Saturday, October 07, 2006


So... I got and have been playing Okami for the PS2. Let me tell you, there is a reasonable chance that this is the best video game ever made.

These are not words one can throw around flippantly in a world where Spyro 3 exists, such as, for example, this one. But throw around I shall! Because dammit, Okami is fabulous beyond reckoning. For those unaware of the general plot, a fantasy version of feudal Japan is overrun with monsters, and you are a god, taken form of a wolf, to destroy the chief monster, using the power of calligraphy.

No, that last part is accurate. You have weapons in the form of your mighty wolf jaws and even magical swords and whips and whatnot you weild with some sort of god power, but your main weapon in monster battling, and your constant companion during the platforming, is the celestial brush. As the game goes on, you acquire brush techniques that do all kinds of things: slash, explode, control fire, slow time, even turn night into day and vice versa (which doesn't help with the battling much but does have effect on the quests available and the way people and things interact with you). This is the core of the gameplay, and it's perfect! You hold down a button, and the screen turns to parchment, and you use the analog stick to draw what you want. The drawings are simple, intuative, and hard to screw up. You use the same simple motions, but they are context-sensitive... draw a circle and it can either bring out the sun, make a tree bloom, or create a lily pad, depending on where you're drawing it. Add a line to the top of the circle, though, and it turns into a bomb, wherever it is. It would have been so easy to make the process ridiculously complex or overly sensitive (see: Black and White), but instead it's elegant and damn pretty as well. The whole game is damn pretty, actually, as you destroy demons to revivify dead landscapes and make flowers bloom and OH with the prettiness. And fun gameplay. And humor (the characters are all patently rediculous; this is not a game that takes itself seriously. From the inch-high man riding your back to the well-stacked high priestess to the inexplicably french master swordsman, all manner of strangeness). And god powers. And LENGTH (thirty hours of gameplay and I've only got ten of the 13 powers)! Not just straight-up length, based on merciless item collection or vague sandboxery, but CONTENT-RICH length.

Also, you can feed monkeys. And you get rewarded for it. Seriously, there is a monkey-feeding aspect to the game that is entirely optional. You walk up to a monkey, give it a sack of food, and little hearts start appearing over its head. Buy this game!


Anonymous AAMF said...

I want this game but I don't think I would have time to play it. I've wanted this game since I first heard of it.

10/09/2006 9:31 PM  

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