#707 Ōkami

Posted: 23rd September 2013 by Jeroen in Games
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272nd played so far


Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: PlayStation 2/Wii
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Clover Studio
Publisher: Capcom

Part of the reason this set of fifty games is restricted to games new to me, is to put some focus on me playing games that Peter already knows. Ōkami, then, is a perfect game to play here, as I understand it’s one of his favourites. I’ll leave to him to explain.

Our Thoughts

So there’s one thing I’d like to get out of the way before we dive into the actual review, and it’s a bit of a personal one. You see, I’m left-handed. That doesn’t impact much – I use scissors with my right hand, making left-handed ones unnecessary, I use computer mouses with either hand (a great way to avoid RSI) and in most other cases I tend to do well.

When a game seems to rely on holding your controller and using the Wiimote to draw with your right hand, though, it’s tough. I’m not sure whether it entirely explains my issues with the motion control in this game, but drawing with my right hand was impossible, while doing it the other way round seemed to make it difficult to do the normal movements associated with the game. It’s possible some adjustments for accuracy means it feels off if you’re left handed, and that made the control scheme less than desirable. And now it’s time for the right-handed perspective.

It has been over two years since I had last played this and I really enjoyed the chance to play this again (and I will be honest it was painful to watch how much Jeroen struggled with this). Seeing how the controls were a bit of an issue for Jeroen I’ll start there. The original version of this game was for the Playstation 2 which meant that the brush strokes are controlled by the analog sticks. Seeing how the Wiimote added motion controls (and that this was published by Capcom) this was a natural fit right?

In some ways yes. However, in some ways the Wiimotes inaccuracies pre-MotionPlus are a bit of a weakness. There is a section where you aid in the blooming of a cherry tree after watching a rather long dance. The circles you need to make for this are rather fiddly but it really takes the cake when it takes a good ten minutes for it to register 5-6 circles. It’s hard to not throw the Wiimote at the TV when this happens.

The real strength of the game is the use of Japanese mythology in this game (something I won’t go into since a really good friend of mine wrote an incredibly in-depth article here). But this links into an even better part of Okami… the art style. Going along with the ink-powered attacks this game has be styled so that it resembles traditional Japanese (like the one I have hanging above the computer). By doing this Clover Studios have created something truly timeless. Other games from this year have started to look dated but this looks just as good as when I first played it years ago (same thing as when we played The Wind Waker a few years ago). I understand that the original version featured a slightly over the top papyrus effect. It’s probably a good thing it’s not there all time now, but the world turning more papery when you start drawing is a nice effect.

The story of this game doesn’t exactly matter too much. It’s a good story but since it is still very enjoyable 2 years later having forgotten the majority of the game’s goings on (yea I never finished this game because I got stuck on a tricky bit involving scrolls then got annoyed and headed back to university after Easter break). In this you play the Sun Goddess in the form of a wolf, over the course of this game you are fighting the big evil whilst collecting the ‘brush strokes’. These brush strokes allow you to control the passage of day and night, harness the powers of the wind, bring flowers into bloom as well as other pieces of elemental magic. In a way you’re cleaning the world – ridding it of evil and nastiness. Evil is linked to some sort of pollution here. It’s not a heavy message, but instead rather more natural, but it leads to some nice additional side areas. For example, you get to befriend animals, but to do so you need to bring them the right type of food.

Similar to Flower this game is in, some ways, a rather spiritual experience. With some demon ass-kicking action. Never a bad mix when done well.

Final Thoughts

If you want to buy this for the Wii I would really recommend it (even if you are left-handed, just ask my friend Kat). However, if you are not keen to use controls that have a tendency to be patchy then there is always the PS2 version. If you didn’t pawn your PS2 for gaming money that is.

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