Distributed by: Capcom
Reviewed by Brain McLaughlin
I have only seven words to describe this game: INTERESTING CONCEPT AND ENTERTAINING, BUT SLIGHTLY ANNOYING.
Itís a story as old as time, an evil, monstrous demon is terrorizing a peaceful land and a brave warrior must defeat it. Except this time, the warrior does not fight the beast alone. A majestic, white wolf named Shiranui, which has the ability to distort reality, appears to aide the warrior, Nagi, in defeating the demon, Orochi. But defeating the beast comes with a price as the wolf sacrifices itself so that the warrior can deliver the final bow to the demon. After that, all seemed well across the land of Nippon (ďJapanĒ), especially in the village of Kamiki; and it was for 100 years, until the great demon, Orochi, appears once again. This time, however, the great warrior, Nagi, and the white wolf, Shiranui, are no longer around to vanquish it (or so we think).
Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, reincarnates herself as the white wolf, Shiranui, (I think - itís unclear whether the white wolf is still Shiranui or is now Amaterasu) and, with the help of a small, bug-like self-proclaimed artist named Issun, begins her quest to defeat Orochi. Besides being able to bite, claw, and pounce on her enemies, the white wolf also has the power to distort reality to her pleasing (which was mentioned earlier) through the use of a brush stroke gesture-system called the Celestial Brush. The game itself has an ukiyo-e, or Japanese woodblock painting, visual style, so it makes sense that the key fighting element would be inspired by painting. When the Celestial Brush is used, a canvas is called forth to be drawn on, which is similar to that of a sumi-e, or East Asian ink and wash, painting canvas. At first, the Celestial Brush only has the power to fix broken things, like bridges, but as the white wolf continues she gains more abilities like cutting through anything or creating obstacles for enemies.
One of the problems I have with Ōkami is with its dialog between characters during gameplay. The game uses nonverbal on-screen text dialog, but instead of the characters being quiet as they converse, they make weird, incomprehensible noises (some high-pitched and some baritone). Itís easy to take at first, but after a while it gets a little annoying. Another problem with the game is that it was developed in Japan, so it was tailored for gamers who have studied brush calligraphy (trust me, itís not stereotypical to say that every Japanese native, young or old, has studied brush calligraphy in school; they have to). So the brush strokes needed to use the Celestial Brush can be quite difficult for those who have not studied brush calligraphy. So, you might have to spend some time getting the brush stroke right in order to get the desired result you want. And while that is happening, Issun is bothering you in his weird, high-pitched voice instructing you how you should make the brush stroke.
All in all, Ōkami for the Wii was entertaining to play, but, unless you are somewhat skilled with brush strokes and have a tolerance for weird noises coming out of charactersí mouths, this game may not be for you.