Wii

North America

Okami

by Nick DiMola - August 20, 2008, 4:00 pm PDT
Total comments: 47

10

Stunningly beautiful and amazingly engaging.

For many Nintendo gamers, Okami will have a very familiar feel to it. Since its initial release on Playstation 2, comparisons have been made to Shigeru Miyamoto's Legend of Zelda series. Indeed, Okami and the venerable Zelda series share many similarities in design and pacing as well as polish, challenge, and entertainment value.

Okami is loosely based on various stories of Japanese mythology; the first tale told in the game is a very faithful envisioning of the story of Orochi. Following that tale's completion, the game expands into its own overriding storyline that incorporates a variety of myths while also constructing its own characters, locales, and plot points. You play the role of the ancient God Ameratsu, a white wolf brought back to life to save the world from the forces of darkness.

In line with its influences, Okami is presented in a way that gives it the appearance of a living, hand-drawn, cel-shaded story board. When looking at the visual depictions of Japanese mythology, it is obvious that one of the goals of the Okami project was to bring such pieces of art to life. Matching its gorgeous, authentic graphical presentation is an amazing compilation of music. The beautiful pieces bring out the sounds and themes of ancient Japanese culture and match the game perfectly. The sound effects are equally excellent, never sounding out of place or poorly composed.

As mentioned earlier, the game has been compared on countless occasions to the Legend of Zelda series, and rightfully so. The game world is built as a collection of points of interest on a large overworld map, chock-full of life and side quests. In Okami's case, these points of interest are solely cities and structures as opposed to the cities and dungeons found in Zelda. Okami has some locales that resemble dungeons, but nothing on par with the rigid dungeon structure typical of most Zelda games. This departure gives the game its own flavor and pacing that separates it from the Zelda series; players will notice other similarities as well, including the helper character Issun, who parallels Zelda's Navi quite well but is much less annoying.

Okami's gameplay also sets it apart very distinctly from Zelda. Unlike Zelda (in which players engage enemies as they're wandering through a field or dungeon), Okami takes a more RPG-style approach to combat. Enemies are represented in the overworld as a floating scroll. Upon touching the scroll players are encased in a magical perimeter wall (which can be broken out of if necessary), in which they faceoff with their enemies.

Players use a combination of brush strokes (using the "Celestial Brush", a paintbrush that can be used to effect the game environment) and physical combat moves to defeat the enemies. Conquered foes drop life, yen, and ink pots. The game rates your combat performance based on technique and time, assigning you points accordingly. These points become what are essentially distributable experience points that can be used to upgrade ink capacity and life, amongst other things.

Aside from battle, Okami incorporates brush stroke usage throughout the game for solving puzzles and accessing hidden areas. Because the brush strokes are a rough equivalent of Zelda's inventory, their functionality is quite similar in the overworld. There are some instances when drawing the brush strokes feels better because it provides for more tactile puzzle-solving. The brush stroke system also partially replaces a conventional item inventory. Instead of stocking bombs, players can activate the paintbrush and draw a bomb on the screen using the Wii Remote's pointer functionality.

Players can also do things like slashing and "blooming" (bringing life back to a dead plant), and different strokes have different effects and purposes depending on the enemy you’re facing. In some cases, a certain brush stroke will be necessary to defeat an enemy. General attacks require rhythmic movements with the Wii Remote, causing Ameratsu to attack with her body or an equipped weapon such as a sword or beads. Each weapon has its own rhythm and attack strategy, giving the battle system further depth. The unique brush stroke system and rhythmic combat movements makes the game feel very tactile and, with mastery, quite enjoyable.

Controlling Okami can be frustrating at first, because players must master the rhythm controls of combat as well as the brush stroke mechanic. However, once players learn both it is smooth sailing. Admittedly, some events that require brush stroke drawings can be frustrating due to finicky recognition; one improperly-drawn stroke means redoing an entire sequence. There was initial debate regarding the Playstation 2 version's analog control versus this version's Wii Remote control, but players will ultimately find it more satisfying to use the Wii Remote. Brush strokes are quicker, and use of the Celestial Brush feels a lot more realistic.

Okami is a stunning game experience through and through. It has depth and longevity, as well as beautiful art direction, graphics, and music. The Celestial Brush is both an engaging battle mechanic and a novel puzzle-solving tool. Every facet of Okami is enjoyable, and Wii players that don't experience it are doing themselves a disservice.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
10 10 8 10 10 10
Graphics
10

The game is beautiful, mimicking ancient Japanese art with its cel-shaded style. It looks fantastic in 16:9 480p, and is one of the best-looking Wii games out there.

Sound
10

The musical scores are excellent and sound very authentic. All of the sound effects are fitting and charming.

Control
8

Controlling Okami is tough at first, but as you get the feel of the game it proves to be quite engaging and very fulfilling. Unfortunately, the controls can be finicky at times causing some frustration in things like event sequences.

Gameplay
10

The Zelda-esque gameplay combined with the unique flavor of the title make for a very engaging play experience. Any gamer would be well served by Okami, but Zelda fans should run to the store and grab this if they haven't already.

Lastability
10

The game will easily take you 40 hours to complete, and even longer if you tackle side quests along the way. It never feels boring or repetitive, and its story and RPG elements help things along nicely.

Final
10

Okami is easily one of the best games on Wii and should not be ignored. Its engaging story, art direction, music, and gameplay experience delivers a complete package.

Summary

Pros
  • Beautiful art direction and graphics
  • Engaging story steeped in Japanese Mythology
  • Lovely music and sound
  • Zelda-esque gameplay
Cons
  • Controls can be finicky at times
  • Could use some more varied bosses
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

ShyGuyAugust 21, 2008

A ten...

DAaaMan64August 21, 2008

Wow you REALLY like this game. Glad you had a such a good experience with it Mr. Jack. I personally would have given this game probably an 8.5 and the controls a 6.  But hey whateva

AVAugust 21, 2008

Mr. Jack you making it harder for me to ignore this game. So many great reviews i love zelda games.........argh I really shouldn't buy this game .......gonna break soon......but i got to budget my money.............I hope your happy Mr. Jack .........now i'm conflicted

nickmitchAugust 21, 2008

I was on the fence about getting this game. I knew I wanted it, but I wasn't in a rush to go buy it. Now, it'll be the first game I buy when I get back to school which is tomorrow.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusAugust 21, 2008

I absolutely love this game. I had some initial frustration with the controls as well, but I found as I played it more that my issues had more to do with mastery of them. As stated in the review, once I nailed them down I found them quite enjoyable and a crucial piece of my enjoyment of the title.

I must admit I am a total Zelda whore, so this game appealed to everything I loved about Zelda and made it different enough that it didn't feel like a knock off. As a matter of fact, if Nintendo would have released this as Legend of Zelda: Okami, I wouldn't have even batted an eye. The level of polish on this title is astounding and should be praised to the highest degree.

Also worth mentioning; when I learned that the various sub plots within the game, particularly the first segment, were a near identical presentation of classic Japanese mythology I was blown away. It made me appreciate everything else about the game even more and gave me some insight as to where they were drawing their influence.

brian577August 21, 2008

and to think I just finished this game today after over 40 hours of play time, pity they cut the credits out over some issue with the Clover Studios logo...

BrandoggAugust 21, 2008

Really, a 10 for graphics? It's a direct PS2 port, gfx-wise (aside from the new 16:9 AR)...then again, most PS2 games do look better than Wii games.

That's the sad thing about it - this is a direct port of a PS2 game, and it has better graphics than 95% of the games on the system.

I personally wouldn't this game a ten (I'd probably give it a 9.0), but I can totally see why somebody would give it a ten.  It's the Zelda game I want (i.e. same formula, but mixed up enough to feel fresh and different), but never get.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: Brandogg

Really, a 10 for graphics? It's a direct PS2 port, gfx-wise (aside from the new 16:9 AR)...then again, most PS2 games do look better than Wii games.

Bandogg,

Graphics don't just encompass have much polygons or texture work but art direction would someone say wow more than good texture work. Okami is like a moving Japanese ink portrait.

DAaaMan64August 21, 2008

Quote from: Silks

That's the sad thing about it - this is a direct port of a PS2 game, and it has better graphics than 95% of the games on the system.

LOL come on dude, you know WHY it works right. ART STYLE. You SHOULD KNOW THESE THINGS.  Were you EVER a Nintendo gamer?

Your title should be something like, dirty staff troll. Man I hear 'em say this stuff all the time on the podcast.

Bill AurionAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: Silks

That's the sad thing about it - this is a direct port of a PS2 game, and it has better graphics than 95% of the games on the system.

Okami also happens to have better graphics than 95% of the games on the PS3, too... :cool;

Quote from: Mr.

I must admit I am a total Zelda whore, so this game appealed to everything I loved about Zelda and made it different enough that it didn't feel like a knock off.

You must be my long-lost twin brother!  A truly excellent game, which further depresses me when you realize that this is the ONLY Zelda-ripoff on the market, when there should be more! >=O

DAaaMan64August 21, 2008

Ahahaha, Bill feels about Zelda as I do about Pink Floyd.  More Pink Floyd Rip-offs plz

MarioAugust 21, 2008

An incomplete game gets a 10. I'm getting the PS2 version with credits and boxart in tact, always wanted to see an 11/10 game.

WanderingAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: brian577

and to think I just finished this game today after over 40 hours of play time, pity they cut the credits out over some issue with the Clover Studios logo...

They're allowed to do that? Game makers need to unionize...

DAaaMan64August 21, 2008

Quote from: Wandering

Quote from: brian577

and to think I just finished this game today after over 40 hours of play time, pity they cut the credits out over some issue with the Clover Studios logo...

They're allowed to do that? Game makers need to unionize...

Please don't, I'm trying to infiltrate the industry.  I don't need shit like that.

Quote from: Brandogg

Really, a 10 for graphics? It's a direct PS2 port, gfx-wise (aside from the new 16:9 AR)...then again, most PS2 games do look better than Wii games.

Okami is arguably the finest looking PS2 game ever made.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Quote from: Brandogg

Really, a 10 for graphics? It's a direct PS2 port, gfx-wise (aside from the new 16:9 AR)...then again, most PS2 games do look better than Wii games.

Okami is arguably the finest looking PS2 game ever made.

I disagree, it's arguably one of the finest looking games ever made.

NinGurl69 *hugglesAugust 21, 2008

It's blurrier than Turok 1.

KDR_11kAugust 21, 2008

I hated the music...

PlugabugzAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: NinGurl69

It's blurrier than Turok 1.

THANK YOU!!!!!!! Is Miss Huggles the only person to recognise this?

The blur alone should drop the graphical portion of the review to at least a 7. It's a game-wrecking portion that should be optional. I'm playing in 480p and 16:9 and the blur is so noticeable i get dizzy in minutes and a banging headache by an hour.

GoldenPhoenixAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: Plugabugz

Quote from: NinGurl69

It's blurrier than Turok 1.

THANK YOU!!!!!!! Is Miss Huggles the only person to recognise this?

The blur alone should drop the graphical portion of the review to at least a 7. It's a game-wrecking portion that should be optional. I'm playing in 480p and 16:9 and the blur is so noticeable i get dizzy in minutes and a banging headache by an hour.

It didn't bother me at all, I found the visuals to be more engaging than distracting.

KDR_11kAugust 21, 2008

I can't comment on that since I played Turok on the PC where you can run it at 1280x960 :P

Bill AurionAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: Plugabugz

Quote from: NinGurl69

It's blurrier than Turok 1.

THANK YOU!!!!!!! Is Miss Huggles the only person to recognise this?

The blur alone should drop the graphical portion of the review to at least a 7. It's a game-wrecking portion that should be optional. I'm playing in 480p and 16:9 and the blur is so noticeable i get dizzy in minutes and a banging headache by an hour.

Your eyes must suck then....Or your TVs... =)

DAaaMan64August 21, 2008

Pro's TV is like a 60" crazy big flat panel.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: DAaaMan64 

Pro's TV is like a 60" crazy big flat panel.

I have a 61" TV and I had no problems with it.

DAaaMan64August 21, 2008

I do think the game is not nearly as clear as it could be. The graphics could be much better, while keeping the great style.

KDR_11kAugust 21, 2008

Quote from: Bill

Quote from: Plugabugz

Quote from: NinGurl69

It's blurrier than Turok 1.

THANK YOU!!!!!!! Is Miss Huggles the only person to recognise this?

The blur alone should drop the graphical portion of the review to at least a 7. It's a game-wrecking portion that should be optional. I'm playing in 480p and 16:9 and the blur is so noticeable i get dizzy in minutes and a banging headache by an hour.

Your eyes must suck then....Or your TVs... =)

I'd say the opposite, my TV sucks so I don't notice blur in games :P

I agree, it's blurry on my HD monitor as well, but my Wii signal is just soft like that even though it's on component.  It didn't really bother me, and I think the game still looks great.

Quote from: DAaaMan64 

Your title should be something like, dirty staff troll. Man I hear 'em say this stuff all the time on the podcast.

It's not my fault a lot of Wii games look like ass.  Okami is great, Super Mario Galaxy is superb, Metroid Prime 3 is great, Zelda is great, and there are several other great-looking games on Wii.  But the majority are "meh" to terrible.  And Okami isn't one of them.

AVJanuary 13, 2009

i got it for christmas and I got threw the rest of my backlog and now playing this.

I'm about 3 hours in and I just learned the stroke that re-energizes flowers.

Here is the problem:

So far the combat is boring. Waggle this or that. I just bought the first move set in the dojo and I am less impressed with it. I thought it would make it more diverse, but it just MORE waggle but 4x.  :o :-\

Right now thats my only big grip. I'm sort of getting used to making strokes with the celestial brush, but its not to bad.

I really enjoy the game so far, and I want to try to beat it before school starts on the 20th. I think I can beat it since I have no job right no or school.
However if combat doesn't evolve much I am not sure if I can continue in the game.

I'm soooooooooo not into waggle as the main attack method. It was new in Twilight Princess, remixed well in No More Heroes and now its just feels quaint.

can somebody please just reassure me that battle gets better, because I don't want to avoid battles all together because I hate waggle. If the entire battle system is mindless battle than I'll stop now before I get to invested in the game.

HypotheliciouslyJanuary 13, 2009

Waggle becomes much better later in the game due to the need to time attacks as well as using a diverse array of celestial attacks.

AVJanuary 13, 2009

Quote from: Stogi

Waggle becomes much better later in the game due to the need to time attacks as well as using a diverse array of celestial attacks.

Excellent, if it stayed at the pace it has now I wouldn't be able to play it.

broodwarsJanuary 13, 2009

Meh, personally I thought the sheer repetitiveness of the combat never got better (despite the increased and somewhat random use of the Celestial Brush techniques), and it was one of the main reasons I quit playing the game towards the Game's End.  But if you're finding it irritating to do the timed attacks with the Wiimote waggling, I suggest switching your primary weapon to the Beads.  They're a strain on the wrist, but you get much more responsive results.

KDR_11kJanuary 13, 2009

Quote from: Mr.

So far the combat is boring. Waggle this or that. I just bought the first move set in the dojo and I am less impressed with it. I thought it would make it more diverse, but it just MORE waggle but 4x.  :o :-\

Get a sword, less hits necessary that way. I think the first sword appears much later than the beads and mirror. I used sword main, beads sub for most of the game though I switched to dual swords when I got the technique that increases the damage for that.

I think the combat system was decent but lacked challenge.

DAaaMan64January 13, 2009

Trust me, a lot of weapon problems will fix with a different type of weapon.

AVJanuary 14, 2009

sounds good i'll keep playing . right now the thing that is annoying me is the celestial brush strokes they are all the same. Circle does sun, bomb, flowers bloom, lili pads.

For such an imaginative game i expected more varied use of strokes.

they don't seem to work maybe half the time. I sort of feel "Pac Pix" on DS did a better job of recognizing what I wanted to draw than this game some times.

I understand its better than analog stick, but I much rather use DS stylus. The brush is not as finely tuned as I would of liked either.

Right now I would be 9's game or high 8s for me. No way perfect 10. Innovation is cool and everything but most of it has to work right.

DAaaMan64January 14, 2009

You haven't even unlocked close to all the strokes.

HypotheliciouslyJanuary 14, 2009

I didn't have a problem with the brush. In fact, I got so good at it I could cast 4 different spells back to back without any errors and barely any time lapsing.

KDR_11kJanuary 14, 2009

I guess some people take longer to get used to the fact that circles are only closed when the centers of their lines cross.

broodwarsJanuary 14, 2009

Quote from: DAaaMan64

You haven't even unlocked close to all the strokes.

Indeed.  Have fun learning how to get lightning to register when and where you want it.  Try as I might, I think I maybe got that one to work 2 or 3 times the entire game?

HypotheliciouslyJanuary 14, 2009

Are you serious? You need to do it at least a hundreds times to even finish the game.

I played the PS2 version. I had some difficulties with bomb position during battles, and I agree that having circles for the sun, lilly pads, and cherry blossoms caused some annoying misinterpretation at times.

KDR_11kJanuary 14, 2009

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: DAaaMan64

You haven't even unlocked close to all the strokes.

Indeed.  Have fun learning how to get lightning to register when and where you want it.  Try as I might, I think I maybe got that one to work 2 or 3 times the entire game?

Wasn't lightning just a line from a source of electricity to the target? That was really easy and if you couldn't do it consistently I wonder how you got past the fox boss.

DAaaMan64January 14, 2009

Quote from: TheYoungerPlumber

I played the PS2 version. I had some difficulties with bomb position during battles, and I agree that having circles for the sun, lilly pads, and cherry blossoms caused some annoying misinterpretation at times.

Trust me, I can drop bombs in Okami so fast it's ridiculous. I can draw them with 90% accuracy everytime.

Quote from: KDR_11k

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: DAaaMan64

You haven't even unlocked close to all the strokes.

Indeed.  Have fun learning how to get lightning to register when and where you want it.  Try as I might, I think I maybe got that one to work 2 or 3 times the entire game?

Wasn't lightning just a line from a source of electricity to the target? That was really easy and if you couldn't do it consistently I wonder how you got past the fox boss.

Yes.

Bill AurionJanuary 14, 2009

For me, the only symbol I couldn't get off almost 100% of the time was the snow attack (the * symbol)...

HypotheliciouslyJanuary 14, 2009

Uhh....that's cuz you never had to make that symbol.

broodwarsJanuary 14, 2009

Quote from: KDR_11k

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: DAaaMan64

You haven't even unlocked close to all the strokes.

Indeed.  Have fun learning how to get lightning to register when and where you want it.  Try as I might, I think I maybe got that one to work 2 or 3 times the entire game?

Wasn't lightning just a line from a source of electricity to the target? That was really easy and if you couldn't do it consistently I wonder how you got past the fox boss.

No no, there's a brush stroke where you have to do a lightning-style zigzag to make lightning instantly strike on its own, without having an electrical source nearby.  It's one of those wierd techniques that pops up near the end of the game.

I must have missed the snow one, but I don't remember that one.

Bill AurionJanuary 14, 2009

Quote from: Kashogi

Uhh....that's cuz you never had to make that symbol.

But it was FUN to use!  And it turned people into snowmen!

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Genre
Developer Ready at Dawn
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Okami
Release Mar 25, 2008
PublisherCapcom
RatingTeen
jpn: Okami
Release Oct 15, 2009
PublisherCapcom
RatingAll Ages
eu: Okami
Release Jun 13, 2008
PublisherCapcom
aus: Okami
Release Jun 12, 2008
RatingMature

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