful feel of the tickling wind that ensues when the land is rejuvenated is paired excellently to a song that evokes a feeling of grave duty. Also included is a certain rather comical song in sync with musical moaning that is the theme song for the seductive secretary Rao.

There is no voice acting in this game. Instead, there is something similar to what you’d hear in Animal Crossing; small gibberish mumblings. At times it can get annoying and repetitive, but it does not detract too much from the game and blends perfectly well with the style Okami’s art already embodies.

I highly recommend this game to all fans of action adventure games [especially all you Zelda fans]. It’s fun, visually pleasing to the eyes, and lasts long with a ton of replay value. Its riddles and variety are sure to keep you playing. There is no strain or moment of monotony or repetitiveness in Okami. Everything is always new and different! It is truly a piece of art and excellent game.

+Unique art style
+Dramatic plot
+Exciting battle system
+Tons of Side-quests

teradio's avatar
Community review by teradio (May 20, 2011)

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