Okami Review (Wii Version)

March 7, 2009

Just a few days ago I finished my way through Okami (Wii version) and it was one of the most excellent games I have played in a long time. Okami is primarily an Action/Adventure game with a bit of Platforming sprinkled about. The reason that Okami stands apart from games of the day is that it feels fresh. These days, after many years of gaming, I can play a game and be completely turned off to it if it is a clone of some other game I’ve already played. Once I get that “been there done that” feeling any game, no matter how execellent otherwise, becomes worthless to me.

Plot (No Spoilers): In the game Okami you play as the sun goddess, Amaterasu, as you try an restore a land filled with evil. When you first start you have just been resurrected… so to speak and your powers are quite weak. From that point on you spend the game fighting back Orochi (and other evils) as well as gathering “praise” from villagers, plant life, and animals. Throughout the game you are seeking out the ancient “brush techniques” which allow Amaterasu many different super natural powers.

Music: The music in Okami is quite good and does not seem to get terribly repetative as some game music tends to do. Most of the music is that kind of music that is normally aossicated with old or ancient Japan, which is fitting since the game takes place there. I suppose if you aren’t a real fan of that kind of music then it would drive you nuts, but the music has a relaxing feel to it and blends nicely into the background.

Brush Techniques: This is what really makes Okami stand out from other games in the genre. As you work your way through the game Amaterasu learns 13 “Celestrial Brush Techniques”, which are performed by drawing various patterns on the screen with the Wii mote.  Each technique uses a certain amount of “ink” which you have a set reverse of. Ink levels recover slowly so you can’t use the techniques wastefully. I have heard that the controls for the brush techniques have been given mixed reviews. I had some trouble with the controls in the beginning, but after an hour or so I really enjoyed them and I think it is a very natural fit for the Wiimote. Again, for me, this was the major selling point of the game.

Controls: The controls for Okami felt pretty solid, but there  were a few occasions where they were a little clunky and just got me downright annoyed. Overall I wouldn’t say they detract from the game, but the one or two times you run into trouble is quite irritating.

Praise: In Okami “praise” is how you are able to get more powerful over time. As you travel around the various lands helping villagers and restoring nature that has been corrupted you acumulate praise. This praise can be spent on upgrades to increase the amount of ink you carry (needed for brush techniques), to get more health, and for various other upgrades. Praise is fairly easy to come by and as long as you are paying attention you should aquire it naturally as you play the game. I never found myself in a situation where I had to grind for several hours just to be strong enough to continue.

Battles: Battles in Okami are faught when you approach floating scrolls of paper that look possessed (yup… best way I could describe it). When you get close enough a restrictive barrior is placed around the immediate area of the map and the enemies appear. At the beginning of the game you are given a simple weapon that looks like a shield and as you move through the game you get various new weapons for your arrsenal. There are 15 weapons total and you are allowed to have one main weapon and one sub weapon equipped. Each enemy in the battle has a certain amount of health that you can view via a health bar that is displayed. It is in your interest to finish each battle as fast as possible, and take as little damage as possible. This is because at the end you see a summary of how well you did, and get rewarded with extra money for being faster/taking less damage. The battle system helps keep them from feeling too stale and gives you a reason to improve your skills over time and learn the best way to defeat each enemey.

Overall: Okami is a great game with a very interesting and engaging story line that keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen next. The controls take some getting used to, but Okami is one of the few games that didn’t just add Wiimote features for the heck of it. Its fresh take on the Action/Adventure genre is refreshing especially given all the clones of this genre.  I would recommend this game to anyone who likes the Legend of Zelda series, or anyone who enjoys  Action/Adventure games.

Happy gaming 🙂 !