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 Okami
#1
From one wolf game to the next, I guess. Years ago, I apparently logged 5 hours into the game, then lost interest in it. Would have been around the same time as Twilight Princess, maybe?

I started the game, and damn, that was one long, protracted opening scene. It's always tempting to hit (+) to skip, but I don't want to miss out on the story. It's charming in its simplicity: an ancient village enjoys peace and harmony all throughout the year, save for one, when a nearby cave-dwelling, 8-headed demon forces them to sacrifice a village maiden, lest they incur his wrath.

Why is it always a maiden? I feel like some bawdy old bar maid or street walker would have better flavor, and be more entertaining on the flight back to the dragon's den. The two of them could swap dirty stories and limericks, cackling the night away. For serious, the maiden thing is bullshit, it's like men are obsessed with virginity even in their ancient myths, come on people!

In any case, one maiden in particular is selected for sacrifice, and a village man, driven by the kind of passionate, dimwitted, misguided, blind-siding love that only a young man could possess, rises up to save his beau and challenge the demon. With the help of the mysterious wolf, the two of them vanquish the beast, though the wolf succumbs to its wounds.

With that 10 minute cut-scene having been played out, WAIT, THAT'S JUST WHERE THE STORY BEGINS! At this point, impatient, man-childy Beanjo is squirming in his seat, wondering when he can move a cluster of pixels on screen to activate his dopamine receptors cuz vidya gaem go bang bang boom boom

So then the next cut-scene is shameless in its random, gratuitous sexualization of a female character, as is Japanese tradition. Onscreen comes some geisha woman with big bouncy tiddies practically spilling out her kimono, which for unspecified reasons, has a big box cut out in the front so the horny teenage player can enjoy the scenery. You actually see them jiggle as she talks. Later, you get a glimpse of her back side, with a similar square cut out so her ass-cheeks hang out. Wtf? Are those pajama bottoms with a missing butt-flap? For serious, I'm shaking my head here, she could practically squat where she is and squeeze one out.

Then, another character is introduced. The woman begins giggling and dancing and squirming, and out comes an insectile green orb, mischieviously tickling her underneath her robe before jumping out and introducing himself. This is practically a parody at this point, but like Donald Trump, some things are so cartoony and extreme that they're beyond parody. Then maybe a half hour later, in a totally random and unrelated cut scene, the firefly type creature remarks at how awesome it was to be fluttering all around in her nether-regions, tee-hee!

So, this game is kind of neat. It's an action-adventure RPG where you play as the wolf. Its novelty is that you can freeze-frame and use a virtual paint-brush (controlled by the wii-mote) to draw things on screen to accomplish some task. Maybe my motor controls are out of wack, but I cannot for the life of my draw a horizontal line. It always, always comes out diagonal, even if I carefully watch my wrist make a perfectly sideways movement. I have to overcorrect for some reason. Or, had to. Apparently, you can hold down the Z button to make a perfectly straight line. So hopefully that makes things easier in the future.

I sunk a lot of time into Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, so I'm going to try to dial it back a bit with this one. It's not like we're talking about a Zelda game anymore, so I think I'll be safe.
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#2
Okami is well known for two things: being a good Zelda-style game, and for being WAY too long for its own good. Both things are accurate. It's long, and felt more repetitive over time than Zelda games do. I like it, but did stop playing after a while...

As for the story, it is inspired by Japanese creation myths from their earliest written books, redone with plenty of anime style and some added sexualization. Without knowing the context of the myths it takes elements of you definitely will miss something plot-wise; the game does stand on its own, but things make more sense in context. Amaterasu, for instance, isn't just a goddess now in the form of a wolf who is the character that you play as in this game, but in Japanese myth is the sun goddess and their most important deity. Etc. (Oh, on that note, Sakuya's cutouts in her kimono area ll peach themed, fitting for the tree.)
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#3
Blech, a long, repetitive game? That's not encouraging :( Interesting stuff about the Japanese story, though, thank you.
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#4
Long is only a problem for professional reviewers, but repetitive really is an issue.

As for that opening, yeah...  Typical stuff from Japan.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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