Another chance at Okami
Did you get your hands on the PS2ís Okami back in 2006? If you did, then give yourself a pat on the back; you experienced the definition of a system-defining game. Okami was one of the greatest, most unique adventure games ever released on any system. If not youíve done yourself a grave disservice - but never fear; Okami has returned for an enhanced Wii release, and thereís never been a better time to try out this absolutely beautiful game.
Okami puts players in the shoes - err... paws - of sun goddess Okami Amaterasu who has taken the form of a divine white wolf. 100 years ago, Amaterasu (or Ammy for short) defeated the eight-headed serpent Orochi with the help of the warrior Nagi. In the present, Orochiís seal has been broken, and its curse has started to pollute the world of Nippon. With the once beautiful Nippon now dying and dank, Ammy has been called back to defeat Orochi a second time and restore life to her world. The story is engaging enough to keep players pressing onwards, and most players will find themselves making bonds and genuinely caring about the fates of Nipponís colourful cast of characters.
The characters are part of what makes Okamiís yarn so engaging. For one thing, they are interesting and complex enough to keep the game away from the melodramatic waters that have become the genre norm. Ammy is a silent heroine, but still manages to come across with a charming personality; she tends to act more like a wolf than the god sheís supposed to be. Another character who plays a major role is Susano, a self-proclaimed descendant of the great Nagi. While at first he seems your typical narcissist, it quickly becomes apparent that he is deeper than that, and youíll often find him in a (rather amusing) battle with his inner demons. The game also sports a unique sense of humour; blending its own brand of slapstick with sharp dialogue which accommodates innuendos, puns, and some of the most straight-up whack dialogue youíll ever read. The Japanese folklore-steeped narrative is strikingly exotic; although itís not the gameís most unique aspect by any means.
If you havenít figured it out from the screenshots, Okami looks absolutely amazing. Inspired by Japanese sumi-e watercolour painting and tied together with a healthy dose of cell shading, the artistic design is virtually untouched by any other game in the genre. Okami doesnít rely on fancy rendering tricks but is still one of the best looking games on any system, and each frame of animation could pass as a high quality piece of art. The enhanced release now sports 16:9 widescreen and 480p, making an already beautiful game look that much better.
However, the game is not without its graphical flaws, as small as they may be. The artistic direction tries to mask the gameís numerous texture issues but doesnít always succeed; remember this is a year-and-a-half old last-generation game. Also, the PS2 version sported a unique Ďpaper filterí that enhanced the feeling that you were playing a painting, and thatís less pronounced now. While you can still see it if youíre, say, looking at the night sky, the effect is usually nearly unnoticeable.
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