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Back to basics

I’d like to start off with an apology for my delayed start on this here ol’ blog. While I won’t bore you with the delicate details of my situation, its safe to say the issues I was having shouldn’t hinder us anymore. Secondly I’d like to follow up namatamiku’s post by describing my setup for playing Okami. Like him I’m using a 32″ HDTV, however its just plain old stereo over here and unfortunately I have the pleasure of playing the game on an original PS2 fat. This may well be the machines very last game the way its behaved thus far. It’s almost like reliving the NES era the amount of times I have to blow on my memory card before its recorgnised! But enough about that, we are here to discuss a game…

I’m going to use my first post to generally relay my very initial impressions of the game from the first hour or so of gameplay. Many JRPG’s have long drawn out openings designed to set the stage for the epic story that you are about to witness, and Okami is no different. While I didn’t necessarily time the opening like my fellow blogger did, I did recorgnise that with some editing the story could have been told in a much shorter period of time, but its not all bad. From what I’ve seen so far it’s looking to be an intriguing tale, if a little two dimensional good and evil in the character department. I’m not expecting huge plot revelations such as “Okami, I am your father”, but its enough to keep you motivated to continue your journey.

One of the first things that stood out to me about Okami was the graphics, which I both adore and hate at the same time. I appreciate the art style and love the simplistic design of the world, which mirrors that of a water colour painting quite elegantly. The world that Clover Studios created, in a word, is beautiful.

My issues with the graphics could be put down to a number of things, some the games fault and others mine. Firstly its possible that a PS2 running a composite connection into a HDTV is the technical issue I’m having, or perhaps its simply my eyes and the fact I’m partially colour blind. Either way I find the game to be pretty washed over in colour saturation and at times, a blurry mess. Icons are not distinct or clear and items and characters lack the clarity needed to be able to pick them out of the backdrop. The reason I’m inclined to blame anything but the game is due to the fact that many games have come out before Okami (including the Zelda franchise that it clearly takes much inspiration from), which attempt similar art styles without the issues I’ve been having.

One of the other basic things a game should have to make the simple experience that much more enjoyable is a solid set of controls. Okami has this rather nailed, although if your heads wired like mine you might want to invert the X and Y axis before you get yourself disorientated. Jumping is fluid and functional, attacking is elegantly simple, motion and speed work as you would expect when running long distances and the brush controls work surprisingly well with an analogue stick.

With the rudimentary mechanics covered, my next post will concentrate on combat and your interaction with the world, me thinks.