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stephenw32768


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Cherry blossom everywhere
penrose orange
stephenw32768
I'm only a few hours in, but so far, Ōkami is astonishingly good. This goodness is a combination of the visuals, sound, and just how well it plays.

The graphics are just magnificent, apparently inspired by traditional Japanese artwork. The thick black outlines around everything give the graphics a hand-drawn quality. The texture-like pattern in the sky (which remains static as the scenery moves on top of it) makes the graphics look painted-on. The engine seems to be a combination of cel-shaded 3D (for Ōkami/Amaterasu herself, for example) and 2D sprites (for fixed objects such as trees which look the same from all directions). The explosion of colour which occurs when Ōkami/Amaterasu restores life to a barren patch of landscape is suitably satisfying.

The soundtrack is unmistakably Eastern in flavour (bamboo pipes and damped-sounding strings all over the place), and sounds generally very "full". While none of the tunes are particularly memorable (not yet, anyway; plus, it takes a lot of listens for my brain to absorb something non-earwormy. My memory for music is not the greatest), they're all pleasant to listen to, and just sound different from the norm. The musical sting that occurs when unearthing a secret makes me think of the Zelda one, which was probably the intention.

The Celestial Brush isn't particularly revolutionary — it's just an example of a gestural interface. Howeber, it's surprisingly well done. It manages to interpret my ludicrous scribbles as the intended gestures most of the time. I imagine that the Wii version of the game feels completely intuitive.

The game just handles so nicely. Even when running at full pelt, Ōkami/Amaterasu is easy to control. The platform jumping bits aren't too fiddly (though I keep expecting a Zelda-like automatic jump). The battles are a bit button-mashy, but I haven't lost one (or, indeed, taken much damage) yet. It's so obviously a Zelda clone, yet is polished enough and different enough not to feel like a Zelda rip-off.

Issun appears to be channelling Tatl.


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(Deleted comment)
Not to spoil things for you, but in true Clover Studios tradition, once you've completed it you'll get a second play-through with the option of altering your character

Oooh, that sounds good. I'm thinking that this year might be mostly a replaying-old-games year: there's not much available for the PS2 any more, and I won't be upgrading my hardware any time soon having just dropped a load of money on a new TV. I haven't ruled out picking up a DS in the second half of the year though.

Have you played the other (two) Clover games?

Nope; I hadn't even heard of them until I started Ōkami.

I'll be talking about them and Okami as a guest on a gaming podcast pretty soon, I'll link you to it!

Please do! Warn me if there are spoilers, though.

-Stephen

(Deleted comment)
I had a quick look on Wikipedia; I'm not sure that their other games would be my sort of thing, really.

-Stephen

I think you'd appreciate the humour in Viewtiful Joe, but it's a hard game. Even by my standards.

The games they're now doing under their new name 'Seeds Inc' I'm fairly sure won't appeal. Mad World is an incredibly gory black and white game, and Bayonetta is just plain odd (the heroine wears a catsuit that's made out of her own magic hair, has special moves involving said hair which causes her to be naked while they play out, and carries four pistols called Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. That's one in each hand and the others acting as the heels of her stiletto shoes. Japan - never knowingly sane).

Never did get around to finishing this, and as my copy is a US PS2 one and the PS2 is packed away I probably never will now.

Off the top of your head, can you think of any other games that have a "travelling companion who forms part of the game mechanics" character? Zelda has Navi and Tatl; Ōkami has Issun. If there are a few more, perhaps there should be an entry on TV Tropes :-)

-Stephen

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