Monday, 15 October 2012

Induction Assignment : Okami Review

Induction Assignment: Okami Game Review

(There were supposed to be pictures with this but sadly my laptop failed to complete this :(   )
History of Okami and the Game Team

Okami was first released into the United Sates and Japan on Play Station 2 format in 2006 by Capcom, later releasing the game in Europe a year later.  The producer Atsushi Inaba created Okami to give the public a view of some Japanese culture, beliefs and artwork. In doing so he hoped it would gain more of a public attention than other games which were on the market, such as the Spyro The Dragon games. He’s also famous for other games:  Viewtiful Joe and God Hand. Its director is Hideki Kamiya who’s also employed by Capcom and the developer Clover Studios, who are also responsible for the release of Okami. Kamiya designed both Resident Evil games and Devil May Cry. He continues to work with Clover Studios who is now known as Platinum Games.

As you can see here, there was a massive difference between the two formats in graphics. Even though the story is still considered to be one of the best ‘grippers’ the wii/ Play Station 3 version can and does steal the target audience’ attention.
However Clover Studios was shut down, not long before the Wii platform release which offered the same storyline as the Play Station 2 version, yet the graphics were altered and made very clear to the gamer.  Still the Wii format of Okami ws developed and produced by Ready At Dawn, Tose and once again Capcom, releasing the game in 2008 for America and Europe and 2009 for Japan. This game’s distrubutor is Activision (an American Company) who’s very well known through other games like Spyro The Dragon, Guitar Hero Series and Call Of Duty. It’s said a Play Station 3 format is soon to be released later in 2012, last year Capcom brought out a sequel to this wonderful game known as Okamiden which is supposed to be a ‘chibi’ and next generation version of the main characters.

This was released in September 2010 in Japan and in March 2011

for America and Europe on DS format.



The Japanese DS design for Okamiden, released on 30th September 2010.
Genre of Okami and Its Competitors

The game itself is believed to be aimed at people wanting to know or follow the Japanese customs in life or admire cultural art rather than a manga/ anime style. A lot of people who’s into fantasy, art of any kind, nature enthusiasts or even ‘wolf’ admirers play this game also. Genres are mainly fantasy, combat and problem solving. The rating (PEGI) is counted as a 12+ or ‘T’ (ESRB) for:

·         Blood and Gore

·         Crude Humour

·         Fantasy Violence

·         Suggestive Themes

·         Use of Alcohol and Tobacco

Even though this game is rated for Teens or 12+, younger audiences play this as it’s become the crossing from ‘family-type’ games (Mario) to older or more violent one (Resident Evil or Assassins Creed)

During this time a lot of Playstation 2 games were being released daily, increasing the difficulty to attract people and tempt them into buying Okami. A lot of the games were sequels of previous one, manga/anime, films or created based from the public’s wants in the target audience age groups. Some of these are:

Okami battling his nemesis, Orochi, who swears to bring destruction, pain and misery to the Earth
Hack Series

ü  Astro Boy

ü  Bleach

ü  Dance Dance Revolution Series

ü  Final Fantasy Series

ü  FIFA Series

ü  Kingdom Heart Series

ü  Pokemon

ü  Resident Evil

ü  South Park

ü  Spyro The Dragon

ü  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

ü  Xiaolian Showdown

ü  Zombie Hunters

Most of these games were produced and distributed by other companies like Atari, Tamsoft, Konami, Bottlerocket, Comedy Central, Sega, Square Einx , Matrix, Sierra and many more alike.

 Okami's Gameplay

The gamer controls the main protagonist (Okami) through an ‘olden’ and whimsical version of Japan which is shown through various types of watercoloured, woodcut and ink-illustrated art also known as ‘Sumi-e’ style and other styles that were created by China during the Tang Dynasty, giving off an authentic feel to the game making it more personal and realistic (in a way) to the gamer.

Some of the games mentioned above, that were released (or its previous sequels) in 2006
Another main character that’s involved throughout the plot is a tiny person, who proclaims he’s an artist and has an eye for women. Issun, as he’s called, rides with Okami dropping hints of where to go and what to do, to the person playing the game. This allows the gamer to explore different parts of Okami’s world, fighting against evil using a variety of ways to combat. This can include weapons motivated by the Imperial Regalia of Japan. These are:

Ø  The Reflector

Ø  The Rosaries

Ø  The Glaive

During fighting stages, the gamer is on a timer that asses how well the person has fought the enemies. This also follows on how much Okami has been wounded, skills used during the battle and the dependency on your Celestial Brush which will be mentioned later. At the end of the fight with numerous and different foes, a screen will appear showing how well you’ve done in the vision of a Sakura tree’s (Cherry tree) growth. A full blossomed tree being exceptionally brilliant and a seedling being poor, going on how well you’ve competed depends on how much money and ink replacements you can achieve once the enemy’s dead. Sometimes the opponent drops valuable objects during the skirmish; this can be later used upon a market person who happily allows people to trade their precious relics and pottery for other useful objects. This can be holy bones to keep Okami alive, mermaid coins to transport the player from one place to another, bags of food to feed animals gaining praise or Exorcism Slips that can harm the opposition tenfold.


Okami feeding a fox (animals are found in most places during the game) a fox can be fed with a meat or fish bag. Other bags of food are herbs and seeds.
The greatest gimmick in Okami is the fact players can draw their  ‘advantages’ to defeat the enemy further or use the special moves to progress further into the game. Celestial techniques drawn by the Celestial brush Okami uses allows people to do this.



However as the game goes on the player meets each one of the  Celestial Brush Gods who teach the gamer a new technique to use during the game, on the other hand the brush can’t continuously be used as the ink supply runs out and takes time to re-fill- making sure the player doesn’t become dependent on the brush and instead learns how to use combos in combat, giving more of a gaming pleasure to the player.


When characters are talking it’s easy enough to read and takes the time for all people of different abilities to read as well, meaning once you’ve finished one version of the person’s speech all you have to do is click for the next. The font itself seems to be something like Serif with a size of maybe 14-18 in the colour black; tips of what to do next are in crimson.


However one downside to the gameplay is sometimes loading can take incredibly long or during battles things can become incredibly confusing, due to some of the foes maybe being a little ‘over-designed’ so it naturally makes it harder for the gamer to see. Other than that it is an unusual game that kind of ‘caters’ for a lot of people’s wants in a game earning the public’s eye ever more.  A lot of people refer Okami to The Legend Of Zelda series, basically because there’s little references to that game. Kamiya, the director, explains “I’m a fan of the Zelda series and during the development of Okami I’ve gained an enormous amount of inspiration from my favourite game series, whilst using little bits during the design of this one”

The foe above is first found in the woods and has taken over an old man and woman’s body turning them mad. Here Okami is using the Rosaries to destroy the victim.
Graphics and Music

Okami’s graphics was first planned out as realistic 3D. This however

                                                     couldn’t happen because of the Play Station 2’s limitations that

would make it harder for the developers if they were to render the game later on in life. Another drawback was down to the fact the protagonist, is very close to nature and helping the folk who are in danger to bring peace to ‘Nippon’. Kamiya and Inaba thought of different Medias they could desing the characters that would make them more in tune with their personalities and the actual game itself. The biggest inspiration was the Chinese/ Japanese watercolour art known as Sumi-e and a wood carving art called Ukiyo-e style. Once the graphics had been decided this is where the idea of the Celestial Brush became real. Inaba quoted:

‘I didn’t want people just watch the fight like almost every other game. If we can use something that allows them to play a bigger role in the actual game it could draw more attention’

When designing the characters the biggest problem for Okami stood the fact he looked like someone’s pet dressed in clothes, so the designs for the hero became numerous. Other characters (female) like Sakuya became the problem of making them too ‘naked’ as the game goes on through to the end.

To the right is the Sumi-e style of Okami and the rest of the crew, on the left was the initial graphics design (realistic 3D) for the game.  Comparing between the two, the Sumi-e style had a better resolution than the other due to limitations of the Play Station 2

design now throughout the game.

Identical to the game itself, composers:

·         Masami Ueda

·         Hiroshi Yamaguchi

·         Hiroyuki Hamada

·         Rei Kondo

·         Akira Groves

Indented for music to suit the same theme as the rest of the game, a Japanese style with a naturist twist made the idea of making the soundtrack using authentic Japanese ‘charms’ . Finally at the end of the game during credits, Ayaka Hirahara sand one of the game’s best debuts : Reset which has won awards for ‘Best Score’ A soundtrack released amongst Japanese markets as a 5 disked set which is now available to order online anywhere. Each piece of music relates to the certain place or person it’s used for and at. Personal favourites are:

1.       More Digging Here Bow Wow

2.       Kamiki Festival

3.       Reset


Okami’s Story and Characters

There are many people or creatures in the game that all play an important role- some more than others. Most of the cast is based around Shinto beliefs and legends like Orochi being the 8- headed serpent and Okami being Amaterasu in wolf form protecting the people.

v  Okami

Okami or known as Amaterasu/ Ammy is based off a Shinto belief of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. She has the power to give life and take it away. Being the hero of the game, Okami comes across many foes and in order to defeat them she/ he has to find 13 Celestial Gods who each grant the main character a brush technique to use sometime during the game. A lot of people think Okami is next generation of Shiranui who’s described as a mundane wolf that defeated and sealed away Orochi  one hundred years ago before Okami/ Ammy ever appeared on the scene. Okami is always followed by his friend Issun- a comedy breaker.

v  Issun

Issun is greatly mistaken to be a bug of some sort when in fact he’s actually a creature called a Poncle.  Poncle’s are tiny people used as Celestial envoys and usually live in tree stumps. Issun follows Ammy around throughout the whole of the game give little hints and tips of what to do and where to go. He also is used for the comedy of the game giving wise cracks and having a soft spot for beautiful women. He refers to a lot of characters through nick-names, Ammy’s being furball.


v  Waka

At the start of the game, Waka seems to be another antagonist in Okami usually appearing where trouble about to be caused. However Waka is another person who slightly guides Ammy through is quest through a lot of sarcastic comments that are very useful. He does also like to tease Issun during combat battles. Waka is Tao Master and knows another character (Queen Himiko ) from a group called the Moon Tribe who escaped from Orochi’s abuse. It’s later known that Waka accompanied Shiranui to the Celestial Plains and returns there with Ammy.

v  Sakuya

Sakuya is a wood sprite known to be the mother spirit of Konohana and protector of Kamiki village. She’s the one who summons Ammy after the revival of Orochi, she needs Ammy to revive and rescue as many other sprites as she can in order for Sakuya to reach her full power.


v  Celestial Brush Gods

Altogether there is 13 Gods (including Amaterasu) that each grants Ammy a brush technique. Amaterasu already has the brush technique ‘Sunrise’

1.       Yomigami

Master of Rejuvenation 

2.       Tachigami

Master of Power Slash

3.       Hanagami

These are 3 masters who grant techniques: Water lily, Vine and Bloom


4.       Bakugami

Master of Cherry Bomb

5.       Nuregami

Master of Water Sprout

6.       Yumigami

Master of Crescent

7.       Kazegami

Master of Galestorm

8.       Moegami

Master of Inferno

9.       Kasugami

Master of Veil of Mist

10.   Kabegami

Master of Catwalk

11.   Gekigami

Master of Thunderstorm

12.   Itegami

Master of Blizzard

Okami starts in a place, well a world called Nippon, where flashbacks tell of a mundane ashen wolf and a Swordsman fight for justice, against an evil eight-headed serpent called Orochi. Neither Shiranui nor Nagi are able to defeat Orochi during their battle in Kamiki Village and instead seal the beast away. This however is a hundred years before the game actually takes place. Nagi’s descendant, Susano, doesn’t believe in ‘old legends’ and tries to prove to fellow villagers of Kamiki Village it’s all a lie, so he breaks the demon’s seal and Orochi is allowed to release his destruction across Nippon, by taking away life from nature and letting his minions roam and curse the land.

Having heard this Sakuya, a wood sprite, mother of Konohana and guardian of Kamiki Village, summons Amaterasu (known from Shinto beliefs as a sun goddess) a reincarnation of Shiranui, asks for her help in reviving the cursed lands and bringing forth other wood sprites so that Sakuya’s power may grow for the greater good. Amaterasu befriends a Poncle going by the name Issun. Issun proclaims he’s an artist and will help Ammy find twelve other brush techniques in order for her power to grow. Soon enough Nippon is restored to its natural surroundings.


During the resurrection of Agata Forest, the pair meets a Tao Master called Waka, who later hounds them into battles; Waka justifies this as testing their abilities. First thoughts on Waka is that he’s an antagonist as he’s usually seen or appears when something bad is about to happen, or makes sarcastic comments in order to tease Issun when in fact they contain useful hints.

Kazegami’s star constellation
The first Celestial Brush God Amaterasu meets is Yomigami, a master of Rejuvenation. However in order to meet any of the Gods they appear as star constellations, your job is to draw in the missing stars in order for them to appear and grant Ammy their brush techniques. Towards the end of the first arc, Ammy and Susano must rescue Susuano’s beloved Kushi, who’s Orochi’s sacrifice or blood pact; recreating the events that started a hundred years ago. Luckily the pair was able to defeat Orochi, on the other hand it released a blackened spirit that carried on north across Nippon. After that Ammy and Issun voyaged across the rest of Nippon, restoring cursed lands and helping many people who needed their help.

Towards the end of the game Amaterasu conquers on to find where these dark, haunting spirits are coming from only to be brought to a wrecked ship that once travelled through stars. The vessel resides in a frozen tundra wasteland known as Kamui where Waka reveals his past of being in the Moon Tribe. He explains it’s a race that used the ‘Ark Of Yamato’ (the ship) to escape from Orochi’s assult on the Celestial Plains and tried to sail away. However unbeknown to everyone on the liner, sinister spirits were imprisoned and destroyed all but Waka himself. This meant the boat couldn’t carry on and instead crashed upon Nippon land.

Amaterasu on the Ark Of Yamato in Kamui
Finally Amaterasu and Issun stumble upon the final boss known to be the vilest, twisted and evil being in the game called Yamu. The demon shreds Ammy of her Celestial powers making her engage in combat at a disadvantage. Issun by then takes on his job as a Celestial Envoy and persuades all those that the duo have befriended, pray and think of Amaterasu allowing her to regain her brush techniques and powers defeating Yami and any other evil spirits both in Nippon and on the Ark. At alas Issun and Ammy depart ways unwillingly, where Amaterasu and Waka depart to the Celestial Plains together on the Ark and Issun returns as an envoy for the next person.

Yami’s final stage when in combat with Ammy



Features In Okami

Unlike most Wii games you can’t connect with anyone else across the internet or go into a multiplayer mode, reason being it’s a solo game. There are not many special features apart from using the Celestial Brush to draw killing off foes, or progressing further through the plot. What makes it stand out is it’s graphics and a different concept of gaming altogether by having some gruesome violence, yet containing cute or loving clips of maybe feeding animals in order to game praise. This means Inaba and Kamiya tried very hard to keep the target audience very open; in the hope loads of people will play this game.



Okami won many awards over the years and is still classed as one of the best games to have been brought out on both Play Station 2 and Wii.

ü  Game of the Year (2006)

ü  18th Best PlayStation 2 Game of All Time

ü  Editor's Choice Award

ü  Game of the Month (September 2006)

ü  Best Adventure Game (PS2 Awards 2006)

ü  Best Artistic Design (PS2 Awards 2006)

ü  Most Innovative Design (PS2 Awards 2006)

ü  Best Overall Story (PS2 Awards 2006)

ü  #90 on Best Games of All Time (2007)

Electronic Gaming Monthly

ü  Game of the Month

ü  Gold Award (Scores: 9.0, 9.0, 9.5)


ü  Game of the Month (September 2006)

EDGE Magazine

ü  Game of the Year (2006)

National Academy of Video Game Testers and Reviewers

ü  Game of the Year (2006)

ü  Best Animation in a Game Engine

ü  Art Direction in a Game Engine

ü  Outstanding Original Adventure Game

PlayStation Magazine

ü  Best Game of the Year 2006

Game Developer's Choice Awards

ü  Best Character Design

ü  Innovation Award (1 of 3 recipients)

Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA)

ü  Award for Excellence (Japan Game Awards 2007)

2007 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards

ü  Artistic Achievement

ü  Best Original Score


ü  Best PS2 Game of 2006

Personal Opinion

I started playing Okami not long after I got the Wii console for Christmas and I instantly fell in love with the whole thing. I personally feel as though there are no flaws in the actual game but I do admit during battles, it can get a little confusing due to a lot of detail and emphasis placed on the foes so depending on whom you’re facing it can be hard to see where you are. The plot itself has had me in tears due to it being very moving and showing a lot of relationships throughout the game, plus the music fitted very well with every aspect ok the game. I mentioned my personal favourites above but even I like to use the audio for speed paints and my own animations. Overall I would give this game 10/10!


I do not own any of the images and found them on various sites using Google Images. Below are websites I’ve used to find out information as well as using experience from my gaming time on Okami (53+ hours)

By Eillisha Buccheri

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