Game review: Okami

Platform: Sony Playstation 2

Okami

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Synopsis
You are Ameratsu, ancient Japanese goddess, returned to earth in the body of a white wolf. While you were gone, evil spread across the land, blackening the forests and skies and spreading fear into the hearts of the villagers. Your job is to defeat evil spirits and restore life and colour to the world.

Gameplay
Okami is a joy to play and to watch. The world is one big beautiful ink painting, and though fluid and fully 3D, is wonderfully flat and animated. The tasks are relatively easy to figure out and the game holds your hand through most of them. Sadly, this is my biggest problem with Okami: it assumes you’re a bit of a dolt. I found myself repeatedly saying “yes, yes, I get it” while my little sidekick – some sort of magical sprite I wish the wolf would just clamp her jaws around – goes on and on explaining the obvious.

But other than that annoyance, Okami just makes you feel good as you restore the sun to the sky and make trees bloom. The way you do this is one of the best features of the game: the Celestial Brush. This tool “flattens” the game, turning the entire scene into a drawing which you paint on with a huge Japanese ink brush. The resulting brush work shimmers to life and either slices an enemy, rebuilds a watermill, or does other awesome things. Hell, this game is so enchanted, just running around leaves clusters of flowers in your wake.

Not the most challenging game around, but it will easily refute those naysayers out there who paint all video games with the same… well, you know.

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