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Okami


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#1 Singho

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 05:29 AM

Sat down and played Okami yesterday evening for about 2 hours, and I know so many people here and elsewhere have gushed about how beautiful the game looks, but I havenít! So... unsure.gif.. It is beautiful! wub.gif Just thought I would type down some fresh impressions for you guys while I wait for my breakfast to be cooked. happy.gif

The graphics and the art style was the first thing that struck everyone about Okami, other than it was a new game being developed by Clover Studios. It was easily the main talking point when videos and screens were first released.



The world of Okami is brought to life by a vibrant cell-shading technique which uses thick outlines and watercolour-esque highlights to emulate traditional Japanese art. Most people have seen what the game looks like and it's just as well really, because I would end up doing a terrible job of trying to describe it, but a picture is worth a 100,000 of my words...so here you go. smile.gif



The game in motion looks just like a painting would...if it became animated wub.gif That is the best I can describe it, you just have to see it in motion to get the full effect, and from what I have played and seen of it so far, itís stunning.

Anyway...

*Singho takes off his "Art Wank Hat" ;p

Storyline

Nothing major, but spoiler tagged just incase people want a surprise when loading the game up for the first time, but it is just a quick summary so I havnt detailed everything about the plot.

The story at the opening of the game runs for around 15 minutes, and is presented in a shadow puppet style production using the various 3D models. It looks cool. The narration and character voices are done in a Lylat\Star Fox garbled speech way, and it honestly works really well.

I had planned on capturing and uploading the intro, but my capture card is distorting the sound. sad.gif I can retry later on today if anyone is still nterested in seeing it though, just let me know if I should bother. thup.gif

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


You take control of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess), a wolf who bares a resemblance to the one in the legend. The moment you gain control you are taken through a 15 minute tutorial which just sets you up for getting the hang of how "Ammy" controls. You are introduced to a bug called "Issun" and he acts just like Navi does in Ocarina of Time by flying off to points of interest and alerting you to certain objects. Unlike Navi though, Issun provides a lot of humorous dialog. smile.gif

You are given your objective, which is to cut down a fruit from a sacred tree which holds all of the souls or prayers (I forget...) of the villagers. In your current state you cannot do anything, so off you wander into the distance. Standard tutorial, you learn to break objects, wall jump and move the camera.

The primary twist in the gameplay comes from the ability to use a "Celestial Brush", which allows you to pause the game at any time and paint onto the screen. This allows you to do everything from engaging in combat or to solve puzzles by making brush strokes.



To use the brush, you press and hold R1. This instantly rolls out a scroll over the current game screen and greys everything out like above. From here you use the left analog stick to move your brush, and to actually make a mark on the scroll you press the square button. Nice and simple. smile.gif One of the first things you paint is just a simple star, and that is done by moving over the area where the missing star in the constellation is, and dabbing a mark by just tapping the square button. Job done.

Moments later, you get to use the brush a bit more by painting in an entire lake. All you do is bring up the canvas and then paint where the lake should be, by inking up the area as much as possible with some brush strokes. I just scrawled as much as I could and just happen to "rejuvenate" the lake. The lake was pretty big, so the scrawling worked. Later on you will need to be a bit more precise where you paint because otherwise the ink will just fade, and it will either cause nothing to happen or you will end up running out of ink.

Thatís the basics of the brush control. Later on, you are shown how to use it in combat, which is basically when the enemy is weak (grey) after being hit by your standard attacks (square) you can call up the Celestial Brush, and in one swoop paint a single line straight through the enemy, cutting them in half and sending them flying away in the breeze. Thats just one attack though, there are plenty of other brush skills to learn as you progress, but thats the only brush attack I have learnt so far. smile.gif

So, you use your normal wolf abilities for getting about the place, carrying stuff, digging etc, and then you use the brush to help people and solve puzzles. When you successfully help people they will give you "praise", and when you have collected enough of it, you can upgrade your health, ink pot, food & money poach in the "Start Menu" by injecting the praise into those attributes.

Before I round this post off, I will just quickly type about how I helped one of the villagers. There was this old lady singing by the river washing her clothes. She was however angry that she could not hang her clothes to dry because someone stole the clothesline to hang them up on. So, you look and walk over to where the missing line is, and simply just draw a line from one end to the other, and the clothesline magically appears. happy.gif The task is not over yet, because the sun is too far away for the clothes to get dried in time. So you just look into the sky ahead of the clothes pole, and paint a circle in-between the two cliffs. A glowing and shining sun then appears in that area and the old lady is happy....PRAISE GET! tongue.gif



I donít want to spoil things further by describing the other tasks, although I look forward to discussing with you guys how you found it to solve certain puzzles and help people. biggrin.gif There is so much to talk about the game from just the 2 hours I have had with it such as the personality of the characters, the music, and all great little touches such as the way areas begin to flourish and come back to life with colour as "Ammy" runs past leaving flowers and grass sprouting in her wake. happy.gif

Really enjoying it, and looking forward to putting in some more time. It has been a while since I have sat down and played an adventure game like this, and it feels strange that it is not one from Nintendo. wink.gif The game feels and plays that good. My brother's ("casual") reaction when I showed him a trailer of this a few months ago was "Woah, Nintendo right? No?! Who? Clover? Who? Oh Capcom...Really?" tongue.gif

Edited by SniperDave, 04 April 2010 - 04:57 PM.


#2 BabelRich

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 09:53 AM

Great stuff Jas. I'm really looking forward to this so it's nice to hear it's as good as expected. Shame on my dirty PAL PS2.

#3 davejm

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 10:09 AM

Is this the US version mate?

#4 Singho

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:16 PM

Aye Dave it is.




The PAL version is out in early Junuary and the JPN version has been out for quite a while, but its not worth getting because of the sheer amount of text involved. Only plus side about the JPN version is that the manual is in full colour.

*uploading pics when I cba*

Been busy today, so will be getting stuck in again to Okami later on tonight. smile.gif

#5 davejm

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:33 PM

Nice, didn't realise it was out!! smile.gif

#6 Treble

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:59 PM

Cheers for the impressions; most appreciated happy.gif

#7 Valken

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 09:28 AM

Singho pretty much summed up everything I wanted to say about the game. It's just so lovely, the art style is right up my street and the gameplay, while Zelda-like feels great.

All I can think about this morning is playing more Okami.

#8 hankwang

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 10:08 AM

QUOTE(Singho @ Sep 26 2006, 06:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The game in motion looks just like a painting would...if it became animated wub.gif That is the best I can describe it, you just have to see it in motion to get the full effect, and from what I have played and seen of it so far, itís stunning.


I second this with full backing. The expression of the art is absolutely breathtaking - the static filter that makes it seem that the entire game has been painted onto an old style Japanese scroll already gives the game this very mystic sheen, but on top of that you've got subtle blurring throughout - like every object has its own personalty and amplified effect to match - and then it all just starts to look like some watercolour painting in motion. Words can't express the step up from watching the trailers to actually playing. The designers have clearly put a lot of thought into how the game should look and they are, quite frankly, visionaries for this masterpiece.

Wish I could say the same for the gameplay, mind. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to like about it and I do like a lot of it, but it all moves at a plodding rate and I'm somewhat confused about exactly what I have to do. I'm not even sure if the game understands what it's trying to be - an artistic expression or a Zelda-lite esque adventure. You're definiately supposed to stop and take a look at what's going on around you, but it's not like you have a choice. The world is so disorientating that you have no choice.

Plus, the camera is a fucking piece of shit.

But I'm being too negative. There's an equal amount of elements I enjoy too - the idea of rebuilding and saving the world by painting in the detail is a genius concept:

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


There's plenty to look at and lots to do (LOAAAAADS of miniquests I noticed), and some very athletic puzzles as well. It actually requires some thought at times rather than push this here and go in here. I like this; makes me feel that games aren't all "hold A to win". The controls are fantastic, I feel right at home controlling Amaterasu; it feels sharp and not too overwhelming (although I keep headbutting shit instead of talking to people, but that's just Sony's shitty pad and not Capcom's fault). I also love the characterization, and that goes for everything. Amaterasu may not speak, but what a personalty that wolf has xd.gif The way the interactions play off Issun, the bug, are fantastic - it's like the Link/Navi relationship - an equally elegant double act. Also, the constellations that you create, the results are great biggrin.gif

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


For now, I'm going to put Okami in the "interesting" category and hope that its initial broken pace and disconnected strands of gameplay tie together in time. If it's just a slow burner and improves over time, then in my eyes this will be a contender for GOTY.

#9 Garibaldi

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 11:58 AM

Nice impressions, but this statement just keeps popping into my mind after reading up on the game: 'No widescreen mode? GTF Clover!'

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 12:08 PM

http://technology.gu...1648922,00.html

#11 Singho

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 11:33 PM

Oh noes! sad.gif Went to play the game again yesterday since my last post (been busy ;/) and my save file had got corrupted! sad.gif First time that has happened, but I am glad in a way as I just finished off a marathon 6 hour session on it. happy.gif

Got back to where I was last, and entered a new main area known as "Shinsu Field". Take this to be Okami's equivalent of Hyrule Field in Zelda, it is massive! Just like in Hyrule Field, it acts like a massive hub where it branches off into other areas.

But when you first get to Shinsu Field it is totally destroyed with dead trees, purple gas, sludge and a really nasty red and black visual effect which just screams "walk into this and you are dead!" choking ĺs of it. Couldnt find a better pic of it, this will do, but just imagine that red and black stuff swirling and moving about over an expansive area.



I of course waded into it head first and one of many cool visual effects kicked in. As soon as you enter the "Cursed Area" a ton of Kanji letters begin to rotate, fall and spin in the background and foreground as well as the screen becoming full of dark colours and you can totally get lost and disorientated trying to walk in further. wacko.gif You lose health during your time in it, so you canít really spend much time in there. Try it when you guys get the game, itís a great visual trick.

I donít want to ruin the quests, but it is your job to make life and nature flourish back to Shinsu Field allowing you access to the areas where it branches off. When you first cleanse the field the cut scene that kicks in is simply smdmnmasdbas. You see a tidal wave of flowers, water, leaves and petals engulfing the entire field from one side it to the other...its amazing. The change from death and decay to life and colour in this cut scene is one of the best things ive seen in a game ever to be honest. wub.gif There are plenty of these types of cutscenes, and they all look class. happy.gif

Anyway, just to break up what I have been doing apart from the main quest is just being a Nature Restoring, Spinning Backbreaking Dog! xd.gif (Vega's Izuna drop tbh!!!11) One of the first things you learn is Blooming Brush stroke which brings dead and blackened trees and areas of polluted land back to life. To do this you just draw a circle on the infected area and (hopefully!) it will come back to life.



The polluted areas sometimes cough up animals and buildings that had been there previously.

Doing the above gets you praise, which you can then use to power up your stats. Other side quests include feeding animals, destroying Demon Gates and hunting and digging for treasure (find the patches of land with light shining down from the heavens). Its fun.

Might as well add a little about the combat in the game, it isnít super complex or hard but itís a far sight more interesting than the combat in the Zelda games. At the beginning of the game, fights are all triggered at specific points, but when you get into Shinsu field the fights become "encounters". Not random like in FF, as you can see where the Demons are as they are represented by a floating, green scroll with fireballs spinning around them.



If you walk into them or if they float into you, a battle sequence is instantly triggered and a circular barrier stops you from leaving the fight. (There are weak points in the barrier which can be destroyed, but I havenít needed to use it yet, as the fights so far are not challenging enough for you to want to run away.)

Ammy starts off having basic attacks such as using his spinning mirror on his back to make sword style slashes, as well as having mid air variant of it. If you run out of ink, Ammy loses the wheel on his back and looks like a normal white wolf. This also gives him less impressive moves, but his mid air kick is lifted straight out of Jon Talbien's move list from Darkstalkers! ph34r.gif

You can also use the brush strokes in battle and this is what makes the combat at the start a bit more fun. For example you get to learn a brush stroke which lets you summon trees which instantly sprout out the ground knocking any demon over that happens to run or be over it by simple drawing a "seed" by painting a dot onto the canvas. happy.gif Later on you even learn how to paint a bomb to be used in battle, which is done by drawing a circle (again) and then putting a line at the top mimicking a fuse. This move is LETHAL to standard baddies, and I have had lots of fun just painting in the bomb right in the middle of a group of demons as soon as they appear...BOOM upon contact. xd.gif

I was getting slightly bored of the above after a while, but I have just found out that I had in my possession 2 ace weapons that I hardly used. >_<;;; Basically Ammy can have a main weapon, and once collected a sub weapon. Depending on what you assign the weapon to be, Ammy gets a different move set and a change in appearance. I forget what itís called, but one weapon is like a chain of Buddhist beads. As a sub weapon it allows Ammy to bark projectiles, as a main weapon (wrapped around his neck, cool as fuck) it acts like a whip! You can hit demons with it multiple times and it has a real long reach. The other weapon I have got like a massive sun wheel strapped on Ammy's back. As a main weapon it acts just like your original green wheel, but as a sub weapon (Triangle) itís a counter! When you get attacked, press Triangle and upon contact with the wheel, the demon gets picked up and given a spinning back drop! ph34r.gif Think you can get variations on it with different directions, will it try next time I play.

You can also learn new moves by going to a Dojo at the top of a hill in Shinsu, where a deranged old man awaits you. laugh.gif YOU GUYS NEED TO PLAY THIS! Lots of nice gameplay twists using the brush as well as very fleshed out characters personality wise for just simple villagers.

Just did battle with the first significant boss in the Forest Cave, top class design on this thing. wacko.gif The picture only tells half the story though...so I guess you guys could take a sneak peek.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


This is for those who dont care or have gotten past this bit...

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


#12 Bangai Joe

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 04:37 PM

How can you fail to mention one of the best characters in the game! Who? SUSANO!



"EXPLODING IMPLOSION!" laugh.gif

I have not got much to add in the form of impressions as I have only played 3 hours or so, but I am enjoying the game so far. Issun is a right cheeky bugger, first he was nestling in Sakuya's bosom and now in the village he goes and starts sniffing the Sake girl's bed!

"Mmmm, smells like her!" laugh.gif

Love the way Clover have also given Ammy lots of character too in the cut scenes with facial expressions, whimpers and growls even though she has no voice of her own...not that Issun would give "Furball" a chance to speak even if she could. smile.gif

I am also enjoying the painting aspect of the puzzles and combat, I hope later on there are more complicated brush strokes to use.

#13 davejm

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:06 AM

Good news is that my game arrived from VG+ and I succesfully transfered the DVD onto my PS2 H/D so I can play it on my PAL only console with HD Loader... aces! Was a bit weary that it may not work, but seems to be fine!

Initial impressions are great. Singho has done such a good job with his impressions that there's not a lot to say other than I'm enjoying it immensely so far. Really good stuff.

#14 Adrock

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 01:59 PM

I've just finished the opening of the story and onto the tutorial ph34r.gif

I just have to save im in love wub.gif wub.gif wub.gif

I will report back as I play more but this is exactly the kind of visual I've been waiting for 3D games to adopt, so wonderful

#15 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 04:53 PM

YesAsia are 'searching for suppliers' and won't let me cancel my order.

Arseholes.




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