Ah, my true heart, the reason I play video games, the apple of my eye . . . no, not Brad, Okami!
I don’t say that about a lot of games, but this is a game that I think everyone should experience fully. For those of you who did not play through the WHOLE game, there really is no reason for you to judge it. Games like Twilight Princess don’t have an amazing beginning that leaves you hooked. What hooks the player is the history they have with the game. Okami just doesn’t have that same history, unlike Twilight Princess though, this game is a gem. It’s a game that I think every gamer should play ALL the way through.
I tried talking to someone about Okami, they asked for a brief description, I said “Oh you’re a wolf, and you have this weird buglike person on your shoulder who talks to you . . . ”
They interrupted me and said “So Twilight Princess” and proceeded to write the game off.
I was offended. Everyone knows my intense love for Zelda and all that it entails, but I felt it was an insult to Okami to place it with Twilight Princess. This game truly stands on it’s own. It is gaming in it’s most purest form.
Okay, not too pure. The buglike guy that sits on your shoulder is a bit of a pervert, and there are a few jokes in there that are a bit lewd. The GAMEPLAY is pure though, and the art is beautiful.
I can tell you that I was standing in GameStop looking through their videogames, and I’d pulled Final Fantasy II off the shelf (DS) and was trying to figure out if I wanted to purchase it. Brad approached me with Okami and showed off the cover. I was skeptical to say the least, the cover didn’t look too interesting, and the scenes that I saw on the back were pretty, but pretty doesn’t make a game.
“You should get this.”
“You can review it. It’s supposed to be a beautiful game, and it won an award.”
“Then why have I never heard of it?”
“I just think you should get it.”
I stared at Brad for a minute, going back and forth from my childhood of Final Fantasy and this strange videogame with a white wolf and Japanese writing. I sighed and put Final Fantasy back on the shelf and told Brad that if the videogame ended up horrible he owed me.
Yeah guys, I owe him.
The art in the game is absolutely flawless. I never skipped a cut scene, ever, even the repeated ones, they were that beautiful. If it weren’t for my eagerness to get through the game I probably would have watched the introduction over and over again.
I know the reasoning in Twilight Princess for adding Midna was because they couldn’t get the wolf to look quite right from behind. The design for the wolf in Okami, was perfect. There are even a few parts of the game where you get a 2d platformer look at the wolf, beautiful.
I will admit the game started off a bit slow, but by the end I realized I’d become more engrossed in this game then people do in intense movies. I felt every single character, I laughed, I cried, I yelled, the game truly connects with the player, if the player will let it. There are so many different facets to the games structure. For instance, Brad walked in on me while I was feeding a few cats. In the video games.
Amaterasu, the wolf, can purchase food from vendors and actually feed animals in the game. This will get you “praise” which allows you to power up. There are many other ways you can get praise, feeding the animals just happened to be one of my favorites. Brad teased me for a while telling me I only liked the game because I got to feed animals.
I LIKE ANIMALS!!! Geez . . .
This game is also perfect to get the full experience of using the Wiimote. This game will make you sit up and concentrate on keeping your hand perfectly steady so you can perfect your celestial brushstroke. The celestial brush is something that Amaterasu uses throughout the game to do . . . well . . . anything! You gather them along the way, there are 13 in all, and there are a few you can actually power up too (not with praise, you have to find the power ups). I thought all of the brushstrokes were going to be stereotypical you know . . . fire, wind, water . . . HEART, GO PLANET! (I’m missing earth, my bad). There were a few that kind of shocked me. It was interesting to go through the game and have the “wtf” moments, “I know there is something here, but I have no idea what to do . . . ” Then a brushstroke comes and it’s the big “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH okay” moment (I love those, makes me feel less incompetent). You continuously use all the brushstrokes throughout the game, I can’t tell you how many times I’d be stuck in a place and then I’d realize “Oh yeah, the first brushstroke, I remember now.” The game goes back to the beginning a lot and you have to keep your memory sharp on things that you previously did.
Not to mention there wasn’t a lot of coverage over this game so everything that happened was unexpected for me.
The boss fights were excellent. The use of the celestial brush allowed them to be truly unique. It’s so rare to get those moments of frustration where you just get so ANGRY at everything going on. It’s ALL about timing and brush skill. It’s crazy!
The last boss fight was truly memorable. Mostly because I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I will tell you that if you play this game you WILL go into the boss fight cocky and then you will proceed to have the very soul of that cockiness ripped out of you and thrown across the room. I’M NOT KIDDING!
What I truly truly loved about this game was the character dynamic. Amaterasu (the wolf) never speaks, but has so much personality! I love dogs and I’ve always had at least one in my life so I really appreciated how accurate they were in using “dog language” to express what Amaterasu was thinking. I laughed a lot watching her. It’s rare to find a game where you actually connect with every single character. I absolutely hated that little guy, Issun, that sat on my shoulder, I grew to absolutely love him.
I told all of you I cried at the end of the game . . . I did. In fact when everything started getting intense I all but banished Brad from the room. It felt like MY moment and I wanted to have it. Poor Brad was really confused, but he hadn’t played the game yet so he wasn’t too offended. This game has an ending that I wouldn’t spoil for anyone. It’s too perfect (although it has it’s one wtf? moment).
To put it all in perspective without giving everything away. This game is absolutely beautiful to look at, it’s amazing to play (once you master everything), it’s full of crazy moments, you have tons of “WHAT just happened??” moments (which occasionally you share with the characters), ALL of the characters are full of personality, the cut scenes don’t disappoint, you will laugh, you will cry, and when you finish this game a part of you will have that rare feeling of being absolutely fulfilled.
When I beat this game I sat on the couch for I think fifteen minutes and just stared at the TV screen. It wasn’t a “That’s it!?”. It was that feeling that you get when you have completed something that actually feels like it has some meaning (crazy huh?)
I’d play this game through again. Honestly, I’ll probably do it soon . . . well not too soon because I think I have been promising at least 5 different people to lend it to them because THEY HAVE TO PLAY IT.
Oh and Brad said to mention that I was so enamored with the game that it actually began to interfere with wedding planning. My mom had to sit me down and tell me to put the Wii away until after the wedding, I was that addicted. So if any of you were wondering WHY it took me so long to beat it, it’s because I love my mom and she was right. 😉
P.S. This is the cutest thing ever . . .