Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware

Okami: The Art of the Game
Company: Capcom

A lot has been said in recent months about the notion of games being a form of art. From Roger Ebert to Hideo Kojima, it seems that everyone has an opinion. While I don’t personally have a stance on the issue, I can certainly see both sides of the argument. After all, does anyone really consider 25 to Life a work of art? But, for every 25 to Life there is one like Okami that really does make you feel like there’s something to the "game as art" argument.

Okami is one of the prettiest and best looking games on the PS2. Sure, people seem to say this about just about every game that comes out, but there’s something about Okami’s brush-painted art style that just makes you take notice. Take Rise of the Kasai 's (or Mark of Kri for that matter) story sequences, throw in some Wind Waker-styled effects and you’re in the ball park. Whether it is canvas texture overlays or the washed-out colors, the entire presentation just seems to have a life that few other games have. The presentation even bares an influence on the gameplay itself, bringing it all together in one masterful entity.

Okami’s story is based on Japanese mythology. You are Amaterasu, a she-wolf charged with returning color to a world destroyed by a demon called Orochi. In order to do this, Amaterasu has been given control of the “celestial brush”, a magic paintbrush that allows her to recolor the world. The brush is also one of Okami’s core gameplay mechanics and is used in nearly every facet of the game, from combat to puzzle solving.

Say, for example, you come up against a group of trees that is blocking your way. Pressing the R1 button causes the brush to appear and, with a quick swipe of your brush, you can cut them in half. The brush’s role in combat plays out much the same way. Amaterasu can use normal attacks or instead dizzy them. From here you can bring out the brush and with another quick slash, tear the enemy into two like a piece of paper.

The brush’s abilities don’t end with just cutting objects in half; other puzzle elements will also make use of the brush. Some will require you to “repair” objects by drawing in the missing part while others have you “pushing” objects out of the way. As Amaterasu begins to bring more color to the world she’ll be awarded with new brush abilities.

Games may or may not be art, but Okami would certainly make anyone think twice.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
Related Links:

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.