Ōkami

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Ōkami
OkamiNTSCcoverFinal.jpg
Developer(s) Clover Studio (PS2)
Ready at Dawn (Wii)[1]
HexaDrive (PS3)
Publisher(s) Capcom
Distributor(s)
Director(s) Hideki Kamiya
Producer(s) Atsushi Inaba
Writer(s) Hideki Kamiya[1]
Composer(s) Masami Ueda
Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Hiroyuki Hamada
Rei Kondo
Akari Groves
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Wii
PlayStation 3 (HD)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, download

Ōkami (Japanese: 大神?, literally "great god", "great spirit" or "wolf" if written as )[13] is an action-adventure video game developed by Clover Studio and published by Capcom. It was released for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 2 video game console in 2006 in Japan and North America, and 2007 in Europe and Australia. Despite the closure of Clover Studio a few months after the game's initial release, a version for Nintendo's Wii console was developed and produced by Ready at Dawn, Tose and Capcom, which was released in North America in April 2008, in Europe in June 2008, and in Japan in October 2009.

Set sometime in classical Japanese history, the game combines several Japanese myths, legends and folklore to tell the story of how the land was saved from darkness by the Shinto sun goddess, named Amaterasu, who took the form of a white wolf. It features a distinct sumi-e-inspired cel-shaded visual style and the Celestial Brush, a gesture-system to perform miracles.

Ōkami was one of the last PlayStation 2 games selected for release prior to the release of the PlayStation 3. Although it suffered from poor sales initially, the game became immensely popular afterwards and received critical acclaim, earning the title of IGN's 2006 Game of the Year. The Wii version has earned similar praise, though the motion control scheme has received mixed reviews.

A high-definition port of the game was released on the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network in October 2012 and for retail in Japan in November 2012, supporting the use of the PlayStation Move motion controller. A sequel for the Nintendo DS titled Ōkamiden was released in Japan in September 2010, followed by North America and Europe in March 2011.

Gameplay[edit]

The game has the player controlling the main character, Amaterasu, in a woodcut, watercolor style, cel-shaded environment, which looks like an animated Japanese ink-illustration (known as ink wash painting, sumi-e) with other styles of art. The gameplay style is a mix of action, platform, and puzzle gaming genres, and has been noted by many reviewers to have numerous similarities in overall gameplay style to The Legend of Zelda series,[14] an inspiration that director Hideki Kamiya, a self-proclaimed Zelda-fan, has admitted has influenced his general game design.[15] The main story is primarily linear, directed through by Amaterasu's guide Issun, though numerous side quests and optional activities allow for players to explore the game world and take the story at their own pace.[16] By completing quests, side quests and small additional activities (such as making trees bloom into life or feeding wild animals), Amaterasu earns Praise, which can then be spent to increase various statistics of the character, such as the amount of health and number of ink wells for Celestial Brush techniques.[17]

Combat is staged in a ghostly virtual arena, and Amaterasu can fight enemies using a combination of weapons, fighting techniques and Brush methods to dispatch the foes.[18] At the end of combat, money (as yen) is rewarded to Amaterasu, with bonuses for completing a battle quickly and without taking damage. The money can be spent on numerous items from merchants across the land, including healing goods, better weapons, tools and key items for completing quests. The money can also be used to buy new combat techniques at dojos throughout the land.[19]

Additionally, rare Demon Fangs can be earned through combat which can be traded for additional, unique items that are beneficial in gameplay but not required to complete the game.[20] Weapons inspired by the Imperial Regalia of Japan (the Reflector, the Rosaries and the Glaive) can be equipped on Amaterasu as either main or sub-weapons (one each), and used in addition to other melee attacks that the player can have Amaterasu learn through the course of the game.[21][22]

The player uses the Celestial Brush to rejuvenate wilted plants (as shown), repair bridges, slash foes or create elemental effects.

Celestial Brush[edit]

Unique to Ōkami is the Celestial Brush. Players can bring the game to a pause and call up a canvas, where the player can draw onto the screen, either using the left analog stick on the DualShock controller, or pointing with the Wii Remote or PlayStation Move controller in subsequent remakes.[23] This feature is used in combat, puzzles and as general gameplay.[24] For example, the player can create strong wind by drawing a loop, cut enemies by drawing a line through them or fix bridges by painting on the broken one, amongst many other abilities. These techniques are learned through the course of the game by completing constellations to release the Celestial Brush gods (inspired by the Chinese zodiac) from their hiding spots.[25] It is also possible to upgrade or modify certain Brush powers later in the game; for example, the Celestial Brush power "Inferno" can gain a new power called "Fireburst", which has a different drawing pattern, and allows players to create flames without relying on torches or other related items. The player's ink for drawing is limited by the amount available in special ink wells, preventing the player from solely using Brush techniques to defeat enemies; ink is restored in the wells over time when the Brush is not used.[25]

Plot[edit]

(Note: Most character names below are the shortened names of the U.S. version.)

Story[edit]

Promotional artwork for the game, showing the main characters. The foreground characters include the white wolf-goddess Amaterasu, the inch-high artist Issun, the mysterious swordsman Waka, and the warrior Susano.

The game is set in a Nippon (Japan) based on Japanese folklore, and begins with a flashback to events 100 years prior to the game's present; the narrator describes how Shiranui, a pure white wolf, and Nagi, a swordsman, together fought the eight-headed demon Orochi to save Kamiki Village and the maiden Nami, Nagi's beloved. Shiranui and Nagi are unable to defeat Orochi, so they seal the demon away.

In the game's present, Susano, a descendant of Nagi and self-proclaimed greatest warrior, breaks Orochi's seal due to the fact that he does not believe in the legend and wants to prove it false; Orochi escapes and curses the lands, sapping the life from every living being. Sakuya, the wood sprite and guardian of Kamiki Village, calls forth Amaterasu, the sun goddess, known to the villagers as the reincarnation of the white wolf Shiranui, and pleads for her to remove the curse that covers the land. Accompanied by the artist Issun (an inch-high creature known as a Poncle), Amaterasu is able to restore the land to its former beauty.[26]

Throughout the journey, Amaterasu is hounded by Waka, a beautiful and strange but powerful individual who seems to have the gift of foresight and further teases Amaterasu and Issun to his own mysterious ends. Additionally, Amaterasu locates several Celestial Gods who have hidden in the constellations; the gods bestow upon the goddess powers of the Celestial Brush to aid in her quest.

Soon, Amaterasu and Susano battles Orochi to protect Kamiki Village and rescue Susano's beloved, Kushi, recreating events from 100 years prior. This time, the duo are able to fully conquer the demon, causing a black, evil spirit to float northward. Amaterasu and Issun then embark on a journey across Nippon, befriending many people along the way through their good deeds, and continue to remove Orochi's curse on the land through defeating other demons that release similar dark presences, all of which float northward.

As Amaterasu travels to find the source of these evil spirits, she is brought to the wreckage of a ship able to travel through the stars: the "Ark of Yamato", trapped in the frozen plains of Kamui. Waka appears and reveals himself as a member of the Moon Tribe, a long-living race who used the Ark to escape from Orochi's assault on the Celestial Plain and sail the heavens – unaware of the evil spirits imprisoned on the Ark; the demons attacked and killed all but Waka himself, resulting in the Ark crashing to earth. Yami, the demon controlling all the evil spirits, appears and strips Amaterasu of her Celestial Brush powers before engaging her in battle. Issun takes up his role as the Celestial Envoy and encourages all those they have helped to send their thoughts and prayers to Amaterasu, causing her to regain her powers and defeat Yami, ridding both the Ark and Nippon of these evil beings forever. With her mission done, Amaterasu departs with Waka on the Ark to sail back to the Celestial Plain together.[27]

Characters[edit]

Much of Ōkami centers on characters from Japanese Shinto spirituality and legendary historical figures. A major plot parallels the slaying of the eight-headed serpent, Yamata no Orochi by the Shinto god Susanoo, recreated as the characters of Orochi and Susano, respectively, within the game.

The player controls Ōkami Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, in the form of a white wolf.[28] Amaterasu is referred to in the Japanese and European version of the game as a female, while in the North American version she was genderless.[28][29] While Amaterasu, when endowed with ink power, is seen by the player with red markings, cloud-like fur on her shoulders, and weapons on her back, most of the human characters in the game only see her as a plain white wolf; some believe Amaterasu to be the reincarnation of Shiranui (the white wolf that fought Orochi 100 years prior to the game's present), and do not recognize her spiritual nature. If the player depletes their power by overuse of the celestial brush, Amaterasu will temporarily revert to this mundane white form. Issun, an arrogant, inch-tall "wandering artist" seeking out the thirteen Celestial Brush techniques for himself, accompanies Amaterasu (whom he calls "Ammy" or "furball") and serves as a guide, dialogue proxy, and as comic relief. He grows in character along with Ammy throughout the game, becoming her true friend, inspiration, and eventually her savior.[28]

At the end of the game, Amaterasu encounters Yami, the main antagonist and final boss of the game who resembles a small fish inside a huge sphere, whose design is altered through the different stages of the battle. Yami is also the ruler of the demons. Before battle, he drains Amaterasu of her powers and leaves her as a plain white wolf. Amaterasu regains her powers throughout the fight, but, after the fourth round, Yami destroys them all again and leaves Amaterasu in a near-dead state. However, when Issun gets everyone to believe in Amaterasu before the fifth and final round, she changes into her most powerful form and battles Yami, vanquishing him forever. In the final battle, Yami also has a huge clawed hand, which demonstrates the evil which comes from Humans' hands. The word 'Yami' means 'darkness' in Japanese.

Two other characters also reappear several times within the quest. Waka appears to Amaterasu several times in the game as a beautiful young flute-playing man in costume resembling a tengu (more precisely, a tengu dressed like a yamabushi, which is a frequent tengu appearance). He is aware of the goddess's true identity and foretells her future and at times battles with her. He leads the Tao Troopers whose members Abe and Kamo are based on the two famous onmyōji Abe no Seimei and Kamo no Yasunori. Waka's dialogue, dropping French affectionate terms at times, conveys a sense of familiarity with Amaterasu, as it turns out that Waka is much older than he appears and has walked with Amaterasu on the Celestial Plain hundreds of years ago.[30] The other is Orochi, the eight-headed demon and a major villain within the game which the player will encounter several times. Orochi repeatedly has threatened Kamiki village, demanding a sacrifice of a young woman. Each of its eight heads is infused with a different elemental magic power, but the entire demon is susceptible to a special brew of sake available only at Kamiki Village, allowing Amaterasu to defeat it while in its stupor.[26]

Throughout the game, the player encounters several other characters that are inspired from Japanese folklore.[31]

Development[edit]

Ōkami resulted from the combined ideas of Clover Studio.[32] The game was originally built around "depict[ing] a lot of nature", but had no central concept or theme, according to lead designer Hideki Kamiya.[33] Kamiya eventually created a minute-long demonstration movie showing a wolf running about a forest, with flowers blossoming in its wake, but still lacked any gameplay. Kamiya and other members of the team introduced ideas around the nature aspect and eventually led to the game's initial prototype, which Kamiya admitted was "incredibly boring to play".[33] Kamiya suggested that he allowed so many ideas from the team that resulted in the development moving off-target, including creating more of a simulation. Eventually, they settled onto the gameplay found in the final product.[33]

Side-by-side comparison of the original realistic (left) and the final sumi-e (right) style used in Ōkami

The art in Ōkami is highly inspired by Japanese watercolor and wood carving art of the Ukiyo-e style, such as the work of Hokusai. Ōkami was originally planned to be rendered in a more photorealistic 3D style.[34] However, Clover Studio determined that the more colorful sumi-e style allowed them to better convey Amaterasu's association with nature and the task of restoring it.[35] The change was also influenced by limitations in the PS2 hardware to render the photorealistic 3D graphics.[36] As a result of the switch to the watercolor style, the idea of the Celestial Brush came about.[32] Atsushi Inaba, CEO of Clover, noted that "Once we fixed ourselves on a graphical style and got down to the brushwork, we thought 'Wouldn't it be great if we could somehow get the player involved and participate in this artwork instead of just watching it?' That's how the idea of the Celestial Brush was born". Original concepts for enemies included the use of dinosaurs, but the designs settled onto more demon-like characters.[37]

Amaterasu's initial designs were aimed to avoid having the character look like "your pet wearing clothing".[38] The developers had considered having Amaterasu change into a dolphin when in the water and a falcon when jumping off a cliff, but dropped these ideas.[39] Sakuya, designed around a peach motif, was envisioned with what were called "level 2" and "level 3" designs where the character would wear less clothing as the story progressed, but the "level 3" appearance, effectively naked, was vetoed by Inaba.[40] Waka's character was aimed to be a Tatsunoko-like character, with the hood designed to be reminiscent of those worn by the Gatchaman.[41] Orochi in Japanese mythology is a gigantic creature, so lead character designer Takeyasu Sawaki designed the back of the demon to include a garden and palace; this inspired the game designers to include a bell in those structures that would be Orochi's fatal weakness in the game.[42]

The localization team had to translate 1500 pages of text to make sure it made sense in a "native check", due to lack of plurals in the Japanese language and the large number of characters and conditional conversations that the player could interact with.[29] The team recognized that certain elements of the game would not be recognized by Western audiences, but left enough text and details to allow the players to look up the information for themselves.[29] Only one puzzle in the game had to be changed as it required knowledge of the steps in drawing a kanji character which would be readily known for Japanese audiences; for the Western release, these steps were demonstrated in the game.[29] The team noted that personalities of characters could be easily conveyed in Japanese text simply by the way sentences were constructed or slurred, a feature that could not directly be applied to localization. Instead, working with Kamiya, the team scripted the localization to either recreate the personality to match the Japanese version, or to create a whole new set of mannerisms for the characters as appropriate.[29]

Ōkami was shown at the 2005 E3 Convention, approximately 30% complete, with a planned release in 2006.[43] At this point, the game had much of the core gameplay, including the Celestial Brush and the combat system in place. The game was released a year later in 2006. However, just a few weeks following its release in North America to strong critical reception, Capcom announced the closure of Clover Studio.[44]

The Ōkami: Official Complete Works art book was published by Udon in May 2008.[45][46] The game was re-released under Sony's "Greatest Hits" in Japan in August 2008.[47]

Naming and allusions[edit]

The title of the game is a pun; the word ōkami (狼) in Japanese means "wolf". However, the kanji characters used as the title of this game (大神), pronounced identically, mean "great deity", so the main character is a great wolf deity. The same characters (大神) are also used to write the full name of the sun goddess Amaterasu-ōmikami.[48] The localization team opted to use shorter versions of Japanese names (for example, a boy named "Mushikai" was localized as "Mushi") instead of replacing the names with Western-style ones.[29] Issun's informal name for Amaterasu in the Western translation, "Ammy", was inspired by Kamiya, and is similar in tone with the Japanese informal name, "Ammako".[29]

Throughout the game, Ōkami includes several references (in visual effects, animation, or dialogue) to other Capcom titles such as Viewtiful Joe, which Clover Studios also developed.[29] For example, Mrs. Orange's technique for making cherry cake parodies Street Fighter's Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu, complete with a kanji word displayed on screen with her back-facing the screen.[29]

Audio[edit]

Ōkami
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 31 May 2006
Genre Soundtrack
Label Suleputer
Producer Capcom

All of the music in Ōkami is original and inspired by classical Japanese works.[26] The final song, played over the credit sequence, "Reset", is sung by Ayaka Hirahara. Capcom has released an official 5-disc soundtrack for Ōkami, which is available exclusively in the Japanese market.[49] In the US.. and European release, the player can unlock a jukebox to hear the in-game music upon completion of the game. At the 2007 BAFTA Video Games Awards Ōkami won Best Score.[50]

Suleputer has also published another album, a piano arrangement, entitled Ōkami Piano Arrange. It was released on 30 March 2007. Mika Matsūra both arranged the 10 songs, and performed it on the piano.[51]

The characters' speech in the game is actually created by scrambling samples of voice actors' speech, with more emotional lines being created from voice work given in that emotion.[29]


Legacy[edit]

Wii port[edit]

The cover of the North American Wii version of Ōkami. A watermark from IGN can be seen by Amaterasu's mouth.[52]

The gameplay function of "drawing" or "painting" strokes on the screen led several journalists and gamers alike to believe that Ōkami would be well-suited for the Nintendo DS or Wii, both of which feature controls capable of creating drawing motions freely. After the game's release, industry rumors of the game being ported to either console persisted, despite Atsushi Inaba of Clover Studio feeling that Ōkami's action-based gameplay would not translate well to the console[53] and statements from Capcom that there were "no plans for Ōkami on Wii".[54]

However, at the 2007 UK Gamers Day, Capcom announced that Ready at Dawn would oversee porting and development of a Wii version of Ōkami originally scheduled for release in March 2008[55][56][57] but subsequently pushed back to April 2008.[7] Christian Svensson, Capcom's Vice-President of Strategic Planning and Business Development, stated that Capcom had received numerous requests from fans for the development of the Wii version,[58] and that the ported game "specifically exists because of that direct communication, especially those we receive on our message boards (even if they're sometimes mean to us)."[59] Ready at Dawn president Didier Malenfant has stated that, aside from the control scheme, the Wii version will be "an exact port of the PS2 version."[60] The lack of enhancements for the game caused several complaints from gamers, which Svensson addressed, stating that

Svensson reported that the original game assets given to them from Capcom Japan were incomplete, and even after requesting old hard drives and computers to recover more assets, Ready at Dawn was still required to recreate some from scratch.[58] Furthermore, the game had to be recoded to change optimizations that were made for the PlayStation 2 version; Svensson stated that "part of the reason we didn't show it until we started showing it was because, if we showed it in a form that was anything less than near-perfect, people were going to freak out".[58] Ready at Dawn's creative director Ru Weerasuriya later reflected that porting Ōkami to the Wii was a challenging task—"we started with no assets and literally reverse-engineered the whole thing back onto the Wii"—they did out of love for the game, but the level of effort would preclude them from attempting such a port again.[62]

In November 2007, Svensson noted that the engine had been ported to the Wii, writing that "There are still several systems getting set up properly but there's most definitely a Wii-driven Amaterasu running around Wii-rendered environments as we speak."[59] A listing posted at Capcom's website for the game on 15 February 2008 revealed that the Wii version would support 480p and widescreen output,[63] and IGN confirmed that the motion sensing of the Wii Remote would be used to perform the Celestial Brush features within the game.[23] IGN's hands-on also cited small changes to the game such as additional motion-sensing controls using both the Wii Remote and Nunchuck attachment, and the ability to skip cutscenes, but reported no other changes in content of the game.[23]

Svennson noted that Capcom would not use television advertising for Ōkami on the Wii, but would use online marketing, including art contests and a new website with "all sorts of things for fans to use to make stuff".[58] This site was made live on 3 April 2008, featuring wallpapers, character artwork and fan-created art for the game.[64] Svennson further noted that "If [Ōkami for the Wii] did the numbers that we did on the PS2, I'd be very happy. This doesn't need to be a mainstream success for this to be a success for the company."[58]

A "paper parchment" filter applied to all on-screen elements that was readily apparent in the PlayStation 2 version was still included in the Wii port, but the effect was made much less significant.[65][66][67] To help with drawing with the Celestial Brush, two different buttons on the Wii controllers were given brush functionality; one button was assigned to provide free-form strokes, while the other was set to draw a straight line from the starting point.[68]

The final credits movie that was in the PlayStation 2 version of the game was removed from the Wii version, much to Kamiya's regret as it removed the omoi—"a combination of thoughts, emotions, and messages" — from the game: "[The staff roll was] the omoi of everyone who worked on the project, put together in a moment of bliss held out just for those who completed the journey. It was a special staff roll for a special moment. And now it is gone. All of it. ...It's incredibly disappointing and sad."[69] A Capcom representative stated that the credits, a pre-rendered movie, had the Clover Studio logo within it, and they had "no legal right to use the Clover logo in a game they were not involved with directly". Since they also lacked the source to the credits, they opted to remove them entirely from the game.[69] Ready at Dawn's co-founder Didier Malenfant also claimed that the Wii version of Ōkami took up much more space on the game media than the PlayStation 2 version, and that the movie was cut in order to fit everything on a single game disk,[70] however despite these claims, the credit sequence was restored in the Japanese release of the Wii version[71] and revealed that the port was co-developed by Tose, having provided additional planners, designers, programmers and test players.[1] The images from the credits, although not the credits themselves, are still available as unlockable art.

Players have discovered that the cover of the North American Wii version of Ōkami includes a watermark from IGN, and traced the source to an image taken from IGN's site.[52] To make up for the error, Capcom offered for a limited time to replace the cover with one of three high-resolution covers free of charge to users in North America.[72][73] Due to delays in fulfilling the offer, Capcom shipped copies of all three covers to those that registered.[74] They have since discontinued the offer, but have made the cover images available worldwide in high-quality PDF files for users to download and print themselves.[75] The European PAL version of the cover has no such error.

High-definition remaster[edit]

In June 2012, Capcom announced that a high-definition remastering of the game, Okami HD (Okami Zekkei-ban (roughly translated, Okami Magnificent Version)) was released worldwide for PlayStation 3 in October 2012; a retail product was released in Japan, while the game is available for download through the PlayStation Network in Europe and North America. The remastered edition supports the PlayStation Move peripheral, and Trophy support has been added. The remastering was done between Capcom and HexaDrive, who had previously worked on the high-definition remastering of Rez.[11][76][77]

Sequel[edit]

Main article: Ōkamiden

Sales of Ōkami were considered somewhat poor for justifying a sequel; in July 2009, in response to users' questions on the possibility of a sequel, Svensson stated that "I think we need a lot more people buying the current version before we seriously consider a sequel".[78] However, after the appearance of a Japanese trademark by Capcom on the word "Ōkamiden" a few months before the Wii version of Ōkami in Japan, many speculated that a sequel was pending.[79] The September 2009 issue of Famitsu announced that Ōkamiden was indeed a sequel to Ōkami for the Nintendo DS, to be released by Capcom in Japan in 2010. The game takes place nine months after the end of Ōkami, with the player in control of Chibiterasu, a wolf puppy with the same powers as Amaterasu, but not yet at his full potential, and features the same style of gameplay, including the Celestial Brush using the DS' touchscreen controls.[80][81]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS2) 92.65%[82]
(PS3) 90.30%[83]
(Wii) 90.02%[84]
Metacritic (PS2) 93/100[85]
(PS3) 90/100[86]
(Wii) 90/100[87]
MobyGames (PS2) 4.3/5[88]
(Wii) 4.1/5[89]
(PS3) 4.0/5[90]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A[91][92]
Eurogamer (PS2) 10/10[93]
(Wii) 10/10[94]
(PS3) 9/10[95]
Game Informer (PS2) 9.5/10[96]
(Wii) 9.25/10[97]
GameSpot 9.0/10[98] (PS2)
9.0/10[66] (Wii)
IGN 9.1/10[25] (PS2)
9.0/10[65] (Wii)
9.4/10[99](PS3)
Nintendo Power 7.5/10[100] (Wii)
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 8/10 (PS3)[101]
X-Play 5/5 (PS2)
5/5[68] (Wii)

Reviews[edit]

Ōkami was acclaimed by critics and fans, with a score of 92.65% on GameRankings, making it the eighth highest overall game of 2006 and second for the PlayStation 2, behind Konami's Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.[82]

GameSpot gave it a 9 out of 10 and selected it as an Editor's Choice, citing that its "visual design instantly stands out, but it turns out to be just one of many inspired aspects of this impressive action adventure game."[98] IGN gave the game a 9.1 out of 10, as being "beautiful, charismatic, engaging and one of the most original games you'll play anytime soon."[25] Electronic Gaming Monthly's three reviewers gave it a 9, 9.5, and 9 out of ten, one saying: "I'll be surprised if you can find a better game on any system this fall."[102] Newtype USA named Ōkami its Game of the Month for October 2006, heralded the pacing as "nearly flawless" and proclaimed "Ōkami is that rarest of beasts: a game without any obvious flaws. Clover's creativity and attention to detail are on full display here. Shame on any gamer who passes up this divine adventure."[103] Eurogamer scored the game 10/10 saying "Right from the start it conjures an atmosphere of being something special, but to keep that level of quality up consistently over 60 hours ensures that this will be a game that will be talked about for years to come".[93] In 2007, Ōkami was named eighteenth best PlayStation 2 game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the PlayStation 2's long lifespan.[104] Famitsu gave the game a near perfect score of 39 out of 40, the 15th game to date to receive this score from the publication.[105]

However, the game was noted to have some flaws. The game was criticized for its uneven difficulty.[25][98] Reviewers have also noted some difficulty in getting the game to recognize the correct Celestial Brush patterns,[91] as well as excessive amounts of dialog, particularly at the introduction, which was also hampered by the computer-generated voices used instead of voice acting.[98]

The Wii version of Ōkami has received generally similar praise to the PlayStation 2 version, with GameSpot stating that the support for widescreen and the Wii controls "make it even more relevant today than it was in 2006".[66] The use of the Wii Remote for the Celestial Brush was well received;[65] in GameSpot's review, they noted that the Wii functionality with the Brush "improves the pace of the game".[66] However, other aspects to the controls were found to be weaker, particularly in combat.[66][92] In their review, Nintendo Power recommended the PlayStation 2 version of the game over the Wii, stating that "Though you can overcome the drawing and attacking issues with practice (and by sticking to whip-style weapons), it's a hurdle you shouldn't have to leap."[100] The Wii version was given the 'Game of the Month award from IGN for April 2008.[106] It was a nominee for multiple awards from IGN in its 2008 video game awards, including Best Artistic Design[107] and Best Use of the Wii-Mote.[108]

The high-definition release on the PlayStation 3 was praised for being the "definitive" version of the game,[99] with the rendering in 1080p helping to make the graphics style of the game stand out. Cam Shae of IGN did express some disappointment that the PlayStation 3 version did not attempt to address the "pop up" of far-off objects due to draw distance, a limitation of the PlayStation 2 version.[99] Oli Welsh of Eurogamer considered that the game remains as relevant as it was when it was first released in 2006, being one of the few video games of the Zelda style.[95]

Awards[edit]

Ōkami's initial showing at the 2005 E3 Convention garnered severals awards and recognition, including 1UP's "Best PS2 Game", "Best Game of Show" (second place), and "Best Action Game" (third place);[109] IGN's "Best PS2 Game of Show",[110] and runner-up for "Best of Show" and "Most Innovative Design";[111] and X-Play's "Most Original Game".[112] GameSpy recognized it as the fifth best game showing for the convention.[113]

Upon release, Ōkami appeared as the "Game of the Month" for IGN,[114] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[115] and Game Informer.[96][116] IGN,[117] Edge Magazine[118] and Game Revolution[119] rated it as the best overall game of 2006, while Game Trailers[120] and Official PlayStation Magazine,[121] named it best PS2 game for 2006. IGN further awarded the game the "Best Overall" and "PS2 Adventure Game",[122][123] the "Best Overall" and "PS2 Artistic Design",[124][125] the "Overall" and "PS2 Most Innovative Design",[126][127] and the "Best Overall Story".[128] GameSpot awarded the game for the "Best Artistic Graphics" for 2006.[129] IGN named Ōkami the 19th top game of all time in a 2007 list.[130] In 2010, GamePro ranked it as the fifth best game for the PlayStation 2.[131]

Ōkami has also won awards from outside the mainstream gaming press. The game earned the "Best Character Design" and only one of three Innovation Awards at the 2007 Game Developers Choice Awards.[132] Ōkami won the Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division of the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival.[133] On 13 August 2007. It was also awarded the best "Animation in a Game Engine", "Art Direction in a Game Engine", "Outstanding Original Adventure Game", and "Game of the Year" in the 2006 awards by the National Academy of Video Game Testers and Reviewers (NAVIGaTR).[134] Ōkami was given an "Award for Excellence" from the Japanese Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA) at the Japan Game Awards 2007[135] and was later given 2009 CESA Developers Conference (CEDEC) award for "Visual Arts".[136] The game was awarded the "Best Anthropomorphic Video Game" in the 2006 Ursa Major awards.[137] It also won the 2007 BAFTA awards for "Artistic Achievement" and "Original Score".[138]

Sales[edit]

Ōkami sold 200,000 copies in North America in 2006, grossing approximately US$8 million and ranking as the 100th best selling game of the year in the region.[139] By March 2007, the total sales of the PlayStation 2 version were near 270,000.[58] By comparison, Ōkami sold 66,000 copies in Japan for 2006.[140] While it was initially thought that poor sales of Ōkami and God Hand (another Clover title released in the same time frame) were the cause of the closure of Clover Studio,[35][141] it was later revealed that three key developers within Capcom and Clover Studios, Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil series), Hideki Kamiya (Devil May Cry series), and Inaba, had left the company,[141][142] and the studio was dissolved, such that "now all the resources should be used more effectively and more efficiently since they are centralized."[141] Inaba, Mikami, and Kamiya went on to form the video game development company "Seeds Inc",[143] later merging with a company called "ODD" to become "Platinum Games".[144]

On 30 July 2008, Capcom revealed that the Wii version of Ōkami had sold approximately 280,000 copies in North America and Europe since its release date.[76][145] The Wii version debuted in Japan with a modest 24,000 copies sold in its first week in the region.[146] It was the sixth-bestselling game in Japan on 23 October 2009.[147] Total sales for the game remained under 600,000 total units by March 2009, and was named the "least commercially successful winner of a game of the year award" in the 2010 version of the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition.[148] Despite the initially poor sales, the game gained widespread popularity afterwards.

Legacy[edit]

Ben Mattes, producer for the 2008 Prince of Persia video game, cited Ōkami as well as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus as influences on the gameplay and artwork for the game.[149] Capcom's Street Fighter IV is also stated to have character designs influenced by Ōkami with hand-drawn images and brushstroke-like effects.[150] The Disney video game, Epic Mickey, uses similar drawing aspects as Ōkami, allowing the player to draw and modify parts of levels to proceed.[151] The final boss, Yami, appears as the main antagonist and final boss in the crossover fighting game, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.[152] Amaterasu appears as a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.[153] After Clover's dissolution and most of its staff's subsequent reformation as Platinum Games, one of their next games, Bayonetta, contains several references to Ōkami; the most notable of these is when the title character transforms into a panther and, like Amaterasu, a trail of flowers and plant life follows her.[154] For the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, Capcom raffled a limited run of T-shirts designed by Gerald de Jesus and iam8bit that placed Amaterasu and Chibiterasu (from Ōkamiden) into a homage to the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt.[155] In 2009, GamesRadar included Okami among the games "with untapped franchise potential", commenting: "Seriously, if Nintendo can make the same Zelda game every few years, then why can’t Capcom release Okami 2? "[156]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

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External links[edit]