|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|
Who said there's nothing like The Legend of Zelda? On the most part, that's a true statement. However, Okami has gotten close to Nintendo's glorious series by using its awe-inspiring visuals, engaging story, and unique gameplay as a vehicle to success. Capcom should be proud to have put together such a solid adventure game, and hopefully this accomplishment will get them inspired enough to create an amazing sequel and turn Okami into a much-wanted franchise. I can't help but think they missed out on something here; they should have released a sequel to the game for the Wii, instead of just porting the original PS2 game launched back in 2006.
Okami is particularly unique because of its visuals. They're such a key element of the game that I feel I have to tell you about them before we jump into everything else. Let's put it this way: Okami is like a canvas come to life; it appears entirely tridimensional, yet it looks like a rich and vibrant oil painting inspired in old art traditions from the Country of the Rising Sun (If there was any doubt, you'll clear it quickly by just looking at the bright red sun drawn in the game's box art). Thick black lines define the fairytale environments, the characters, and the bucolic architecture found throughout the game. Every element and space is filled with vibrant swatches of color that make Okami a mix between a Van Gogh, a Hiroshige, and a Manet. The characters represent cute Japanese stereotypes of old merchants, peasants, and other townsfolk; the landscapes will take you right into the heart of Japan, with cute little villages, forests, secret caves, rivers, and bridges everywhere, and much more. It looks a bit fuzzy on a big screen though, which reminds you this is no next-gen title.
The Japanese art style is definitely what makes the game so special, but the success wouldn't have been possible without a long and engaging story that will draw players to the end of the adventure, just like a Legend of Zelda game would. In fact, that's the best example of what the game is like; if you enjoy Zelda and other adventure games, you should feel right at home when playing Okami.
The game starts with a lengthy introduction to the story displayed in simple and mostly unanimated drawings. You'll learn about a warrior named Nagi and a powerful, white-as-snow wolf named Shiranui (Okami). Together they managed to defeat the fearsome and multi-headed dragon Orochi and saved the town from misery. A statue of the wolf was built to remember his courageous and selfless act. One hundred years later, Orochi is resurrected and Kamiki Village is under threat. Sakuya, the wood sprite that was protecting the town, feels desperate. She knows that there's only one being that can save the town from desolation: Okami, who's no other than the ancient god Amaterasu.
The god is brought to life once more in the shape of a beautiful wolf with dazzling white fur. You'll be controlling Amaterasu throughout the adventure with the mission to bring life, light, and color back to the darkened lands near Kamiki Village. Issun, a tiny, bug-sized creature, will become your sidekick and help you as much as possible by talking, especially. The game is full of rich and humorous dialogue; unfortunately it all has to be read because the characters aren't any more intelligible than the ones in Animal Crossing; it's pure Gibberish. I found it a bit tiresome to go through the dialogue by just pressing A, especially when there are no cutscenes or animations accompanying most of the sequences. In my opinion, they should have cut down a little on dialogue or at least allowed you to go through it faster. Instead, they give you the option to skip everything, which means it's all or nothing. If you want to follow the story, you have no choice but to read everything at the provided speed.