One of the greatest sleeper hits of all time. The internet community of hardcore gamers and critics reveled in this game's masterful design and gameplay, but unfortunately it still managed to slip into obscurity among the consuming masses. This is truly one of the best Playstation 2 games, and on par to be considered one of the best and most unique adventure games of all time.
- Story -
The game pits you as the sun goddess and white wolf, Amaterasu. You've been called forth by the wood sprite, Sakuya, in the hopes of extinguishing the ancient demon Orochi, after Susano (the village warrior/knucklehead) broke the seal that kept him locked away from the world. You must restore the world from the damage that has swept across the land, while striving towards ultimately resealing Orochi.
- GamePlay -
Okami plays like your typical adventure game. The controls are tight and responsive, and though the camera is somewhat sluggish when you move it manually, it's usually never too far from the right spot anyways. Of course, as with most adventure games, there are tons of side stories and interesting characters along your journey, and plenty of fun little quests to keep you busy when you don't feel like pursuing the main plot line. The game will run you an easy 30 hours+ on your first play through if you branch out and have fun with the side story lines.
What truly separates this game from the rest, is the innovative celestial brush system. At any point in the game you can freeze time and draw various things with a paint brush onto the screen. If what you drew matches anything from a predetermined palette of brush strokes, it effects the world around you. From painting little shrubs and restoring the colorful leaves on a tree, to slashing monsters, dropping bombs, and using lightning and firestorms. You have a full arsenal of effects at your fingertips.
When you're out exploring, you'll see enemies as big floating scrolls, so it's usually entirely up to you whether or not you'll fight. However, they do tend to lunge at you if you're too close, so you can be forced into a fight if you're not careful. Once you make contact with a scroll, you get warped into another dimension with whatever kind of enemy lurking inside. The field of battle is limited to a circular room, but it's usually enough space to get the job done anyways.
The boss battles are a little different. They have a much bigger arena to fight in, and also utilize the brush techniques a whole lot more than any normal battle. There are a handful of different bosses in the game, but unfortunately some of them are repeated by game's end. You have to fight one of the bosses 3 separate times, and the battle doesn't change, aside from a slight increase in the monster's defense.
- Design -
If CGI cut-scenes and polished realistic graphics are your thing, then look elsewhere, this game has none of that. However, that does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that this game is visually ugly. To say that Okami is beautiful, would be an understatement. The word "masterpiece" is used without much merit nowadays thanks to shameless advertising, but this game is a true masterpiece when it comes to design. Everything is drawn in the style of Japanese caligraphy. From the character you play, to the whole world around you, everything flourishes with vibrant color and beauty. Truly a refreshing sight for sore eyes in the age of developers going bigger and better with hi-tech design.
- Sound -
Excellent music and sound effects, very suitable with the game. The only gripe I have is that the voices of all the characters are 100% gibberish. Granted, it's in different tones depending on each character, but it's still gibberish none-the-less, and sometimes it does get kind of annoying. However, if you're into the story and gameplay, you tend to forget all about it.