This is going to be the very first article in a series of them, where I talk about games I feel just did not get enough love. I will probably be doing a video series as well, but to kick things off I will be talking about one of my favourite titles on the PS2 – Okami.
As you can undoubtedly see in the screenshot above, Okami is a truly gorgeous game. It has a unique graphic style which is based on the Japanese art style sumi-e. There’s no other game that looks like this, (other than the spin off that came out for the DS – Okamiden). Everything aesthetic about this game just oozes uniqueness and goes so utterly and completely with the story and characters – which I will of course discuss later.
The aesthetic of the game just makes you want to explore, explore, explore which goes hand in hand with the gameplay and the game’s 40+ hour length.
The sound and music of this title is also executed brilliantly, it again goes so well with the entire setting of the game and is some truly stunning music that I can’t help but love. I rank the Okami soundtrack as one of the best game soundtracks ever made, right up there will monoliths such as Silent Hill 2. It is beautifully composed using traditional Japanese instruments and really gives off the exact vibe you would expect from such music. However, don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself below.
Alright, enough fangirling, let’s get down to the meat of the game, which is of course, gameplay and story. The gameplay itself has a rather unique mechanic in the form of Okami Amaterasu’s (that would be the main character) Celestial Brush, which is a brush which can conjure such things as wind, fire, lilypads and lightning (to name but a few) into the game world. The brush controls do take a little getting used to, especially when drawing a circle and things like that, but once you have the hang of it it’s absolutely fine. I wouldn’t say that it takes particularly long for that to happen either. Okami will unlock different Brush Techniques as you go through the game (in fact, that is one of the biggest plot points in the game) so you will have plenty of time to accustomed to each Technique. Combat wise Okami controls just fine, and you can of course bring your Brush Techniques into play during battle, although combat can be a little on the easy side. You can level up your weapon and sub weapon, as well as increasing the amount of life, ink (which is of course used by the Brush Techniques) you have, as well as how much money you can carry. This is done with Praise, which can be gotten in various ways. The most effective way is by using your Brush Techniques to restore nature and any parts of the game world that have been destroyed.
As I mentioned earlier, Okami is no flash in the pan. On my first playthrough, it took me about 45(ish) hours to complete, and that was without some of the side quests. So while the combat may be a little on the easy side, you won’t be left wanting. The gorgeous and interesting world with which you are presented is just begging to be explored, and the game will reward you for doing so. There are a few extra Brush Techniques you can unlock (these are not required to complete the game, and are more like “add-ons” for your existing Techniques), as well as extra missions that will earn you Praise. The characters are also interesting enough that you actually care about fighting for them, and even though there is no “speech” to be exact, the personalities of each character still shines through. The developers, Clover Studios, really created a original and amazing title that will live in my heart as one of the best PS2 titles ever released, and no modern title has really done what this did since. It is a real shame that this did not sell well on release, I feel like this deserved so much more appreciation than it actually got and anyone who is into action adventure games should without a doubt check it out.