Okami • Page 2

A new dawn for the Sun God.

The Wii also makes Okami a little prettier, displaying it in proper widescreen in 480p. Were this any other game in the entire world, I'd be struggling to even pretend to care, but because Okami is such a visual game, it really makes a difference. On a large telly, the PS2 version's colours all ran together a bit - on the Wii, things are that bit sharper and more impressive, and it still retains all the charm of the ink-on-paper watercolour style that makes it so striking.

The danger with Okami is that people will be so busy looking at how pretty it is, they'll fail to appreciate just how brilliant it is underneath as well. Okami is an astounding videogame. Its world is living and organic, infused with ideas of mythology and natural beauty and influenced by several areas of the Japanese aesthetic, from sumi-e to architecture to religious and ritual tradition, as well as by other games as diverse as Zelda and Devil May Cry. It might echo Zelda in its structure - though its execution is entirely its own - but Okami also alludes to other Capcom classics in its sense of style; the incredible boss fights and accompanying cut-scenes call Viewtiful Joe and even Devil May Cry to mind.

The Wii controls are not, disappointingly, as well-integrated in combat as they are for the Celestial Brush. Attacks are executed with a sharp flick of the wrist, but must be timed quite precisely in order to perform a combo - waving the remote back and forth just doesn't work, and, though it's good in a way that you can't just flail your way arbitrarily through combat, the attack timing for some of the weapons (the Tsumugari in particular) is a bit finicky, and the game is occasionally picky about recognising your gestures. It works, but it's awkward until you figure out the timing.

The bosses are spectacular, and call for inventive Celestial Brushwork

Thankfully this is nothing game-breaking. Combat was never the salient element of Okami, and because fights are never particularly difficult, these minor control issues never cause unnecessary death or any genuine frustration. Overall, Okami benefits far more from the Celestial Brush control and considerable visual improvement that the Wii affords it than it suffers from slightly worsened combat. The game may not be the Wii's own, but Okami benefits greatly from the visual and control improvements that Ready at Dawn has made, and hopefully, this re-release will give it a second chance to reach the audience that it deserves. Okami should not be a little-known classic. It is an item of culture, informed by thousands of years of Japanese art and mythology and fashioned into perhaps the most thoroughly beautiful thing that gaming has to offer.

During the eighteen months since Okami's original release, nothing else has turned up that makes us admire it any less - not even Nintendo's own Twilight Princess comes close to the astonishing cohesion of form and content, style and substance, that makes Okami so extraordinary. It's as well-designed as Zelda, as involving as Final Fantasy, and as beautiful as anything you've ever seen; it belongs with the best of the Zelda series at the very apex of its genre.

10 /10

Okami is due out on Wii in Europe on 13th June.

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About the author

Keza MacDonald

Keza MacDonald


Keza is the Guardian's video games editor. Previously she has been the UK editor for Kotaku and IGN, and a Eurogamer contributor.


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