Okami - Review

Ages: Teen

Enjoy the artwork, the story, the music - there is more to life than the leaderboard. How about a game where a brush is mightier than a sword - striking enemies down, splitting rocks asunder, building and restoring objects and lots more? It is the Celestial Brush, and you the player get to wield it in this astoundingly imaginative most beautiful game.

The game is immense - going from one Japanese fairy tale to incorporating numerous folk legends. There is a long introductory section, in black ink drawing, telling the story about the first appearance of the white wolf Shiranui, who with the help of a warrior saves a small village from the fierce many headed dragon, Orochi. The beast is defeated, but the wolf dies. The grateful villagers erect a statue honoring the wolf and the warrior, plants his sword at the mouth of the dragon's cave to seal it.

Seals are made to be broken and 100 years later another warrior, pulls out the sword, releasing evil throughout the land of Nipon. Once again the white wolf appears, this time embodied with the spirit of Amaterasu - the mother goddess of all creation, to rid the land of evil and bring life back to nature. Almost immediately, Amaterasu-Shiranui is joined by Issun, a impudent pea-sized artist who refers to the goddess-wolf as "Ammy". He is however, your guide in the beginning and instructs the player on how to use the brush, and is the jokester in the story.

The brush is a wondrous thing. There are 13 celestial brush gods - each providing a unique brush technique: Restoration - restores broken objects; Power Slash - slices through objects; Greensprout - brings life back to trees; Cherry Bomb - opens new paths; Waterspout - controls the destination of water, just to whet you appetite.

It is easy to get dazzled by the brush effects and being led deeper and deeper into this fantasy land without realizing that this is also a fighting game. There are demons and battles, weapons, swords, enhancements, special powers, dungeons, items to collect, animals to feed and praise points to gain. As with any RPG, there is a health gauge and when it runs out you can restart from a saved location; a bestiary for info on dragon's strengths and weakness; merchants, even a Sensei Dojo Master. Fighting is accomplished by swinging the remote, using various weapons and slashing with the Celestial Brush.

An interesting nod to ongoing Japanese tradition are the Devine Instruments which are the main weapons; the mirrors, the beads and the glaives (swords) in the game. The actual Imperial Regalia of Japan consists three sacred treasures representing three virtues - a sword (valor), a jewel (kindness) and a mirror (wisdom) which are presented to the emperor upon his enthronement (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Okami is a deep and complex game. Fortunately for players - there are plenty of in-game instructions - an excellent idea because in this game, show and tell works better than text explanations. However, the colorful manual does a pretty good job of showing the control, missions and the extent of the game. The music is original and draws its inspiration from classical Japanese works, so good that, at least in Japan, there is a five disk set. Take your time in this game.

Fun Factor: It's a treasure
Female Factor: The white wolf is the embodiment of Amaterasu - the mother goddess.
Player Friendly: Save locations are well marked

Reviewed by: Editor - 09/08

  • Okami
  • © Capcom
  • Platform(s): Wii
  • To Order: WII http://www.amazon.com/ $39.99