Okami (Wii) Reader Review

Posted by By Phoenom 1 Number of reads 5402 Posted 03.09.2008

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Okami was born from the brilliant creative minds of Clover Studios, once part of Japanese Developer Powerhouse Capcom, and now unfortunately defunct. It is an Action-Adventure title that innovates on many levels, and presents a unique visual style and interaction method.
Once, it was going to be rendered in a Photo-Realistic style instead of the Watercolour effect we see today, however, Clover Studios determined that the more colorful Watercolour style allowed them to better convey the player controlled character's association with nature and the task of restoration. From this decision, the idea of the Celestial Brush came about, as a means of interacting directly with the environment.
Okami, new Visual style intact, was first shown off in a playable form at E3 2005, as a then-Playstation 2 exclusive. It was released to retail, and to almost unprecedented critical acclaim, a year later.
Ever since then, and until the middle of 2007, it was strongly rumoured that the game would be getting a second chance at sales through a Wii port (PS2 sales had been sufficient, but nowhere near as much as the game should have had). The console seemed tailor-made for the game, and would certainly give it a strong accessibility boost with the pointer assisting the Celestial Brush technique. Capcom finally gave into demands, and commissioned Ready At Dawn, a developer most well-known with Playstation titles, to handle the porting process to Wii.
It was released in the middle of 2008, and probably because the general consumer doesn't like great games, barely managed better in sales than its Playstation equivalent.

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As already mentioned, Okami�s luscious looks are based on the concept of Watercolours, but they also take inspiration from the Japanese wood carving art of the Ukiyo-e style , a genre of Japanese woodblock prints (or woodcuts) and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries. One such realization for the team to decide to switch to this artistic style was the limitations of the PS2 hardware.
When Ready at Dawn transferred the assets of the PS2 version of Okami over to the Wii, there were changes necessary, mainly to comply with the different architecture in Nintendo�s Console, and because some unrecovered code had to be re-written from the ground up. This resulted in the slight loss of the Paper Parchment Effect, one that made the original game look as if it was animated on Parchment Paper. The effect is still present in the Wii version, but not as obvious.

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As you can see above, the Wii version of the game still looks beautiful, unique and spectacular. In essence, the weaker Paper Parchment Effect in this version has led to a stronger, lighter and brighter visual style that would make Gray and Brown games like Gears of War even browner with envy. This is one game you need to see moving with your own two eyes to appreciate how incredible it looks.

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Okami�s music takes inspiration from Classical Japanese Works, and melds into the game perfectly. There isn�t a single bad track in the game, and Capcom have even released an official 5-disc soundtrack for the game, which sadly, is only available for the Japanese market. I�ve provided a sample for your ears;

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Whilst there is no full English speech in the game, there is sort of a gibberish language spoken by the characters with their lines. In actual fact, this gibberish was created by scrambling samples of voice actors' speech, with more emotional lines being created from voice work given in that emotion, so it isn�t quite as random as you might believe.

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Ready at Dawn have done a superb job with mapping the controls to the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. I�ve mapped out the control scheme below, and whilst it may seem a little complicated now, when you�re playing, it�s a whole different story.

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Whilst shaking the Remote to attack may seem like a gimmicky way of replacing a regular button, it works beautifully. The Average gamer would likely pick up the remote, guide Amaterasu, the main character, into a battle, and shake the controller like their lives depended on it. To get anywhere in the battles, slow, steady rhythm is the key, and something that ends up more intuitive than even a button can manage.
Of course, one of the biggest reasons why gamers wanted to see Okami on the Wii was because of the Pointer on the top of the remote, something that would heighten the experience to levels beyond the PS2 original, and this leads us nicely onto...

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The story of Okami is initially a simple one, but one that gains many twists and turns; 100 years previous of the starting point in the game, there ruled an evil 8 headed Demon named Orochi, that once a year demanded a Female sacrifice from the nearby Kamiki Village, in agreement for not slaughtering the other inhabitants as well. At that year, it was the love of Nagi, the strongest swordsman in the village, that was chosen, and he vowed to take down Orochi in order to save her. His efforts were admirable, but ultimately doomed to failure, that was until Shiranui, the wolf incarnation of a Goddess, arrived to aid him. The battle was close, with Orochi being sealed away for a Hundred years, and Shiranui passing away from mortal wounds.
Upon Orochi�s release, Sakura, a wood spite and guardian of the Village, resurrected Shiranui, now Amaterasu, from a statue built in the Village as a mark of respect. Sakura commissions Issun, an inch-high artist, to accompany Amaterasu in her quest to rid the world of Orochi once more.

Okami can quite easily be likened to Zelda; there are numerous similarities. Health and Magic (Paintbrush in Okami) Bars, Overworld Exploration, Dungeons and Puzzles, Okami�s original producer said it himself that Zelda was an inspiration for the game. There is one thing that sets the game apart from Nintendo�s series most of all though, and that is the Celestial Brush Feature.
Holding B on the underside of the Remote brings up a sheet of paper on the screen, like below;

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And at this time, providing you have enough Paint Bars left to utilize, drawing shapes on the screen with the A Button and the pointer will result in environment effects, ranging from a simple cut in the scenery, like a sword swipe, to bombs for exposing cracks in walls, and even restoring plant life to former glory. There are 13 such shapes and effects you can use, each one gained from meeting other Celestial gods on the game.
In the PS2 version of the game, the Brush was controlled with the Right Analog Stick on the DualShock controller, and whilst this was an effective way of precision, particularly with circles, it was far from intuitive, and used a lot less by the player than it could have been. There are no such problems in the Wii version. Using the brush is quick and easy, the pointer is incredibly responsive, and it can all be done in the blink of an eye. Whilst drawing straight lines and circles may be slightly trickier in Okami; holding the Z button on the Nunchuk helps draw straight lines, and the game picks up attempted circles far more often than previously. It is a definite improvement over the original, and makes the Celestial Brush become more than an extra game mechanic.


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You would expect a game as strongly compared to Zelda as this one is to have a lot to it, and you won�t be disappointed. There is a good 20 hours of this title waiting for you to beat, and the number of Dungeons, sidequests, and unlockables at the very end of the game will keep you coming back. There is no multiplayer mode, but this is the kind of game that doesn�t, and never will need it.
The size of the game, in relation to overworlds, places to see, and areas to pass through, is immense, and will make you wonder how they managed to fit it all onto one disc. The twists and turns of the plot will keep you guessing and playing, and you�ll love every minute of it.


...of course, no game is perfect, and as such, Okami does have a few tiny bits of negativity. For some, the controls might be a hindrance, although I�d recommend patience, practice and precision for those gamers. There are a few fetch quests in the game, which may be unpopular with some, but they are minimal in number. Some of the Mini-game sequences and Boss Fights in Okami are repeated a couple of times, which could irritate, but are a decent challenge, and never unfair.
And my last criticism, which is a big one, actually has no bearing on the game content as it is, so I wouldn�t deduct points or marks on the basis of this. When Ready at Dawn were at the finishing stages of the porting process, there was one problematic area; the Credits Cut-scene. The exact problem was that the Clover Studios logo was un-removable, and as such the whole scene was scrapped from the Wii version. I call laziness and strict finishing deadlines as the cause of this, not technical impossibilities, and it is downright criminal that the original staff members aren�t credited in Okami Wii. No offence to Ready at Dawn, they did an admirable porting job, except for that last bit, but talent like Clover needed to be praised. The credits sequence isn�t a vital part if the end product, so Okami as a game is pretty much unaffected, but it would have been nice if Ready at Dawn had gone the extra mile.


Summary

I can say this until I�m blue in the face, and most likely will, but... you need to play this game. Until you have tried this game in either form, you have no right to complain about lack of great games on the Wii. Capcom didn�t help with lack of proper advertising for Okami�s resurrection on the Wii, but the general gaming population certainly made matters worse for future imaginative and boundary-pushing games by ignoring this one so thoroughly. Okami stands proud next to Mario Galaxy as some of the finest Wii can offer, and you need it in your collection.

Phoenom's Rating Rated $score out of 10  10/10

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Buy it people!! >=[

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Yeah, this game is practically a steal at Zavvi right now. Get yo' asses in gear!

LOL I'm happy Okami is located in bestbuys near me~

I've never played it, but I've watched videos on youtube and I'm very fond of the look!

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Developer

Clover

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (6 Votes)

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