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Okami Review

Capcom teaches an old dog new tricks

Okami is one of the greatest videogames ever made. Yes, it's that good. Of course, that's in general game terms rather than a comment specifically aimed at the Wii version. Okami jumped to the top of 'Best Games Ever' lists when it was on the PS2, right around the same time when everyone else ignored it. That Capcom is promoting this Wii-adapted remake as "the best game you've never played" then is a rather bold admission, because it's rare that you'll see a publisher admitting its failings this openly. But then, this is Okami we're talking about and it's wonderful to see Capcom realising that if there was ever a game that deserved a second chance at success, it's this one.

So what is it about Okami that makes it so great? Most likely, it's the Zelda factor. While there are multitudes of 3D action adventure games out there cluttering up the shelves today, virtually none of them capture the magical spark that makes Nintendo's classic franchise so special. None of them bar Okami, that is. Still, actually pinning down what that spark relates to is somewhat difficult. After all, if it wasn't then countless other developers would have managed to copy it by now, right?

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The Myth Element

It's not impossible to hazard a guess though. Is it the exquisite visual style, mimicking traditional Japanese art by using brushstrokes and watercolours to depict the world? The absolutely massive game world that has so much for our wolf/god/heroine Amaterasu to discover, you'll still be playing long after the 30-plus hours it takes to complete the main quest have passed? The wonderful story packed with interesting characters, Japanese mythology and plenty of sly humour? In truth, it's all of these things and more besides. Clearly, Okami is a great deal more than just the sum of its accomplished parts.

But isn't all that old news? It certainly seems like it considering the rave reviews garnered by the PS2 game many moons ago, so it might be better to concentrate on how developer Ready At Dawn has handled the Wii version instead. Obviously, the conversion - because it's not really a port, since Ready At Dawn had to build it from the ground up - changes very little of the core game. Indeed, bar the luscious watercolour visuals looking a tad more vibrant, it's very much business as usual for Okami (with that business lying in the realms of epic fantasy adventure gaming). Not surprisingly then, the only real differences lie with the controls and while these take a tiny bit of practice to get used to, they actually work really well.

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Quick Flick

Use of the Wii's motion controls is split between performing several moves with Amaterasu and wielding the Celestial Brush, with both being used throughout the game in equal measure. The former relies on quick flicks of the Remote or Nunchuk to make Amaterasu dash forwards (smashing anything breakable in her way) or dodge in the direction of the flick (once you've learned the Fleetfoot move, that is).

Move into a combat situation and Remote flicks make you strike at enemies instead, but these swipes need to be timed perfectly to make them work. You have to flick the Remote just as the first attack ends to initiate the next one. Some US reviewers have criticised this but, to be honest, it's actually something of a blessing as it adds a much needed layer of skill to the previously too-easy battles of the PS2 game. Needless to say, waggle merchants with only the ability to furiously wave the Remote around like a maniac need not apply. You'll actually need some gaming ability if you want to do well here.

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7 comments so far...
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  1. herbiethecar Wednesday 9th Jun 2010 at 15:37

    It does indeed seem Okami is the game you've never played, as this review was added 2 years ago and I'm the first one to post a comment! Back to business though, and this game is an absolute delight to play. There are a few difficulty spikes, I've found myself resorting to a walkthrough more than once. There is also an extreme amount of satisfaction when you work out how to defeat the bosses, as with Super Mario Galaxy when you're avoiding attacks for a couple of minutes before you work out how to beat the boss. The only criticism I have is a dodgy camera every now and then. And for anyone having trouble slashing stuff, hold Z while drawing to do a straight line. I bet I'm the only person ever to look at the tips on the Celestial Brush techniques.

  2. RealToonLink Tuesday 13th Jul 2010 at 17:28

    On first impressions Okami doesn't start very well. The game begins very slow and with no way to speed up the dialogue, it takes quite a while to get through the cutscenes. Then when you get the Power Slash you find that most of the time the slashing doesn't work which can cause some unneeded frustration during the Susanso slashing sequences.

    However if one sticks to the game and learns the controls, Okami turns into a fantastic action adventure that comes close to rivalling Zelda, with a fantastic gameplay mechanic (Celestrial Brush) wonderful presentation and entertaining story.

    However the occasional flawed controls and at times slow pace of the game makes Okami a 9/10 experience.

  3. Rabbid_girl Thursday 26th Aug 2010 at 11:50

    Its so sad that this game has hardly been brought by anyone. I really, really enjoy it. Its probably my favourite wii game!!!

  4. Ammytastic Sunday 3rd Oct 2010 at 09:53

    I disagree with this score. Okami is the best game on Wii and it deserves 98% and that same title. It is incredibly long and has a very well written script. It is better than the likes of Galaxy 2 and N.S.M.B. Wii and as anybody who's read through the manual will tell youthat you can draw a straight line by holding down "Z" instead of "A" to power slash. This game IS the best game on Wii, NO DOUBT

  5. BobbilyWobbily Thursday 23rd Feb 2012 at 15:02

    I'm currently playing through the ps2 version and loving it. I got it at the Same time as Skyward sword, and I actually prefer okami a little bit... the only bad thing is the annoying noises over the cut scenes - although its growing on me a bit. an amazing game

  6. Xenobladeperson Saturday 26th May 2012 at 14:32

    Can't beat Waka, me rubbish at games.

  7. SM3DL Thursday 8th Nov 2012 at 17:31

    I'm looking to buy this game. What do you have to do in the game? Is it any good? :D

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