Review: Okami Wii Edition
Okami is more than just a game at this point, it's highly acclaimed entity. So what happens when you port it to Nintendo's Wii?
- Worth The Time?Of course
- Things LovedThere is so much to do, it's mind-boggling. The visual style and art direction is incredible.
- Things HatedDespite it greatness, Okami's controls and gameplay are dated.
- RecommendationDo not hesitate, get this now.
- Name: Okami
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: Wii
- Developer: Ready at Dawn
- Publisher: Capcom
- Price: R550
- Reviewed On: Wii
Set in an unspecified period of classical Japanese history, Okami combines several Japanese myths, legends and folklore to tell the story of how the land was saved from darkness by the Shinto sun goddess, named Amaterasu, who has taken the form of a white wolf. The game begins with a flashback to events 100 years prior to the game’s present, and describes how Shiranui, a pure white wolf, and Nagi, a swordsman, together fought the eight-headed demon Orochi to save Kamiki village and the maiden Nami, Nagi’s beloved.
Shiranui and Nagi are unable to defeat Orochi but manage to seal the demon away. In the game’s present, a stranger accidentally breaks Orochi’s seal, and the demon escapes and curses the lands, sapping the life from every living thing. Sakuya, the wood sprite and guardian of Kamiki village, calls forth Amaterasu, the sun goddess and reincarnation of the white wolf Shiranui, and pleads with her to remove the curse that covers the land. Accompanied by the inch-high artist Issun, Amaterasu sets out to restore the former beauty of Nippon.
Okami is an immersive story driven experience, it manages to take ancient Japanese mythology and mix it with historical facts and locations combining them into a well told story of epic proportions. The story is the heart of Okami. And it offers the same level of epic story telling as The Legend of Zelda series with a dash of eastern mythology thrown in for good measure. If you don’t like a deep involving drawn out story telling experience in your games, then Okami might not be for you. That being said, if you enjoy Japanese mythology, then you will most certainly relish the story telling experience offered by Okami.
But what makes Okami stand out as something a bit different from the usual console game out there, is how you master the 15 Celestial brush techniques using the Wiimote and Nunchuck. As your success hinges on your mastery of those 15 Brushes. On a basic level it gives you the ability to kill off enemies and deal with environmental puzzles by drawing on the screen using the celestial brush. To begin with you will learn the basics like sunrise. Which allows you to turn night into day, by drawing a circle shape in the sky.
And then there is rejuvenation, which lets you mend broken things like bridges. But soon enough you gain more fundamental techniques like power slash, which helps you cleave rocks and trees in half. This also gives you a more powerful attack option during combat than just your normal attacks. Many reviewers have slated the Wii control system as being slow and unresponsive when compared to the PS2 version. But I found this to be very untrue why may you ask?, well you have to find the right speed at which to do a power slash.
To slow and you end up coating the enemy in ink, to fast and nothing happens. This adds a bit of realism to the game, even if occasionally your strokes won’t be good enough to create the desired object, practice makes perfect. Still this mechanism works much better than on the PS2. And personally I think the Wii control system has added so much more to Okami and enhances the gameplay experience. And it goes to show you that porting a old title to a new system can add a new gaming experience to a already old game.
Right from the start you’re going to notice the unique art direction that Okami takes. And although Okami is almost 4 years old and isn’t pushing any new boundaries in terms of photo realistic graphics the extreme amounts of color and cel shading used, offers a unique gaming experience for Nintendo Wii owners. A noticeable difference from the original PS2 version of the game, is the more intense colors which includes deeper blacks and richer greens. Check out this comparison video here.
Another difference you might only notice if you were the owner of the PS2 version is the filter which makes the world of Okami look as if it was being played on a really old piece of parchment paper. This cosmetic effect is missing from the Nintendo Wii version, some people have voiced there disappointment at this. But personal I feel that the more vibrant colours greatly enhance the Okami experience as a whole. The filter is now only really noticeable during certain cut-scenes in the game.
Nippon is a beautiful land, bought to life in rich vibrant colors but not all the locations are based off ancient Japan. There is touches from the western world which including Arctic caverns, lush green fields, a warm tropical beach and a bustling capital city. Normally the story is the main concern for me when playing a game, but the vibrant colors and rich environments almost overshadows the deep and involving story of Okami.
This is also part of what makes Okami such a brilliant game is its superb musical score filled with traditional Japanese music using classical Japanese musical instruments. It perfectly matches both the game’s art style and its theme, after playing for the first time I had to go out and find the 5 disk OST set by all means, because it is just that damn good.
The audio is similarly excellent, with good solid sound effects and environmental sounds. Though it would have been nice to have a full voice over cast for all the characters in the game, as the moonspeak voices can become a bit annoying at times. But that would be me just nitpicking on inconsequential stuff as it does not distract from the overall experience of the game itself.
It is beyond difficult for me to express in words just how much there is to do and experience in Okami. I am also having a hard time to try and describe the way it makes you feel when playing Okami. The closets thing I can get to explaining the gaming experience that is Okami is a Zen like experience.The story, music and graphics comes together perfectly which makes for a surreal gaming experience that really does manage to touch you at times.
If you are already the owner of the PS2 version but you are looking for a all new gaming experience with the Wiimote and Nunchuck, then I can highly recommend buying it and replaying it on the Wii. If you haven’t played the game before then I can recommend it even more, due to the improved visuals and unique gameplay experience offered by Okami and the Wii console. Okami is a unique gaming experience you wont find anywhere else, and a very memorable game you wont soon forget.
- Special Side Note:
There has been a lot of rumors and discussion surrounding the removal of the final credits movie from the Wii version of Okami. Some people even commented on the fact that it takes away from completing the game, but that just a load of bullshit to be honest. But having said that there was 3 factors that you have to consider when discussing the removal of the final credits from Okami:
- 1. Ready at Dawn reported that the original game assets given to them from Capcom Japan were incomplete, and even after requesting old hard drives and computers to recover more assets, Ready at Dawn were still required to recreate some from scratch which included some of the credits.
- 2. A Capcom representative noted that the credits, a pre-rendered movie, had the Clover Studios logo within it, and they had â€œno legal right to use the Clover logo in a game they were not involved with directly. Since they also lacked the source to the credits, they opted to remove them entirely from the game
- 3. Ready at Dawn’s co-founder Didier Malenfant stated that the Wii version of ÅŒkami took up much more space on the game media than the PlayStation 2 version, and that the movie was cut in order to fit everything on a single game disk.