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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Video Game Connoisseur

Video Game Connoisseur
Video Game Connoisseur

Okami/ Publisher: Capcom / System: PS2 / $49.99/ ESRB: T (Teen)

The pen is mightier than the sword, or in this case the brush is mightier than a bunch of evil spirits. I’ve been a bit lax lately in keeping up with new releases, I apologize for this but being in your fourth year of college tends to put pressure on you to hurry up and get the hell out of there while chasing other thoughts from your mind. But don’t worry! I’m getting my conscious under control so it should stop bothering me soon and let me get back to gaming proper.

Anyway, Okami never quite made it on my radar. In fact after I had been playing it for a while I should it to my good friend and gaming partner, Josh, who was surprised to see that I had picked up a copy of it, for he had been following it for a while and had been hearing good things but was not aware that it had been released yet. Well turns out I got my copy about a week after its release and had been oblivious to the hype, yay me…I think. However much hype it got was not enough in my opinion, this game is awesome, everyone should be seeing ads for it on T.V. and running to Gamestop (wheres my check for plugging you guys? Seriously I championing you here) and grabbing a copy, hell get a bunch and give them out to trick-or-treaters.

This is the part of the Video Game Connoisseur where I review the game. Zelda-esque is the best term I can think of to describe Okami. Like Zelda you ending running a series of side quests to gain new items and abilities so you can enter dungeons and move on in the game. However unlike Zelda your main skill is painting. Imagine Bob Ross meets Japanese legend and you have a fairly good approximation of Okami. The story is that 100 years ago this evil spirit named Orochi was terrorizing the land of Nippon. When one year on his annual sacrifice instead of the intended maiden being sent to his cave a warrior name Susano went instead, and with the help of a white wolf with magic abilities Susano slayed Orochi. Fast-forward 100 years, Orochi has been released, cursed zones are appearing across the land, and evil spirits are everywhere. You play as the goddess Amaterasu who was called into a statue of the white wolf that helped Susano by the guardian spirit of Kamiki village, a wood sprite named Sakuya. Your goal in Okami is two fold: restore sacred saplings spread throughout the land to eliminate cursed zones and stop Orochi, and find the 13 brush gods.

The brush gods is where Okami breaks away from other games of its type. Instead of getting various items and spells like Link in Legend of Zelda, Amaterasu uses her abilities by drawing. You simply hold the R1 button and the action pauses and the screen turns into a sepia toned canvass and the Celestial Brush appears allowing you to draw to your hearts content. Cut an opponent in half by drawing a line through them, change night to day by drawing the sun in the sky, or blow up obstacles by drawing a bomb. You can also use the Celestial Brush to create wind, slow your enemies down with mist, make trees grow, repair broken structures, move water and more. The brush truly is mightier than the sword.

The other way in which the game really shines is it graphics. The game is fully cell shaded, no rendered graphics in sight. And rather than looking cartoony, like Windwaker on Gamecube, it looks like a combination of Japanese and Chinese ink painting. Stunning is an appropriate way to describe some of the views your presented with. Huge maps that go off into the distance with far away mountains rendered with a few brush strokes. If you look at the screen carefully you’ll see that it’s been textured to look like canvass adding to the hand drawn and painted feel. Art students, particularly those of east Asian art, will get a kick out of examining the visuals.

Okami (by the way, it’s Japanese for wolf) has ensconced itself in my list of favorites and demands to be replayed repeatedly. I highly recommend this game for people who enjoy exploring every nook and cranny of the map, and for completionists. This game is deep with tons to do, I mean tons, I don’t have the space to go into all the side quests and bonus stuff you can do but trust me, this game will make time disappear. Okami is well worth the fifty bucks it costs and you will get your moneys worth out of it. I don’t really have a scoring system so in the spirit of incomprehensibility I give it an Awesome! out of Yeah!