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E3 2005: Okami
game: E3 2005: Okami
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: Capcom
developer: Capcom / Clover Studios
date posted: 12:00 AM Fri May 20th, 2005
last revision: 11:03 PM Thu Sep 29th, 2005

Click to read.Capcom\'s Okami blends watercolor fluidity with a mythologized storyline to create a beautiful and immersive game. The game begins after the monster Orochi escapes and wreaks havoc on the land. The player fights Orochi as the god Okami Amaterasu in the form of a wolf. As a wolf, players run through majestically rendered and fluid landscapes. The game handles much like other action adventure games, but it\'s particularly amazing for its use of painting as part of game play, for its astonishing visual style, and for its rich narrative that weaves Japanese mythology into the game background and the game play.

In Okami, players fight monsters, jump and double jump, and paint as part of game play. The painting is done as calligraphy to solve puzzles, and in the game the painting is done with the wolf\'s tail. As the wolf Okami solves these puzzles, players earn different abilities that relate to different godly embodiments. The painting, godly creatures, and even the general gaming landscapes are amazingly rendered in a style that blends watercolor and cell shading styles with fantastic elements like flowing leaves, blowing petals, and wind spirals. Games like Okami showcase graphical possibilities outside of just realistic accuracy. While realism is a useful goal, as in all visual art styles, realism isn\'t the only option. Okami also plays similarly to Sly Cooper and games of that type in that it is engaging action adventure style play that is accessible while still presenting a challenge. Elements from many mythologies are used in game design for multiple effects and Okami succeeds in capturing the beauty and depth of the mythology it uses by presenting a world filled with life in each of the world\'s objects,including water, trees, petals, and creatures,and a world in which those objects are interdependent.

The mythology that underlies the storyline comes through in the artistic style as well as the in-game elements including shrines, a bronze mirror on top of Okami\'s back, and the symbols that decorate Okami. Players will definitely appreciate the delicate graphics that are reminiscent of traditional Japanese art and interpretations of it in anime and manga like Princess Mononoke. While Okami\'s style alone would make for a worthwhile gaming experience, when combined with the background mythology for the narrative, and the unusual game play as a wolf, Okami shines with its ethereal style. Hopefully, Okami will earn an ESRB designation of \"E for Everyone\" or the newly created \"E10+ for Everyone 10 and older\" so that younger players can experience Okami\'s visual and narrative mastery.

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