Okami Review

Okami is a fantasy RPG set in early Japan developed for the PS2. The game has been out for quite a while but I only recently got around to playing it.

In Okami the player assumes the role of a sort of god who takes the form of a wolf. When the game starts you have lost most of your celestial powers which must be recovered as you play. Your powers are called Celestial Brush Strokes. Each different stroke allows you to effect the game world in a different way. One lets you create a wind which can blow things out of the way, another lets you breathe life back into dying plants, and another lets you set things on fire. There are a fairly large number of brush strokes to be found and they will play an important part in solving the puzzles strewn throughout the game that must be beaten in order to progress as well as being key to many of the boss fights.

The brush strokes themselves are executed in a very interesting way. When you press the button to begin a brush stroke everything freezes and turns black and white. Then you guide the brush over the scene leaving a trail of ink. If you steer the brush properly you will draw one of the celestial symbols which will cause the corresponding effect to take place on the object you drew it upon. Draw a slash across a tree trunk for example and the tree will be cut down.

Throughout the game you are attempting to restore a world that has been shattered by the release of an evil dragon god and imprison it once more. To do this you must accomplish many tasks centered around returning things to their proper order as well as increasing your own power and divinity.

The game plays out as a series of levels where each level expands a little more on the game world you play in making more and more areas available to you as you go. Each level contains a series of quests, puzzles and other challenges that culminates in a boss fight. Defeating the boss advances the story and opens up access to the next region.

The game has day and night cycles and the npc's activities change based on the time of day. In addition to the tasks on each level there are also wandering monsters to be fought or avoided, side quests to be undertaken and little secret areas or treasures to be found.

I have found the game to be extremely enjoyable and would include it as one of my all time favorites. The game is challenging without being overly difficult. The story is entertaining and engaging without becoming cumbersome and the world is a very pleasant place to adventure in. The puzzles will make you think without frustrating you and the boss fights are quite creative. I would give Okami my highest recommendation to anyone who likes console RPG's.

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