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.
The game in motion looks just like a painting would...if it became animated 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.
*Singho takes off his "Art Wank Hat" ;p
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. I can retry later on today if anyone is still nterested in seeing it though, just let me know if I should bother.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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!
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. 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.
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. 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?"
Edited by SniperDave, 04 April 2010 - 04:57 PM.