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Why Okami is one of the greatest games ever made

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Appearance aside, Okami was a joy to play, and the pedigree behind the game ensured its mechanics were fluid, simple, and inventive. The general game design was heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda, but the team’s history with series like Devil May Cry lends a stylistic hand to the combat. Weapon-based combos were basic, requiring only minimal dodging and button mashing, but were still complex enough to be entertaining.

Okami’s fantastically creative Celestial Brush techniques (used both in and out of combat) lent themselves well to the game's artistic style, and provided a unique mechanic that no game before had ever attempted. Interacting with the environment by literally drawing on it unveiled secrets and removed barriers, while combining physical attacks with battle-specific brush strokes made for perpetually entertaining fights.

These techniques are central to Okami’s tale, which draws from Japanese myth to create an alluring good vs. evil story. It hits all the biggest notes of storytelling: Life, innocence, rebirth, and peeing on enemies for a better score. Some might say the game drags on a bit too long: 30-plus hours is a lot for an action adventure title. But they're wrong. It’s long, sure, but never dull; each new area to explore brought more quirky characters and side quests to the table, and each boss was so fascinating that we couldn't wait to reach the next. Never did we feel the dregs of boredom. From the moment we turned the game on and saw the story play out in scrolling ink drawings to the swelling victory music that bellowed when we put the final boss to rest, we were enraptured by everything Okami is.

It did far more than impress those who played it. It created a legacy. Ammy warranted inclusion in other games, like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, alongside icons like Ryu and Captain America. After Clover dissolved, Hideki Kamiya, Atsushi Inaba, and Shinji Mikami formed a new studio which later went on to become part of Platinum Games. Bayonetta, one of Platinum’s more well-known titles, is riddled with Okami references: The main witch’s panther form leaves a trail of flowers behind her when she runs, exactly like Amaterasu.

Okami is the definition of a video game cult classic. Though it wasn’t met with commercial success, it did succeed in creating an unforgettable experience and an incredibly loyal fan base. Okami is a thing of rare beauty, relying on a twisting, turning story and wholly unique mechanics to ensnare its audience. Much like Amaterasu when facing the Spider Queen, we shall forever be caught in its web.

"Why _____ is one of the greatest games ever made" is a weekly feature that goes through GamesRadar's list of the 100 best games of all time and highlights different titles, explaining why they're on the list, what makes them so amazing, and why we love them so much.

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20 comments

  • Killingjoke - December 19, 2012 9:11 p.m.

    Games a pain to play on the Wii
  • jackthemenace - December 8, 2012 6:30 a.m.

    I know it came out on PS3 in HD form, but did it also get a release on 360? I'd love to play it, but I have access to my PS3 and Wii far less often than I do with my 360- and, by the sounds of the length of the game, I'll need regular access to the console in order to ever get it finished before I die.
  • cosmicshambles - December 6, 2012 4:17 p.m.

    How about a new Okami on the WiiU?! Also, I second the above - the game is too long. Repeated boss battles, repetitive combat and hard to locate collectibles (without a wiki). That said, beautiful game and easily one of the best ever.
  • misscake - December 20, 2012 3:15 p.m.

    I can't say that repetitiveness is a trait endemic to Okami only. I finished Okami for the second time recently and one thing I'm kicking myself over is how difficult I used to think finding everything was. The reality is that they're not; they all have a guide which at the very least lets you know what you're missing and with the stray beads they even have the locations listed. It's just a matter of exploring- you'll be rewarded for looking in very nook and cranny and talking to people.
  • Clovin64 - December 6, 2012 8:37 a.m.

    Easily one of the finest games of the last gen and along with Final Fantasy XII, gave the PS2 one hell of a send off.
  • AuthorityFigure - December 6, 2012 1:34 a.m.

    I love it too - it's excellent. It's just a shame that it's too easy.
  • garnsr - December 5, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    I just played through it again on PS3, after having played it through when it first came out on PS2. It's even more gorgeous in HD, and has way more character than any Zelda game.
  • BladedFalcon - December 5, 2012 1:59 p.m.

    Anne? Wait, does this mean you're now working at gamesradar...? WILL YOU JOIN RADIORADAR? PLEASE SAY YES Anyway, Okami is certainly quite the work of art, a wee bit too long, yes, but even then I never felt it as repetitive or grindy as other games that were it's lenght, and the artstyle and animation was beautiful. Honestly, I quite prefer this game over pretty much any Zelda game.
  • Redeater - December 5, 2012 1:04 p.m.

    Did anyone actually finish this game? I got it for Wii some time ago and started it but unfortunately I'm a completion nut when it comes to games. I got about 1/3 of the way through and gave up because of the sheer size of the game. (Keep in mind this is coming from someone who 100% AC1......even the flags.....possibly the worst thing ever)
  • BladedFalcon - December 5, 2012 1:56 p.m.

    I did finish it. I played it back when it came out for the PS2. It WAS a pretty darn humongous game though, no doubt. Still, I can say with certainly that I enjoyed it far, far, FAR more than the 10 hours it took me to finish AC1 :P
  • Redeater - December 5, 2012 2:24 p.m.

    AC1 was a sub par game with the worst collecti-thon ever programed. I pretty much completed it because of OCD and I had already completed 2 and Brotherhood. That said, I intend to finish Okami at some point....maybe when I retire in 30 years or so. :)
  • Anne Lewis - December 5, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    Finished it four times. It has a couple "false endings" but it's totally worth it to see it all the way to the true ending.
  • GR_RyanTaljonick - December 5, 2012 3:02 p.m.

    I finished it as well. Lengthy, sure, but awesome (almost) all the way through :D
  • The_Bald_Eagle - December 5, 2012 7:14 p.m.

    How could you not finish this game? I admit, the first hour or so and all the tet was pretty tedious. I might have given up had I not read all the awesome reviews. But after getting through that, I was hooked till the end.
  • lordgodalming - December 6, 2012 4:06 a.m.

    Yessir. Finished it on PS2 in about 32 hours, then got the Plat trophy on PS3 in just over 40. Lots of variety and great things to see. One of my all time favorites.
  • dcobs123 - December 5, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    One of my favorite games of all time, good read.
  • robertpopovic - December 5, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    Totally loved that game even if I did not buy it till later when it was discounted. The game threw me off when I thought I had finished it, only to show me that I was about halfway. I would like to get the HD version, but I find the current price a bit too steep. Plus I really hoped they would've been able to make it work for the Vita as well. Should've been a perfect match with the Touchscreen and the gorgeous screen resolution
  • robertpopovic - December 5, 2012 12:16 p.m.

    Meh, can't edit it. I guess instead of "threw me off" it would've been better to summarize it as a total suckerpunch in a positive way :D
  • Anne Lewis - December 5, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    Maaaaan, I would kill for Okami on the Vita. The HD version is wonderful, but touchscreens just make so much sense for a game like this. Maybe someday...

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