Okami Wii Review
Whilst the PS2 version of Okami got along very well with its host system, with the Wii, Okami has found its soul mate. The Wii remotes pointer function, was made for such games. Clover may long be dead and buried, but by god have they left behind a lasting legacy.
Ported successfully to the Wii by Ready at Dawn Studios, Okami remains just as vividly beautiful now as when it did when it was released on the PS2 a few years back. You control the wolf incarnation of the sun god, Amaterasu, and travel through beautiful and foreboding areas, as you attempt to save the world of Nippon. It bears plenty of similarities with the Zelda series, but like Chris said in his PS2 review, there’s still nothing quite like Okami. It’s inventive with both its lovely visual style and to an extent, its gameplay, but it also has a somewhat comfortable familiarity to it.
Similarly to Zelda, Okami, outside of its smaller, well crafted dungeons has a sizeable world to explore. There are plenty of breathtaking sights to see and explore and as you advance through the game, you’ll pick up new Celestial Brush abilities, allowing you to gain access to previously inaccessible areas, which opens up the world map area for further exploration and makes return trips to dungeons both rewarding and exciting.
The dungeons are as well designed as any you can find in a Zelda game and have you solving some intricate puzzles, battling enemies and ultimately facing off against a boss (many of which are memorable encounters), whose weakness isn’t always readily apparent. Defeating them will result in the dungeon becoming revitalized in an impressive emergence. It’s all enough to even make an arthritis ridden old man feel sprightly once again, and is a delightful payoff for all your hard work.
Combat in Okami isn’t its strongest point, but it’s still a perfectly adequate facet of the game. As Amaterasu, you can claw your enemies, though this isn’t always the most efficient or quickest way to deal with them. This falls to the Celestial Brush, a technique that requires you to draw shapes with your Wii remote, for example drawing a shape of a bomb, will produce, well…a bomb out of thin air. It’s a fresh approach to combat, but can’t hope to compete with the more enjoyable, exploring and puzzle solving aspects of the game.
The Celestial Brush is also utilized outside the fighting. Small areas and trees can be revived and many of the puzzles require the use of it. It functions better with the Wii remote pointer function than it did with the Dual Shock analogue stick, but it’s still not as accurate as I hoped it would be, as the game can be a bit picky of what an acceptable shape is and what’s not. It’s easily the biggest problem of a game with very few real flaws.
Words can’t describe how visually beautiful Okami is. It’s a feast of colour that, at the risk of sounding horrifically clichéd is like a living, breathing painting. Any graphical blemishes it does have do little to affect, what is one of the most visually arresting games there is. It’s cel-shading, but still quite unlike anything out there, and with the inclusion of widescreen and 480p support it’s even been touched up (there’s a joke there somewhere) for this Wii outing. Aurally Okami is also a success, the Eastern style music is a pleasant accompaniment to your adventure and whilst there’s no true voice-acting, the amusing gibberish that characters spout gives the game a great deal of character that voiceovers may not necessarily have managed.
This is easily the definitive version of the modern masterpiece that is Okami. The controls are much more suited to the Wii remotes capabilities, whilst the visuals are even lovelier. Okami and Clover have deservedly received many plaudits as well as a place in gaming history. Fans of Zelda style adventures should live that history now.