First Impressions: The wolf is coming! The wolf is coming! Why is everyone running away?! Nobody ever believes the boy who cried wolf... Guess that means more Okami for me!
Recognizable as Capcom's odd company, Clover Studio comprises the people who brought the world Viewtiful Joe. A boy who becomes a super hero in a quirky and cel-shaded time-controlling, sidescrolling, beat-em-up game was what Viewtiful Joe had going for it. To add further to their name, it's apparent that unique art styles and strange things are what Clover Studio desires to express to gamers everywhere. What is steadily becoming one of the most anticipated PlayStation 2 releases now ever since its charming E3 2005 debut, Okami is looking to give gamers more abstract pleasure not from a mere mortal this time, but instead from a god disguised as a wolf.
Okami is Japanese for wolf, believe it or not. Though, it's actually not a question of believing, but rather learning. That's just for your own edification, you simpleton you. Amaterasu, however, is not a wolf. She's actually the Earth-made embodiment of a sun god. In other words, people will only be able to see a wolf and won't be suspicious of her true identity. Real clever. Amaterasu isn't intent on doing any grocery shopping for an all-night I Love Lucy marathon, though. What she's really after is the restoration of colors that have been drained from the world. A legendary creature named Orochi has spoiled Japan's livelihood silly. In order to bring back balance to the force, dressed as a white wolf Amaterasu must use her brush-wielding powers to paint a pretty picture for all the people to see.
Think of Okami as an adventure game setting out to clean away all the tartar and bacteria buildup from out of a giant tooth. Playing as Amaterasu, you've got to shine that molar back to its whitest. Accompanied by a spirit guide named Issun that'll lend tips and converse for the white wolf, Amaterasu will be able to plain and simple run around woodland areas leaping up to the tops of small cliffs and crossing rivers to fight enemies. More importantly though, Amaterasu will be able to complete multiple tasks with her range of painting skills using a celestial brush. Approach a river where a bridge should be. Pausing the gameplay for a moment and connecting the dots across a brown parchment will build the missing wooden platform for Amaterasu to link across. This ability is the true magic of the game, as the mechanic will seamlessly piece Amaterasu's brushing motions across everywhere she ventures. You may need to create a constellation in the sky, or break a lock on a gate, or slash away at enemies for finishing blows all using the power of the brush to do it.
Although, it's the "paint-by-numbers" style gameplay combined with its unique artistic style that's looking to give Okami the edge all in all. Like Viewtiful Joe before it, Okami captures an immensely colorful and strange graphics style. But it's the way the art will be fashioned that's looking to make this game so charming. Focused on characters that will feature bulging crispy black outlines and a world with a blend of watercolor and cel-shaded-like appearances, the game takes on a mesmerizing approach if you really dig obscure artwork. Flowers will bloom as Amaterasu struts her stuff across land, and in water lily pads will materialize behind her. There's no doubt about it, Okami appears like it's going to be one very tasty piece of visual candy.