|System: Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ready at Dawn||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr.15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
January 18, 2008 - One of the biggest surprises of the PS2 game library for a lot of people was Okami. Lauded by both game critics and gamers alike, Okami proved that what people really wanted was something different. Sure, a good Resident Evil title was always a plus, and God of War is an excellent series, but haven't we seen stuff like that before? Okami was unique because it honestly did implement a gameplay mechanic that nobody had ever seen before. And now, Wii owners are getting a chance to experience the magic of Okami in a remake of the PS2 classic, with some awesome Wii additions (namely, the control scheme) thrown in.
Even the premise of Okami is incredibly unique -- you play as a god in the form of a wolf tasked with bringing life back to a dying world. The story was surprisingly good in the PS2 version of the game, and one aspect that really helped it out was the fantastically-written dialogue. The same certainly holds true for the Wii version, which features a wonderfully full-fledged storyline and fantastic writing. Characters are diverse and varied, each with their unique personalities, and make the game all the more enjoyable to play.
When it was initially released, many critics and gamers called Okami the Zelda of the PS2, and it's easy to see why. Aside from the well-done story, the general game set-up is very reminiscent to that of 3D Zelda titles. The game is divided up into a bunch of somewhat random missions interspersed with the main quest, and there are tons of collectible items -- treasure, for the most part. But in addition to the dungeon-crawling-esque game play, there are also some cool RPG elements in the game. Completing quests will gain you something called Praise -- like experience points -- which can then be used to upgrade your various skills.
One of those skills, and easily the coolest aspect of Okami, is the item called the Celestial Brush. It's an incredible addition to an already interesting game and makes Okami really stand out from other games that might seem similar. The Celestial Brush lets you paint directly onto the game scene while conveniently stopping the action so you can put your artistic side to work. Using the brush does a variety of things, from defeating enemies to, for example, changing night to day or cause a burst of wind to pass by. These abilities are well-incorporated into all aspects of the gameplay, from defeating enemies to solving some well-imagined puzzles present in the game.
Of course, this Celestial Brush concept is going to be incredibly applied for use with the Wii Remote. The PS2 version of the game had you drawing symbols with certain buttons and the analog stick -- it was fine, but there were also plenty of opportunities to screw up. The Wii version, however, eliminates all of those potential problems by allocating the Celestial Brush controls to the motion sensitivity of the Wii Remote. Your drawing will become so much more accurate and smoother, making Okami an even more fun and intuitive game to play.
Probably the most incredible aspect of Okami, aside from the Celestial Brush implementation, are the awe-inspiring graphics. These days, a game's visuals seem to be all about making them as realistic as possible. Well, Okami's developers (originally Capcom, but the game is being ported by Ready At Dawn) decided to take the road less traveled and instead focused on making the graphics more atmospheric than realistic. The visuals are deep and colorful, and they mesh beautifully with the game's overall style and feel -- that is, the one that you're a deity on a mission to save a darkening world. The graphics are hard to visualize without seeing them in front of you, but the Wii version will feature identical graphics to those of the PS2 version. For some games, featuring graphics from a last-gen console might be a bit of a disappointment, but that's definitely not the case with Okami -- the visuals look absolutely beautiful.
The developers have already stated that Okami for the Wii won't feature any different content from the original game, but it's not that huge of a deal just because the PS2 version of Okami had so much stuff to do. The main quest itself is quite lengthy, and then you add in the many side quests, treasure hunting, and leveling up. The result? One surprisingly long adventure, and one that you won't easily grow tired of.
I'll be perfectly honest here: Okami is my most hotly anticipated title Wii title scheduled for release. Brawl will be amazing, I'm sure, but I relish being able to relive such an inventive game as Okami on a system that seems to be custom-made for the game. In fact, the president of Ready At Dawn, the game's development team, says, "This will be Okami as it was meant to be." Keep a sharp eye out for Okami when it releases in late March of 2008.
CCC Freelance Writer