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Ōkami

大神

Developer: Clover Studio Publisher: Capcom
20 April 2006
Ōkami [大神] - cover art
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1,027 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#292 All-time
#7 for 2006
A cel-shaded action game set in feudal Japan, in which the wolf deity Amaterasu defends the land from evil forces.
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2006 Clover Capcom  
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2007 Clover Capcom  
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2008 Clover Capcom  
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大神 絶景版
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Title
Gather around boys and girls, for I am about to regale you with the tale of Okami. Long ago in the antediluvian year of 2006, noble subsidiary developers Clover Studios wished to make another offering to the chief Capcom lords, the kings of their third-party country and the paramount source of patronage to their artistic endeavors. After pleasing the masses with the vibrant Viewtiful Joe and its sequel, Clover Studios conjured up a new IP called Okami, an action-adventure game in the vein of the 3D Legend of Zelda titles set in classical Japan. Okami upheld the Clover Studios reputation of divine aesthetic achievement, emulating the watercolor art of the Edo period with scrupulous cel-shading. Other industry vassals also adored Okami for its subversive interpretation of 3D Zelda’s action-adventure tropes that had been ripened by its source through repeated uses across subsequent entries. With all of the commendatory praise that Okami received by those of discerning taste, it seemed like the title was destined to elevate the clergymen of Clover Studios to the ranks of lords in Capcom’s esteemed parliament. To their dismay, Okami did not imprint its intended impact on the public and failed to break even with Capcom’s funding. Sure, everyone who experienced Okami at its release lauded it as vociferously as the critics, but the wide gaming demographic turned a blind eye to it out of sheer apathy. As a result of this unfortunate fluke along with the upset of God Hand the same year, Capcom disbanded Clover Studios due to too many financial flops under its belt. The indignant kings cast their young squire out of their chambers as Clover Studios hung their heads in shame. At least they hadn’t demanded that they’d endure the brunt of the heretic’s fork, for Clover Studios still maintained enough spirit to reform as the successful Platinum Games. I’d hate to refer to the general gaming community as peasants in this light, ye-olde medieval allegory bit, but shame on you if you didn’t even grant Okami a passing glance at the time. We weren’t experiencing an economic recession, nor was there a cataclysmic bout of famine we had to prioritize over purchasing video games. The populous gaming world was itching for the new reign of the then-upcoming Sony console, and an exclusive on the previous one was inherently old hat even at its inception. Now that I think about it, the tale of Okami is actually a tragedy because this game more than deserves more recognition.

By definition, Okami is the epitome of a cult classic video game. It shares this distinction with the likes of EarthBound, Killer7, and every game that Tim Schaffer has ever stamped his name onto. With the examples I’ve given, Okami is at least in good company. Still, Okami sticks out like a sore thumb among these underappreciated gems. To put it bluntly, these games are weird. Despite their exceptional quality, one would not be surprised that their content would alienate the broad gaming demographic and condemn them to a lifetime of cult stardom. Okami is the beautiful, blonde Cleopatra from Freaks being initiated into the club of misfits with the “gooble gobble” ceremonial table banging while everyone can plainly see that she shares no kinship to this marginalized group. I realize that I’m inadvertently being harsh to the bonafide cult classics of gaming and that Okami is described as a cult hit for a clear reason, but Okami sharing the space with all of these eccentric oddities is like sending a man to a maximum-security prison for twenty years among the filthiest scum of society for the crime of mail fraud. What I’m trying to illustrate here is that Okami is such an exceptional title that it transcends that niche cult appeal that inherently restricts the other ones from gaming prime time, which makes the fact that no one paid it any attention at its release all the more tragic. Some attributed Okami’s financial failure to the fact that the game was “too Japanese,” creating an uncomfortable culture shock for young western audiences. Firstly, they underestimate how enraptured a widespread percentage of young people in the west are with Japanese culture of all kinds, and this is because it is so detached from their waspy American upbringing. Secondly, all of the longstanding titans of the video game world feature at least a pinch of Japanese culture and folklore in the fabric of their foundations (Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, etc.) Surely an unabashed homage of the developer’s collective heritage wouldn’t prove to be too disagreeable for the designated gaming demographic, no? Not only is Okami not off putting in the slightest, but the game is innovative, immersive, charming, and arguably outclasses many of the 3D Zelda titles that it takes heavy inspiration from.

Given that Okami is an interactive Japanese folktale, the expositional method of introducing the game is displayed as a storied campfire legend, presented with that papery storybook tone portrayed with still images. A hundred years prior to the events of Okami, an evil eight-headed serpent named Orochi cast an oppressive shadow over the cozy little village of Kamiki. From the human sacrifices to the rumors of turning people into stone with just its gaze, Orochi’s presence rendered the poor village folk of Kamiki in a catatonic state of fear. One valiant warrior named Nagi dares to challenge the beastly tyrant when one of Orochi’s sacrificial arrows strikes the home of his love interest Nami, and the duel that ensues sees Nagi’s blade struggling to even make a dent in Orochi’s hardwearing scales. That is, until the mystical white wolf Shiranui barges in to save the exhausted Nagi. By summoning the moon with a thunderous howl, the luminescent power of the celestial body grants Nagi’s blade a gleaming vigor powerful enough to decapitate all eight heads of the foul dragon. To ensure the longevity of the time of peace after Orochi’s defeat, its spirit is immured in Nagi’s blade situated in the ground of the Moon Cave arena where the legendary battle took place. A century later, some prankster unsheathes the sword from its earthly casing and Orochi is once again unleashed onto the world to usher in a new era of darkness. Fortunately, one beacon of hope is that the wolf who aided in vanquishing Orochi in the past also shakes its dirt casing slumber and awakens to nip the new regime of the sinister hydra in the bud. A hundred years may not seem like a long duration of time for this epic tale to be canonized in the archives of ancient legend, but Okami is set in the classical period of Japan when all of the stories of yore were still being written. A century between the origin story and its follow up is but a hiatus in the ongoing legend.

I could describe Okami’s visuals as gorgeous and breathtaking and call it a day, but even attributing those glowing descriptive words to the game wouldn’t be doing it justice. Instead, I am going to illustrate the true extent of Okami’s radiant presentation. Have you ever been out on the town and unexpectedly caught a glimpse of the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your entire life? (or man. Sorry if this analogy isn’t all that LGBT+ inclusive) Suddenly, anything else that was occupying the cognitive drip feed in your brain is blown to the wayside and you find yourself in a dumbfounded daze. Your mind short circuits, your face is beet red, your heart is running a marathon, and your stomach is being throttled by butterflies the size of bricks. Choruses of a string quartet reverberate from no origin point, and a mist of red, white, and indigo colors illuminate the elated, palpable mood. You can’t help but want to stare, but you know that any prolonged visual contact with this woman is as dicey as looking at the sun. Any real human contact with this woman is ill-advised because the Broca’s area of the brain responsible for human speech and articulation will be clouded in an obscuring torrent of static, resulting in a stream of manic gibberish. Or, the newfound passionate fire burning will conjure up the ability to speak French, serenading her with the language of love, albeit haphazardly like Pepe Le Pew. The marvelous aspect about Okami is that it is a video game and not a human woman with thoughts and feelings, so the player is free to ravish its awe-striking aesthetic with hearts in their eyes and their tongues rolled out on the floor. I make no hyperbolic claims when I say that EVERY visual aspect of Okami’s ink-washed world is as stunning as the next. Even the demonic underlings and their murky territories that should be ugly by all logic still managed to steal my breath away. Okami is a dimepiece, the it-girl; not just eye-candy, but the inside of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Okami isn’t a beautiful game, it’s THE beautiful game. It’s Scarlett Johansson if she were rendered in Japanese watercolors and wood carving art. Okami makes fellow cel-shaded marvel and possible artistic inspiration The Wind Waker look flat and depleted in comparison.

The world that the cel-shaded water colors are vividly constructing is the nation of Nippon, otherwise known as Japan during the “classical” era of its history. As one can expect from a game set before the advent of the printing press, the chain of islands off the pacific coast of Asia is still unadulterated by technological proliferation. This pre-industrial island nation is a naturalistic wonderland, an immaculate environment with only the organic essentials that comprise a landscape. Blooming cherry blossom trees are aligned in unison along the cliff sides, with the brisk wind gently blowing off the pink petals with such grace and coordination that it's like a visual symphony. Hillsides are drenched in the towering downpour of roaring waterfalls, who's running stream continues to rapidly flow in the intersecting river channels. The grass gleans the color green as strikingly as the fields of Ireland, surrounded by a bouquet of pleasant flowers. Any man made architecture interspersed around the area fulfills the simplest fundamentals of human civilization, from stone towers to the single-room, bamboo huts located in the villages. At least, this is the general aesthetic of the starting district of Eastern Nippon where herbage is abundant. The Western area of Nippon features slightly less vegetation and instead is geographically defined by beachy cliff sides overlooking the ocean and the capital city of Sei’an hosting a grid of more resplendent pavilions fitting for the aristocratic political representatives that reside there. All of the greenery that the horizontal halves of Nippon share is totally deviated from in the blustering snow of Kanui, mirroring the mountainous northern island of Hokkaido. Whether or not the player is treading through the tall grass of the mainland or climbing the wintry peaks of Kanui, any kind of topography on display in Okami is the epitome of the word picturesque. I’d also like to point out that even though the game is relatively restrained by the historical accuracy of a light period piece and cannot include too many outlandish points of interest on the map, Okami’s various hubs are richer and more engaging than Hyrule Field or its branching paths. All Ocarina of Time needed was more elevation and maybe a running brook or two.

At least, these districts of ancient Japan should ideally epitomize the word picturesque under normal circumstances. Because the errant evil of Orochi and his wicked ilk are now mucking about once again, a pernicious haze has cursed every region of Nippon into a gloomy depression. Fear not: for it is the divine mission of Okami’s protagonist to alleviate the noxious presence of the aura and restore balance. Okami’s benevolent savior is Amaterasu, the sun god from Japanese mythology. George Carlin once expressed that his choice of religious deity was the sun, for he could easily prove that the insurmountable star actually existed and that it provided tangible sustenance to humans and the Earth they exist on as opposed to the other supreme beings worshiped in organized religions (although he prayed to Joe Pesci to “get shit done”). I think the developers conveyed the same sentiment here, personifying the gargantuan mass of fire as a magnanimous heroic figure. Amaterasu is the “origin of all that is good and mother to us all,” a common tagline uttered about her that implies that the sun is the true benefactor for the universe. She feeds the animals and clothes the trees with leaves: she’s Mother Teresa with a silky coat of white fur. It was also Clover Studio’s creative decision to depict Amaterasu as a white wolf, for reasons I will delve into in the future. For now, let’s focus on how playing as a four-footed lupus is compared to a bipedal human. Controlling Amaterasu is just as fluid and graceful as the most nimble of video game protagonists, possessing a few distinctive quirks. Unlike Link who can only hop onto a platform or an edge when he reaches the absolute tip of it, the developers have granted Amaterasu with the ability to jump manually with one press of a button and stick to the walls for a one-time course correction. Her innate attack is a headbutt, mostly used to break open chests and disturb the peaceful snoozings of various NPCs. While traversing the fields, Amaterasu’s speed accelerates twice if her run isn’t interrupted, either creating a streak of grass and flowers behind her or her swift speed has brushed through them to the point of seeing them more clearly. Amaterasu’s movement and physical characterization is surprisingly dynamic in a gaming climate more accustomed to characters balancing themselves with only two feet.

But Amaterasu’s innate movements are not the focal point of discussion concerning her control scheme. The astonishingly unique mechanic in Okami is the use of the Celestial Paintbrush, a godly tool modeled after Amaterasu’s bushy tail dipped in black ink. The paintbrush can be used at any time as long as there is a splash of ink in the tank, holding down the R1 button and skidding the still screen with black paint strokes whenever the square button is also held down. The player can technically imprint any black indentation if it’s a simple scribing and not an illustrious canvas, for the ink supply is not infinite. Plus, the developers rightfully chose to keep this mechanic simple for the actual practicalities for the paintbrush outside of spontaneous artistic expression (except for the one time where the player gets to draw the design for a mask). Another overarching mission parallel to Amaterasu’s goal of revitalizing Nippon is reclaiming all thirteen of the celestial brush techniques learned from the brush gods: deiform creatures that represent a different animal in the Japanese zodiac with the same pale white skin and red tattooed markings as Amaterasu. With these varied techniques, Amaterasu can fully extend her transcendent influence upon all that constitutes the universe. Manipulating the elements of water, fire, electricity, and ice all involve drawing a defined line between the elemental source and what needs to be impacted, usually something contrastic. Changing the way of the wind requires directional coordination with a loop to violently blow gusts of blustering air. Amaterasu’s kryptonite is understandably water, so drawing a circle over any body of water will create lillipad platforms to prevent her health from dwindling from water exposure via swimming. A simple circle/oval around any plant life will make any pitiful and dour, leafless tree or four-leaf clover flourish with bright allure. Adding a stem to that circle creates a cherry bomb which uncovers cracked crevices, and a simple slash will sever. Painting a sun or a crescent moon in the sky will revert the current time of day like the “Sun’s Song” tune from Ocarina of Time. While we’re on the subject, Amaterasu’s mystical apparatus is far more convenient and accessible than Link’s musical instrument that similarly sways the world around him with another artistic medium. Sure, what I can execute with the brush is comparatively limited, but memorizing the various techniques with their elementary etchings and constant usage makes me feel more capable and adept rather than pressing pause to recite a composite tune only used once or twice. I did, however, become rather cross whenever the game decided my brush strokes didn’t match the intended technique pattern. I’m no Claude Monet, but I thought art was supposed to be subjective! It’s the intent that matters!

A number of the Celestial Brush techniques can also be used while fighting enemies. Okami orchestrates combat like a JRPG would. In the close vicinity of a hovering scroll that emanates an eerie glow, the screen will enclose on Amaterasu and create a bounded, annular arena where grunts will be summoned to ambush the white wolf. Okami’s common enemies from the underworld are a more eclectic bunch of demons and imps than the legions of hell from Doom. At first, the mischievous breeds of imps will taunt Amaterasu by slapping their asses at her. Then, the armies will increase their numbers with long-nosed Tengu Demons, ogres, foul avian spirits, elemental wheels with detached sensory body parts as hood ornaments, etc. The potential of what the paintbrush can provide during the skirmishes with these hellion trolls mostly results in liberally using the slash move and planting a cherry bomb at arm’s length to create a devastating impact. Luckily, Amaterasu’s other means of offense are not restricted to butting enemies with her skull. The arcane disc that she carries on her back is not a glowing saddle, but the primary melee weapon used to dispatch the horrid beasts. The “divine instruments” are classified in three distinct categories. Amaterasu’s base instrument that seems to be the only one rendered in the cutscenes is a reflector, which deals a modest amount of damage while also countering damage that the enemies dish out. Rosaries are a chain of sacred beads that are best used at long range, dealing rapidfire short bursts of damage. Lastly, glaives are heavy blades whose attacks can be charged up to really blow chunks out of the demon’s health bars. The player isn’t persuaded to stick with one instrument type to hone their specific properties, for certain enemies are slayed more efficiently with one type of instrument compared to others. With all of the holy devices at hand, the power of the sun will compel these demonic fiends and exorcize them back into the spiritual ether.

Then again, even if Amaterasu is having some complications with eradicating these foes with one instrument, it is unlikely that failure will be an imminent consequence. The one glaringly negative aspect of Okami that is subject to prevalent criticism is that the game is ridiculously easy. 3D Zelda games don’t exactly provide the apex of a video game challenge, but Okami’s general difficulty is brisker than an autumnal breeze in the New England countryside. The imps and demons are not as fierce as their hellish denominations would suggest, with their attack damage equating to a measly little papercut. Amaterasu is more likely to dwindle her health orbs while swimming than she is grappling with these unwashed ghouls. About one fourth of the way through the game, I noticed that the tiny sliver of health I had lost due to a few honest mistakes in battle hadn’t replenished after it was over, so I figured that every battered bruise was accumulative. This theory was dead and buried once I looked through my inventory and found three types of “holy bone” health restoration items that I unknowingly had in bulk. Soon after, I realized that simply walking up to the luminescent save points automatically restored Amaterasu’s health entirely. I died a whopping total of ZERO times throughout my blind playthrough of Okami, which would be an astounding accomplishment in any other video game. Here, it’s indicative of the game lacking a substantial challenge. The game does grade Amaterasu’s performance in battle with a series of blooming trees, with the pink cherry blossom trees signifying the maximum proficiency in terms of time and damage received. Still, sweating the effort to fulfill the game’s highest standards is not a herculean hurdle as it will likely happen across 70% of random enemy encounters. The paltry reward of extra yen for your troubles is a fittingly lukewarm compensation. The only excuse I can salvage to redeem Okami in this regard is that the patron saint of the sun, Amaterasu, should never befall the embarrassing fate of being trounced by hell’s little henchmen, for that would illustrate an illogical imbalance of power.

As arguable as it is for 3D Zelda, Okami’s strengths pertain more to the puzzle solving aspects. Puzzle-oriented obstacles are littered all over the game’s central progression route at practically every waking moment. Sure, none of the puzzles in Okami will cause the player to experience an oncoming brain hemorrhage in their attempts to solve them but considering how effortless the combat can be, it’s refreshing to approach another facet of Okami’s gameplay with at least a modicum of honest consideration. A large sum of the puzzles will involve the brush techniques, so the player will become more than accustomed to each one’s special properties to the point of mastery. The one exception is the bullshit Blockhead puzzles whose pinpoint accuracy and randomized patterns must sincerely expect that the player has a camera lodged in their eye socket but fortunately, these outliers are few and far between. The potential of the brush techniques also flourishes with minigames that will pop up occasionally as alternative ways to spur progression. Okami will cast a line with the brush to aid a series of hapless fishermen reel in some aquatic whoppers in a fishing minigame far less tedious and dull than anytime Zelda implemented something like this. Catching a thief in the urban streets of Sei-an always requires sharp reflexes like Amaterasu is in a duel, and the “water lily taxi” features a fine collaboration with both the lily pad and whirlwind techniques. The digging minigame is an underground escort mission where Amaterasu paves a traversable path for a seeing-impaired human (it must be pitch black under the ground) which involves swift reaction times with a myriad of brush techniques to blow away the blocky nuggets of Earth from beneath the surface. The trial and error type of difficulty curve with this minigame is probably the sole example of sizable strain I experienced while playing Okami.

I suppose Okami has “dungeons” in the same way that Zelda does, but the game approaches these enclosed, labyrinthian mazes a bit differently. Because dungeons are an essential ingredient to an exceptional Zelda adventure, they all take high precedence in the comprehensive arc of the story. Completing any dungeon in a Zelda game will always reward the player with some sort of dazzling Macguffin that is imperative to unlocking more of the plot. The climactic climb of a dungeon will always elicit a proud sense of accomplishment because earning the Macguffin is an essential point of progression. In Okami, excavating through the structures outside of the Nippon hub is relatively anticlimactic. They are structured similarly with locked doors and multiple floors, but the context behind the need to survey the grounds isn’t always an elevated task. The first dungeon in the depths of the Agata Forest is to find a boy’s lost pet, a piece of an ongoing quest to reunite the dog with the eight other members of his canine squadron. The Water Dragon’s insides involve plucking the fox rods from its fleshy ligaments, a shorter yet more sumptuous version of Jabu Jabu’s belly where the stomach acid is as boldly red as a hearty Shiraz wine. Some dungeons are but fleeting treks that are over as soon as they begin, and some abstain from culminating in fighting a boss to conclude it. Disappointment struck me at first because the elaborate Zelda dungeons are what I yearn for, and these samplers weren’t quite fulfilling my expectations. However, I came to appreciate that this direction gave Okami’s overall progression a smoother ebb and flow. Zelda’s primary points of interest are the dungeons, so any lull in the overworld makes the progression graph resemble a wonky mountain range. In Okami, all story points share a relatively equal standing.

The most surprising facet of Okami that caught me off guard is how humorous it is. One would assume from the elegant, artful aesthetic and old world atmosphere that Okami would conduct itself with the utmost graceful decorum like a regal princess. It turns out that this royal lady has a layer of immaturity and cackles loudly at fart jokes, or so to speak. In a game where a humble, pristine setting is liable to be swallowed into the looming black abyss at any given moment, Okami’s lighthearted charm stems from its constant streak of levity. As spellbinding as the tale of Nagi defeating Orochi a century ago is in the introduction, the result of passing it down from generation to generation has twisted the triumphant epic into an apocryphal mess. Somewhere along the line, a factor of Orochi’s defeat was rumored to be attributed by the heavy consumption of a golden brand of sake brewed in the meek hamlet of Kamiki. Now that Orochi is rearing its eight ugly heads over the village once again, the modern Kimiki mixologist, Kushi, is brewing up a new batch of sake to sedate the beast with drunken impairment once again. Fellow supporting characters in Okami also tend to flaunt their comical traits. Nagi’s descendant Susano resides in present day Kamiki touting himself as the greatest warrior alive due to his prestigious lineage. The reality of his status is that he’s a lazy, balding buffoon with a beer (sake?) gut who is seen sleeping around like a hibernating bear during daylight hours. When he’s awake, he clumsily stumbles over himself at every step he takes, and Amaterasu must use the imperceptible power of the Celestial Brush to assist every valiant action of Susano’s and protect his inflated ego by proxy. Disguised by a makeshift mask with a crude emblem drawn on, Amaterasu gets to learn about the intricacies of the opposing operation in the Moon Cave and learns that the Imps are nothing but a bunch of excitable spastics who are just as afraid of Orochi, if not even more, as the denizens of Kamiki. I laughed out loud when the chubby bullying victim Urashima was yeeted across the beach by The Orca fish that he was accused of lying about, receiving the most severe lashing from the thing that would’ve saved his dignity in an ironic twist of fate. Think that the majestic, heavenly Amaterasu is immune to all of the silliness? Well, the player can purchase a move at one of the dojos called “Golden Fury” where Okami lifts up her legs and urinates on enemies. Do I really have to elucidate on the similar “Brown Rage” move and what orifice she uses to execute the move? The wacky tone may seem disorienting for the grand spectacle that Okami conveys, but the many moments of mirth are quite refreshing and self-aware. Okami is an interactive fairy tale, and the content in these fictional chronicles admittedly tends to be outlandish as is.

All of the moments and interactions that I’ve mentioned are interspersed throughout the whole game, but I did mention that Okami’s lightheartedness was a constant. Amaterasu is a protagonist who dabbles in upbeat instances with her jovial, doglike expressions, but her lupine form that is confined to barking and howling sort of inhibits a fully comedic personability. The character in Okami that makes levity leak like a sieve is Amaterasu’s right-hand man Issun: her envoy on her heroic quest and the mouthpiece for the communicatively-subdued Amaterasu. This nanosized shrimp is essentially the Okami equivalent of one of Link’s partner characters from the 3D Zelda titles, which might reignite a feeling of panic as severe as an acid flashback for many players. Don’t write off Issun just yet, for he is not a headache-inducing nightmare like Navi. Or, at least that’s my perspective because Issun seems to be a contentious character even for those who adore this game. I gather that what makes people tend to dislike Issun is that the hopping bug has a sexual appetite that would make Tommy Lee seem gay, along with a sleazy manner of pronouncing his lasciviousness. He first appeared out of the cleavage of a maiden’s dress and hasn’t really refocused his mind on more enterprising priorities since. He simply cannot refrain from commenting on the buxom bosom of Ms. Rao and not-so-subtly squeezing out innuendos about her bust in casual conversation while bouncing in unison with their gravitational rhythm. I’ve been a Daxter apologist all my life, so I’m quite attuned to randy, pygmy sidekicks who stick to the hero’s shoulders like a hardened booger. I’ll make the same defense for Issun because he’s my favorite character in Okami. His forthright, borderline belligerent responses to the NPCs is always hilariously candid, and always keeps the game from sinking into the overwrought soberness of a story with this kind of grand spectacle. Despite his crassness, Issun still carries a strong moral center and is actually a respectable artist who is dedicated to his craft. In the end when Amaterasu, or “furball” as Issun so flippantly refers to her as, must part ways, I felt a sentimental detachment for the hopping little bug. Issun does, however, tend to habitually give unsolicited advice in several situations, and his nagging during a particularly difficult blockhead puzzle made me want to squish him like a grape.

Okami’s story has what I like to refer to as a “Star Wars Original Trilogy arc,” a grand epic divided into thirds whose individual parts can function on their own detached merits separately, but still have a particular narrative tone and placement in the overarching story like the iconic space opera film trilogy. The reason why the first Star Wars feels finalized despite its role as the first in the trilogy is because George Lucas hadn’t anticipated making any sequels. Okami’s first third is to save Kamiki Village from the wrathful omniscience of Orochi, the scenario set up to be the central conflict for the duration of the game. After drinking himself stupid, Orochi is defeated by the efforts of Amaterasu and the bumbling oaf Susano to conclude his dauntless hero arc, with the revelation that he was the one who pulled the Tsukyomi sword in the first place. If the game ended here as the narrative had implied, the game would’ve been unsatisfyingly brief, but capping off the game with the situation that introduced it still would’ve proven to function as a complete narrative package. To my delight, the adventure was far from over.

“The Empire Strikes Back” is situated over yonder in the urban western Nippon where the capital, Sei’an City, is facing a miasma of mist and the hostile rage of the Water Dragon, creating a serious famine and a total plummet in morale. What draws comparisons to the darker sophomore sequel in Star Wars in the trilogy is the shocking twist. The source of the plague is on the offshore Oni Island where a civilization of evil demons call home, and the only creature who can penetrate its defenses is the Water Dragon. With the guidance of the priestess Rao, Amaterasu and Issun snatch the source of the Water Dragon’s almighty ability, killing it as a result. This outcome may signal victory, but the Water Dragon is revealed to have been Sei-an’s once benevolent protector from the vile outside influences of Oni Island, who was suffering from a confounding curse. With the city's primary protector ousted at the bottom of the ocean, Rao reveals herself to be the nefarious fox demon Ninetails, whose duplicity has allowed her to conduct a coup of Sei-an City and kill the active Queen Himiko when Amaterasu’s guard is down. While Ninetails is ultimately stopped by Amaterasu when she finds another method of ransacking Oni Island, the shocking murder of Sei-an’s executive figurehead is still a gut punch that elicits more doom and gloom from a society that was already despondent.

Lastly, the “Return of the Jedi” final third takes place on the icy peaks of Kanui. Besides serving as the grand finale of the game, the last third of both Star Wars and Okami clean up the loose ends that the previous two arcs scattered about. Amaterasu collects the last of the thirteen brush techniques, Issun’s lore is expounded on when Amaterasu visits his microcosmic tree stump society of Ponc’tan, and the stakes are raised even higher when the dreadful omen of an eclipse is going to sap Amaterasu’s powers. Like “Return of the Jedi” the last act of Okami features an Ewok filler B plot involving Amaterasu and Issun traveling back in time and reenacting the events of the tale that occurred one-hundred years ago with Nagi and Orochi, all to affirm that Amaterasu is indeed the reincarnated form of Shiranui. Couldn’t they see the resemblance beforehand? The Kanui arc features the village of shapeshifting wolves struggling with a harsh blizzard that can only be halted by summoning the molten spewings of a volcano, but it’s the secondary side to the “Ark of Yamato” A single that finalizes the story. Okami’s narrative has often been criticized for being too wonky and uneven, with the proposal that it should’ve ended with defeating Oroshi as the game promised. My rebuttal to this solution is that those who state it overlooked the fact that the Orochi conflict was always miniscule in scale. Orochi’s influence merely oppressed one dinky hamlet on the eastern coast of the country, and the infamous battle between him and Nagi is what put Kamiki as a relevant dot on Nippon’s map. Amaterasu is a God who should supersede the repeated small potatoes prophecy she’s been summoned for to fulfill her potential. When the game raises the scope of the setting and presents a conflict with an unexpected result where the mighty Amaterasu might fail, the story becomes far more interesting.

I mentioned before that I’d divulge why Amaterasu is a wolf, and the reason is that the Kanji character for “wolf” is synonymous with “great god” as a double entendre. As simple and cheeky as this clever developer easter egg is, the subject on why Amaterasu at least couldn’t be a chiseled, human-like God like in Greek or Roman mythology is still subject to discussion. I believe the God Amaterasu couldn’t be human because humans are flawed creatures. We’re insecure, boastful, cowardly, and easily led astray by our temptations: characteristics that can be attributed to the actions of Okami’s various NPC characters like Susano. Take Amaterasu’s rival Waka for example. We don’t want to believe that this pretentious pretty boy (Issun’s words) who butchers the French language is Amaterasu’s empyrean peer because of the humanoid way in which he conducts himself. We see him as unfit to be a messiah of any sort, yet somehow everything he bolstered about his status was true, and he still makes many mistakes like the people his body is emulating. A wolf is a mammal with the same milk of human kindness, but not the complex, frazzled cognitive intricacies that plague the human race. Yami, the root of all evil and the head honcho of every previous boss in the game, is a featureless sphere that is physically removed from any organic life as possible. The contrast between the awe-striking Amaterasu and this barely describable thing at the end showcases a profound connection between animals and man, life on Earth, and the symbiotic, kindred bond that all organic life shares. Now that’s what I call a spiritual awakening.


I still insist on speculating that Okami being released at an inopportune date in gaming’s burgeoning itinerary is the root cause of its lackluster fate, because the game sure didn’t falter on quality. Okami is a spectacular reinterpretation of 3D Zelda’s action-adventure foundation that discerns itself from its source with more than a stunningly captivating aesthetic. Admittedly, my Zelda comfort zone associated with meatier dungeons and a substantial combat difficulty was not contented in Okami, but the game more than compensates with its own feats of surpassing its source. Okami’s world is one that would beam with effervescence even if it was rendered in muted gray, for the characters' spunk and personality match the shine of the sun. All of the gameplay assets remain useful throughout the game’s duration, and the plot probes something deeper than the traditional hero’s journey from Zelda. In short, Okami is too damn good to leave in the undiscovered realm of obscurity, as hip as its hidden gem status might make it. Now is your chance to rectify the past and play this euphoric, funny, epic, hippy-dippy adventure game.
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Erockthestrange 2023-10-04T23:03:04Z
2023-10-04T23:03:04Z
9.0
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The game has a great premise, and I really love the Japan setting, the art style and the music. Atmosphere is great too, the whole presentation is amazing. However, it has some of the most dull gameplay in recent memory. The main problem that the game is just too easy. Finding health items is not hard at all and every combat encounter can be beaten by using the brush to break the enemies defence and by just spamming the attack button. Rinse and repeat. Most of the items feel absolutely worthless and upgrading your character is not satisfying when the gameplay is so mind-numbingly easy, it all just feels pointless.

I'm still going to give the game a positive rating, because there are way too many things the game does right, but the gameplay is not one of them. Mid-way through the game I had to drop it. Maybe I will try again some other time, but right now, I'm just too bored to continue.
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Dudewithchgr12 2023-02-06T10:50:35Z
2023-02-06T10:50:35Z
3.0
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A Better Zelda
Okami is my favorite game of all time, so I do have a bias. However, I think this game is amazing and not given enough credit. It plays like a Zelda game with puzzles, dungeons, and abilities to unlock. This game improves on Zelda with an in-depth story based on Japanese mythology. Most notable is the glorious art style which is unique and beautiful. The game is fun, it has a bark button. My only complaint is that the combat is not the best, it can get repetitive or frustrating, but the rest of the game makes up for it. I love this game. I think everyone should at least try it out especially if you enjoy the Zelda series.
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One of those games where it is just fun to run around.
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Uma aventura que triunfa quando aposta em seus cenários, na sua música e no seu design de arte. A densidade do mundo aberto é ótima e as atividades secundárias são tão bem integradas à campanha principal que raramente me senti desviando do jogo.

O combate, simples em sua estrutura, ganha mais corpo com a variedade de armas e combinações possíveis e permanece minimamente interessante até o fim. Outro destaque é o design dos inimigos, visualmente distintos e que nos força a encará-los como pequenos puzzles.

Ao mesmo tempo, é um jogo às vezes inconveniente, seja na forma como conta a história ou na incômoda lentidão geral de sua progressão. Há muito diálogo tolo e tutoriais evitáveis, bem como pedaços grandes de narrativa muito repetitivos. Uma duração menor remediaria boa parte desse problema.
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gabrielctps 2022-05-03T01:50:45Z
2022-05-03T01:50:45Z
4.0
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I don't know how many people get 50 hours from this game. I finished it in ~19 hours, and i was not hastening myself. I played Ocarina Of Time before (not finished it), and i must say Okami is doing lot of improvements on this whole Zelda shtick, for example wolf is much faster than Link, world is bit less empty, so exploration is much more pleasurable than in OoT. Other reviewers's complaints are valid however, game is way too easy, even at the end of game, and there is no diffuculty choice, so game has no replayability. Cel-shading graphics is beautiful and very forgiving off bad hardware (you can play this on your thinkpad), and also there is lot of good humour from wolf's sidekick issun, humour which is at time adult and self-aware
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kesugan 2020-01-12T13:26:53Z
2020-01-12T13:26:53Z
4.0
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I remember my friends wanted to play this game fro our weekly game nights, so years ago they bought this for me on PSN for us to play but after only one day of playing it we realized the game would be way too long to beat, and the next being not many people were really interested in the game since it was slow paced and the combat seemed kind of slow and easy. Well years down the road I finally decided to put my balls to to the wall and just go through the game from start to finish since I heard so many good things and seeing it compared as the PS2 version of Zelda. Well to be fair, this game got better, I was bored for the first few hours as the game focused heavily on narrative and storytelling and the combat before the more difficult enemies come in are mind-numbingly easy. But Okami does a lot of unique things with its art style and having you play as a wolf that paints things to solve puzzles and fight enemies, I mean how many games can say they have such a unique concept. And surprisingly it works, even if it is a little simplistic and most of the puzzles really end up solving themselves. Like many adventure games you travel to new areas and gain new abilities along the way, eventually you are able to progress to the final area and take on the final boss gauntlet.

But despite the beauty and unique style, and decent sense of progression, there is some tedium in the game. There are times where you will be going back and forth between the same areas and you don't unlock a fast travel ability until about halfway through the game and an even better one which is only unlocked through trading in collectibles. The combat ranges from incredibly easy, to difficult but even the tough enemies can be overcome since you get so much money in this and can easily afford to buy power ups that make you invincible and give you unlimited ink and reduce your damage taken. But I'll admit, there is solid enemy variety all which require different techniques to kill, although some enemies do get tedious and are a bit of damage sponges.

Now outside some tedium, and somewhat simplistic combat and puzzles, the game is pretty solid and unique. It has a deep rooted Japanese folklore feel and the graphic style is simply beautiful. The whole brush mechanic is interesting and even if it is a bit simplified, it does give the game character. Plus there is some odd pacing occasionally like the game sort of feels it should end then drags out a little longer. And yeah there are some annoying fights that do drag out, even if they are easy I don't want to spend 10 minutes on a boss fight because they have temporary invincibility moments. Despite its flaws this still is a solid game and I think it does a lot good with a good story, good characters, a unique style and sense of humor, and a big open world to explore with collectible items. But at the same time the flaws and issues do increase the amount of tedium and the combat at times does feel a bit limited and dull. But outside the combat system and dragged out moments this game is a masterpiece of its era and a must play for any adventure game fans. I might not have been the biggest fan of this game, but I really appreciate what it does, plus it just looks beautiful.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T22:51:03Z
2017-07-21T22:51:03Z
3.5
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PizzapastaButcooler 大神 2024-05-30T14:02:40Z
2024-05-30T14:02:40Z
4.0
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FarioMerreira 大神 2024-05-30T03:02:44Z
2024-05-30T03:02:44Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Cognizant_Koala 大神 2024-05-27T11:56:23Z
2024-05-27T11:56:23Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nikokin 大神 2024-05-25T16:18:27Z
2024-05-25T16:18:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Ōkami HD 2024-05-24T20:40:13Z
PS4 • XNA
2024-05-24T20:40:13Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 大神 2024-05-24T20:40:00Z
2024-05-24T20:40:00Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Affengitarre 大神 2024-05-23T12:18:18Z
2024-05-23T12:18:18Z
3.0
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CEPHALOPOX Ōkami 2024-05-23T08:17:11Z
Wii • XNA
2024-05-23T08:17:11Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rap_Prodigy 大神 2024-05-23T05:17:04Z
2024-05-23T05:17:04Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
The_Finisher27 大神 2024-05-23T01:27:42Z
2024-05-23T01:27:42Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
avoidbeing Ōkami 2024-05-21T22:11:13Z
PS2 • XNA
2024-05-21T22:11:13Z
4.0
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C0ntra OKAMI HD 2024-05-21T06:15:03Z
Switch
2024-05-21T06:15:03Z
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CERO: All Ages
Player modes
Single-player
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1x DVD
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  • Ōkami
  • Okami
  • Okami HD
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  • Previous comments (25) Loading...
  • Solanum 2023-08-23 12:53:57.143854+00
    Running around in the open areas is blissful
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  • Solanum 2023-08-23 12:58:59.473127+00
    The best Japanese heavily ocarina-inspired cross-gen game of 2006 where the player can control a wolf.
    reply
    • warioman 2023-10-08 09:48:56.872665+00
      Is it though
    • Solanum 2023-10-13 08:05:42.066379+00
      In every way
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  • knivesandnoises 2023-11-24 20:26:37.738002+00
    I wait for the day when everyone here admits they're enjoying art design of Okami, and not anything around it
    reply
    • marten91 2023-11-29 02:35:40.21821+00
      I would also add the characters and writing in general to the "good parts" of the game, but yeah, overall it overstays its welcome, dungeons are kinda low effort and most importantly, mindless combat basically ruins the game.
    • demianX 2023-12-08 12:47:14.256893+00
      No.
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  • kevinlater 2023-12-31 21:04:27.401465+00
    when you have to go into ponc'tan without issun and all the dialogue scenes have amaterasu just looking around is probably the funniest thing ever
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  • LuraEternal 2024-02-09 02:46:00.35114+00
    A slow start but... god. Amazing.
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  • Solanum 2024-05-23 20:45:00.680065+00
    Final phase of final boss is one of the greatest moments in the medium
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  • DomMazzetti 2024-05-26 03:34:16.741878+00
    Really enjoy this fixing every complaint people had about Zelda games around this time.
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