<div align='center'><img src="http://gbatemp.net/images/wii/778.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <b>Developer:</b> Clover Studio (PS2), Ready at Dawn (Wii port) <b>Publisher:</b> Capcom <b>ESRB Rating:</b> T for Teen <b>Release Date:</b> April 6th, 2006 (Japan, PS2) / April 15th, 2008 (North America, Wii) <b>Platform:</b> PS2, Wii</div> Okami won the hearts of many gamers back in 2006 when it first came out on the PS2. The game hit the console just mere months away from the release of its successor the PS3, garnering less than positive sales, and was likely a factor in the closing of developer Clover Studio. In 2008, the original PS2 game was ported over to Nintendo’s Wii console, boasting a new control system that took full advantage of the Wii Remote’s pointer. Today, nearly five years after the original release of Okami, many of us look back on the title as one of the best games to ever hit a home platform. With just a couple weeks left before the release of the original’s successor Okamiden, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the legacy Okami left behind, and just why it grasps the hearts of many people around the world even to this day. The game is set in Ancient Japan (Nippon), in a time where the Japanese were far from the technologically advanced nation they are today. The plot opens up telling the legend of Orochi, and how a great warrior named Nagi along with a white wolf named Shiranui, defeated an eight-headed serpant, and sealed it away in the Moon Cave. The legend carries forth 100 years to the game’s time setting, where the many descendants of those in the legend now reside in the same village that started the legend a century ago. Someone had managed to free the evil spirit of Orochi from the Moon Cave, and the entire land of Nippon would fall to an evil curse. Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess whom was in the form of Shiranui a century ago, would return to Nippon once again to free the land of evil. Okami’s storyline takes players on a journey across all of Nippon to free the nation of Orochi’s dreaded curse… and much more. But for those whom still haven’t played Okami, I won’t spoil the rest for you. The storyline itself may feel a bit linear, with it being directed the entire way through by Amaterasu’s companion Issun, a Poncle that entitles himself as a ‘wandering artist’ hoping to learn the Celestial Brush techniques. However, the linear factor does not have any effect on the game itself, as the flow of the game’s story keeps players wishing to keep on playing hours upon hours without stopping. Okami will have you hooked with its storyline alone, one thing that hardly any games are capable of accomplishing to this day. You don’t need to expect an absolute serious plot either, Okami eases the severity of certain major events with some humorous dialogue amongst characters, and some hilarious character animations. The story also has its touching moments, such as the cutscene before the final stage of the final boss. It literally almost had me shed a tear, and that has never happened to me in any other video game yet. While the storyline appears to come to a close around eight hours into the game, it is just a deception that opens up the game to an even deeper plot. You’re looking at a game that’ll take 20 to 30 hours to play through once, and even more if you plan to collect everything the game has to offer. Okami takes much inspiration from Japanese mythology. A large chunk of the characters and settings in the game are actually based off of real people and events named in legends passed on throughout the history of Japan. I have never seen any developer put as much effort into crafting such a unique and unrivalled setting quite like Clover Studios did with Okami. This unique experience has not been matched even to this day, five years after the game’s original release. <div align='center'><img src="http://image.gamespotcdn.net/gamespot/images/2008/077/943732_20080318_790screen002.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div> Okami’s gameplay seems to be much inspiration off of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series’ recent entries. We’ve got our exploration that we can do, treasures that we can find, dungeons we must fight our way through, and probably most significantly, the numerous puzzles throughout the game that are sure to test games’ minds when they first play the game. Fights take place in an enclosed arena after encountering an enemy, meaning that Amaterasu would be incapable of fleeing from battle, and must defeat the enemy. Basic weapons, known as Divine Instruments, can be upgraded through purchasing from merchants throughout the game. Throughout the game, you will earn yen (the Japanese currency) and Demon Fangs to purchase new weapons and items, as well as Praise, which is sort of like EXP points for doing additional side-jobs such as feeding animals and blooming trees. There are also hidden items you can find, such as Stray Beads, which if you collect all 100, will unlock a very special tool if you start a new game afterwards. The above doesn’t sound particularly interesting, but that is because I haven’t mentioned the real highlight of the gameplay: the Celestial Brush. The Celestial Brush is the core gameplay component of Okami. The game practically revolves around the Celestial Brush. At the beginning of the game, you are required to collect the thirteen Celestial Brush techniques to defeat the evil spirits that have invaded Nippon. Amaterasu’s old form a hundred years ago once possessed all thirteen techniques, but after her death from battling Orochi, she lost the techniques and passed them on to thirteen other Gods that scattered throughout Nippon. The thirteen Brush Gods, as they are known by the game’s characters, are based off of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac, plus the cat, which in Chinese mythology was excluded from the zodiac due to being tricked by the mouse (which explains the rivalry between cats and mice today). When you find a Brush God, you draw its constellation in its sky, and obtain the technique that goes along with it. By the end of the game, you can use the Brush techniques to manipulate many of the game’s surroundings to discover hidden areas and treasures. Each brush technique is unique, and (almost) all of them are very useful to fighting enemies later on in the game. As many reviewers have stated before me, the game seems to take many inspirations from the Zelda series. The dungeons in the game really show this, as they are filled with enemies to battle, puzzles to solve, and hidden nooks to explore. Clover Studio really mixed in some clever level designs in each of the game’s five (or six?) major dungeons. Apart from that, the rest of the games environment also stands out in its own way, with each major area differing from the previous. <div align='center'><img src="http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/images/02/40/24063_Okami-39_normal.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div> The incredibly unique storyline and gameplay has its effect nearly doubled with another key factor in Okami: the graphical design. To quote YouTube Let’s Player Chuggaaconroy (who is currently playing through Okami by the way), I love the art direction in this game. The entire environment and setting that Okami was built upon appears to be a massive, Japanese painting. Okami is absolutely gorgeous, and there is no denying that. No other game since Okami has been able to match what the developers have done with this title in terms of a unique way to display their project. Words simply cannot describe exactly how unique and beautiful this game looks, both on the original PS2 version and the enhanced Wii version. The effects of the game’s graphical design are echoed by its very own, original soundtrack. Okami takes things above and beyond by bringing in many traditional Asian instruments into its orchestrated soundtrack, creating a refreshing and different twist to the orchestrated soundtracks common in other adventure titles. Many times throughout my first play through Okami had me leaving the game sitting there while I take in the beautiful art direction and listening to its epic original score. We get soothing music in areas like the Dragon Palace, to epic works like in Ryoshima Coast. The folks at the former Clover Studio really outdid themselves with creating this game, and the results really do show in the end result. <div align='center'><img src="http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/images/02/40/24039_Okami-15_normal.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div> The PS2 and Wii versions of the game are practically identical to each other, minus the different control scheme and a few cosmetic differences. The original PS2 game utilized the DualShock controller, and required players to use the analog stick to paint brush strokes. While not really a hassle, the entire mechanic was made a tenfold easier on the Wii with the Wii Remote’s pointer. What would’ve taken five to ten seconds to paint would all of a sudden only take a couple seconds or less. This, however, did come at the sacrifice of using the all-too-common waggle motion controls found in Wii titles. The controls aren’t as responsive as they should’ve been, and I sometimes had issues during battles because Amaterasu couldn’t pull off any combos. The only other difference was that the PS2 version had a more paper-like filter of the game that saw much less presence in the Wii port. This resulted in the Wii getting much more vibrant colours instead of a white-ish tone of the original, though I did prefer the vibrant colours over the original paper touch. The shorter loading times in the Wii port also saw the removal of loading screen minigames, though this can hardly be a complaint considering how amazing the rest of the game is. The one elimination that did bother me was that the game's credits were totally removed in the Wii version of the game. To this day, the experience carefully crafted by the former Clover Studio has yet to be matched by any other developer. It has a storyline that has a firm grip on players that makes them wanting to play more and more, but doesn’t go too far into the serious road without having Issun throw a couple jokes at other characters to lighten up the mood. His obsession with the female characters in the game is especially funny to watch for, but you’ll have to play the game to really take it all in. Okami’s gameplay may seem bland at a quick glance, but it provides enough depth to make it seem less repetitive and more unique with the Celestial Brush. Some may say it’s a bit on the easy side, but I hardly noticed it with just how addictive the game was. And don’t even get me started on the game’s incredible art direction and epic original soundtrack. All in all, Okami is one of the greatest games I have ever seen hit the shelves, and definitely one of my personal all-time favourites. It’s a shame Clover Studios was closed down shortly after the release of Okami, but many of its developers were split into other development teams to share their talents in other projects. I was late on board to play Okami, but I’ll tell you that late is a lot better than never. If you still haven’t played Okami, get to it now. You will not regret it. And it seems like the majority of GBAtemp members agree as well, as the <a href="http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=82514" target="_blank">Okami Wii release</a> has an 100% average rating amongst 1014 voters at the time of this review's writing. <b>Final Verdicts:</b> <b>Gameplay: 9.5</b>/10 - Addictive game from start to finish. Minor controls flaws in the Wii port did take something away here, but after some getting used to, the game worked really well. Creative usage of the Celestial Brush make Okami a very unique game indeed. The game isn't a quick one either, you'll be clocking in around 20 to 30 hours to even finish a quick run through. <b>Storyline: 10</b>/10 - It's already interesting enough to have so much of the game revolving around ancient Japanese mythology. But to mix in a clever sense of humour to lighten the mood while maintaining a serious plot is never easy. It's rare to have such a gripping, and touching, storyline in a video game. <b>Visuals: 10</b>/10 - Do I really need to say anything here? The art direction is AMAZING. The Wii version also has 480p and 16:9 widescreen support. <b>Audio: 10</b>/10 - And to go along with the visuals, Okami throws in an epic soundtrack too that has an oriental touch to it. It doesn't get much better than this. <b>Replay Value: 8.5</b>/10 - I'm very willing to play through this game again if I find the time. Okami is just that good. But if you're just one of those gamers that play the game once and you're done, you won't find much replay value here. But that reward for collecting the Stray Beads sure is interesting... <b>Final Score:</b> <!--sizeo:7--><span style="font-size:36pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->10<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->/10 <b>My Other Reviews:</b> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/t266826-mario-sports-mix-review" target="_blank">Mario Sports Mix (Wii)</a> <a href="http://gbatemp.net/t263356-monopoly-streets-wii-review" target="_blank">MONOPOLY Streets (360/PS3/Wii)</a> CarbonX13's Review Spectrum All my reviews are rated out of 10, with .5 decimal increments. 10 - This game is an absolute masterpiece. It is a shining example as one of, if not the best, within its genre. Little, if any, flaws can be found within the game, and the title excels in every department. Graphics are incredible, the audio is magnificent, and most importantly, the game is real fun to play. There is nothing wrong in the design of the game. 9.0+ - These titles are absolutely incredible, and are definitions of what every game should be like. Games scoring a 9 or above are an absolute blast to play through, and are among the best titles in their respective platforms. Visuals and audio are produced with exceptional quality. 8.5 - Titles ranking here are really close to that mark of 'incredible', but fall just a tad short. Perhaps it was a minor flaw in the design or the choices made in the game's development. Whatever the flaw may be, it shouldn't stop you from getting this game, as you will definitely be missing out on something. 8.0 - Games in this area are really great titles, but aren't necessarily fantastic. Some flaws are shown in the game's final build, but they don't take much out of the overall experience. Definitely worth a playthrough, but don't expect anything like a masterpiece. 7.5 - These games are good. Not great, not mediocre, just good. They may or may not be worth a purchase, depending on your tastes. Some obvious design flaws are present in the game, some that do take away from the experience. Use some caution when approaching these titles, and remember not to expect anything spectacular. 7.0 - Decent quality games land in this area. They may be fun to pull out once in a bit, but they won't last in the long run. Glaring flaws in the development really show in the final outcome, and the overall experience will be varied. Approach with caution. 6.0 to 6.5 - These games are OK, but they aren't very enjoyable. It will be overshadowed by many flaws within the final build that ruin the experience. 5.0 to 5.5 - Only buy these games if they're in your 'I absolutely have to own every one of this series' list, otherwise, it's better to steer clear of these ones. 3.0 to 4.5 - I'd question your need to get this game. 1.0 to 2.5 - The game hardly works at all; the efforts of the developers are questionable. 0 and 0.5 - The worst of the worst. These games are an embarrassment to gaming and all of mankind. Burn the cartridge, snap the disc, do anything to get rid of these games. They shouldn't exist.