Okami has been a long time in the making. First shown in April 2004, it's taken nearly three years for this gorgeous-looking adventure to arrive on the shelves of your local game store, but finally the wait is over - and happily, it was all worth it.
Based on a traditional Japanese brush painting art style, Okami's unique graphical look ensures that the game looks like no other. Pretty in still screens, it's an absolute stunner in motion, with vivid colour, glorious animation and nimble brush strokes all conspiring to create one of the most spectacular environments ever realised on PlayStation 2. The artistic look is complemented by some excellent music, too, that again draws on Japanese traditions to create a truly atmospheric game.
A brush with fate
The gameplay in Okami matches the high standard set by the presentation. You play as Amaterasu Omikami - a Japanese sun god whose spirit embodies a striking white wolf, charged with the task of restoring the land of Nippon to its natural splendour.
Via an opening cutscene, you learn that an eight-headed demon by the name of Orochi has escaped its imprisonment and allowed evil to spread unhindered throughout the land. And so begins an adventure that fully justifies the term 'epic'.
There's simply so much to see and do in Okami, it would be unfair to spoil too many of the game's wonderful moments here. But it's safe to say that many of those moments come from the game's wonderfully inventive 'Celestial Brush', a technique that allows you to paint directly onto the screen to create amazing (and beautiful) effects in the game world.
As the game progresses, you learn more painting techniques that can be used to help you in your quest. For example, it's possible to strike enemies in combat by daubing slashes across them when they're vulnerable; or bring a dying tree back to life in an instant flourishing of gorgeous blossom. It suits the game's visuals perfectly, and is an intriguing idea that really helps to involve you in Okami's world.
A classic in wolf's clothing
It's a world you'll be spending a lot of time in, too. With multiple skills to learn and develop, satisfying combat, sub-quests by the dozen and a main adventure that continues to delight at every turn, Okami is a true classic. This is one wolf you won't want to keep from your door.