I haven’t been sinking as much time into gaming as I used to thanks to my new obsession in my life, namely C of course, but the one game I have done the effort with and put the (rather enjoyable) hours into is Okami.
Okami comes from Clover Studio, a now defunct branch of Capcom who were also behind the smash Viewtiful Joe and God Hand games. Okami can probably be described as the most stylishly beautiful action/adventure games of all time. The game puts you in the role of Amaterasu, a god bound to the form of a wolf. Armed with its Celestial Brush, Ammy sets off on an adventure to reclaim his magical brush powers and to defeat the evil Orochi whose power is threatening all of Japan.
A number of things set Okami apart from similar genre titles, but the most noticeable of all has to be the graphics. The game designers have pushed the graphical envelope and stepped back from realism, instead choosing to delve into the beautiful full-bodied calligraphy line sketches, leaving you in a world that is full of rich vibrant colour and artistic flair. This game oozes artistic style.
The story is a richly woven tale with a high degree of humour thrown in and to be honest, it grabs hold of you charms you into submission, shakes you about and before you know it youve lost 20 hours of your life and you only a third into the game. The gameplay is that of a normal action title with one or two RPG elements thrown into it, but what sets it apart from other titles is the Celestial Brush system. Basically the when the brush system is activated, the game pauses and a drawing tablet emerges which allows you to directly interact with your surroundings/enemies. By drawing a line you can slash things, by drawing a circle you can make plants bloom or even make the sun shine. You can turn day into night, you can move water from place to place and you can even use fire as a tool. Annoying enemies in the sky, simply draw a curl and see them blow away.
Of course being a wolf, physical combat would rely solely on claws and teeth, but luckily Ammy has the assistance of some divine attack mirrors, each with their own offensive and defensive capabilities. Always handy when you run out of drawing ink!
In terms of difficulty, I must say that the designers have gone to great lengths to make this a very user friendly game, always leaving more than enough assistance to point you in the right direction and leaving the combat just short of being difficult. It is very difficult to die and even more difficult to get lost. This means that you are forever progressing in the game, and that leads to literally the time flying by as you play.
To be honest, this is one of the most feel good, enjoyable action/adventure titles I have ever picked up and you really will be missing out if you give Okami a skip.