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 🙂 !

Advertisements

Mega Man 9 Review

December 16, 2008

About a month ago I purchased Mega Man 9 off the Wii Virtual Console. At the time I was still in the middle of a tough college semester so I played it little by little. I finally finished the game a week ago, and got around to writing up my thoughts on the game.

Game Play:

The game play in Mega Man 9 is spot on with what I remember from the old NES classics. For those who don’t know, Mega Man 9 was made in the same style as the NES Mega Man games of old. In Mega Man 9 we find that our hero has the usual abilities such as… jumping and shooting. No other abilities are given to him. However, you do have the option of using the Rush Jet or Rush Coil and, of course, when you defeat a boss you get to use their power afterward. Capcom did a perfect job of recreating the feel of the NES Mega Man, which is 100% ok by me 🙂 .

Story Line:

Mega Man games of yore have never been much for a story line so there’s not much to say here. I wasn’t expecting all that much from Mega Man 9 in the way of a storyline and I got what I expected. They attempt to explain everything but the bottom line is: Dr. Wily did something bad and you have to go around destroying robots to make things right.

Old School Boss Selection Screen

Old School Boss Selection Screen

Music:

I absolutely love the music in Mega Man 9. Now, I should mention that it is the classic 8-bit style music. I have met people who find this absolutely annoying, but for me it brings about a certain nostalgia. If you liked the NES Mega Man music chances are you will like this as well. Likewise, if you hated the old 8-bit music you probably won’t like the music in Mega Man 9.

Controls:

I found that the controls for this game worked just fine. You hold the Wiimote sideways: ‘1’ is shoot, ‘2’ is jump, and the D-pad moves you left and right. To pause and switch weapons you simply use ‘+’ .

Extras:

Mega Man 9 features a store where you use the bolts you collect throughout the levels to buy items such as energy tanks and extra lives. They also added a few more items such as the shock guard, which allows you to jump on spikes once without exploding instantly.

Challenges:

Mega Man 9 features different challenges, which the game notifies you of after you have completed them. Some of them include:  Jitterbug (beat game in under 60 minutes), Quick Draw (defeat a boss in 10 seconds or less), and Heavy Metal (reach a boss room without firing a weapon). These are turned on by default and can be fun to try and achieve. Either way it does not hurt the game to have these features around and can add a bit more play time to the game if you are into that sort of thing.

Galaxy Man Opening Screen

Galaxy Man Opening Screen

Time Trails:

Another interesting mode of play is the “Time Trial” mode where you are given all power-ups and are placed in a level of your choosing. Then, you try and get through the level as fast as possible. Furthermore, you can compete against the top times that people have accomplished and uploaded via the Wi-Fi network.

Difficultly:

Since it has been a while since I played any of the NES Mega Man games I’m not sure how to rate its difficulty in comparison to the others. I certainly wouldn’t call it easy, but I don’t know if it is as hard as the others. I would say that it probably took me around 9 or 10 hours to complete the game, but now that I have beaten it I would probably make it through in just under an hour. The difficulty comes in figuring out the “tricks” to each level for the first time. Once you do that it is fairly easy to finish a level in around 2 to 3 minutes. It is a different style of gaming from the modern sense. A lot of games these days are long and of easy to medium level difficulty. Mega Man 9 sports short, very difficult levels. You need to understand that you might not complete a level on your first, second, or even third attempt in this game.

Bonus Content:

Mega Man 9 features downloadable content that you must pay for with Wii points. As I am a poor college student, I have not yet purchased any of these features. Some of them include: being about to play as Proto Man or purchasing an additional level.

Conclusion:

All in all, Mega Man 9 has a lot of great content, and it is good to see a big player such as Capcom making awesome games for the virtual console, especially for a reasonable $10. If you were a fan of the old school Mega Man, or if you are looking for a fresh and challenging Wiiware title Mega Man 9 will not disappoint!