Okami is “wolf” in Japanese. You play the white wolf, embodiment of an ancient Goddess from the Shinto belief system: Amaterasu. Your legendary foe has gained power and threatens all life. Your purpose, of course, is to save the world.
This magnificent game appeared on PS2 and the Nintendo Wii, winning many awards and acclaim for its beautiful artistic style and unusual gameplay. Its recent HD update for the PS3 was well deserved.
Read on for my review, game info and videos, and see why this is a game I believe every gamer should try.
My Okami review, as a parent, and as a gamer:
In the Wii edition of Okami, your weapon is your Celestial brush, and your fighting style is using the Wii-mote to create your brush strokes. My experience was that you needed a steady, practiced hand for success. Anything less would lead to frustration. It did get easier with practice.
Rather than experience points, you gain praise. Praise is earned not only through helping villagers with quests, but also in restoring blighted land, causing trees to bloom, and feeding animals. Take a time out from the fighting and restore the land or just sit and feed some wildlife for a while. The spirituality and peacefulness of this makes for a very relaxing mood, overall.
You can spend this earned praise on expanding your lifebar, or maximum ink level, among others.
The violence was completely unrealistic and nothing I worry about my young children seeing. You either spin one of your weapons, such as the sun mandala that is on your back at the beginning, to hit the enemy, or you use your brush stroke abilities. Neither produces blood or wounds. As you defeat each enemy, their paper-doll-like model slices in half and turns to flowers.
There is some suggestive content. Your little bug-sized sidekick, who is greatly offended at being called a bug, first appears creating trouble by crawling around in a tree sprite’s robe, as she twitches and wriggles, showing a lot of cleavage, trying to get him out. There are suggestive comments, as well, but my beginning readers and non-readers had no way of knowing anything about those.
I love the spirituality, the beauty, and the atmosphere. The game feels like such a peaceful escape. But it doesn’t take itself terribly seriously. The writing is outright funny at times, and, throughout, the buggy little side-kick refers to this ancient goddess as “Ammy” and “furball.”
From time to time a unique game comes along that is just a wonderful experience to play. Often they’re hidden gems, drawing a small but dedicated fan base while the mainstream gamers pass them by. This is one.
Rated T for Teen for Crude Humor, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Blood and Gore, Fantasy Violence.
Here are some free resources if you pick it up: