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In our last episode, three months ago…

Today, I’ve decided to start playing Okami again. The last time I did, according to the timestamp on my latest save file, was January 13th, the same day as the previous post was made. Since then I’ve beaten thirteen other games—the vast majority of which I’d never played before—and am more than thirty-eight hours into Pokemon Ruby, which I’m currently playing. For the record, that most recent Okami save file left me off at just a touch over the eighteen hour mark.

Why I didn’t play this game for so long is a bit strange, and very much unlike my experiences with other games I leave unbeaten for awhile. Most of the time I set aside a game, it’s because it’s gotten too hard. In other cases, it’s because I’ve decided I don’t like the game enough to finish it; this was especially true of Final Fantasy XII, which had grown incredibly stale after fifty-four gambit-filled hours. In the case of Okami, though, I think this AIM conversation with nama sums up my procrastination, as it’s neither too hard, nor is the gameplay too offensive:

blueshinra: hey, have you played any okami lately. I feel really bad… I haven’t touched it in agest
blueshinra: *ages
namatamiku: I haven’t played it since my last journal entry, I think
namatamiku: might’ve done a little after that
blueshinra: *nods* Thinking about taking it up again this coming week. Going to replay some bits, though
blueshinra: just to refresh my memory
namatamiku: I think I like the game less the more I think about it 🙁
blueshinra: I still like it, but it’s not compelling :/
namatamiku: exactly
namatamiku: I’d have a rough time calling it a classic

We had this convo on February 28th, so of course I didn’t go back to it. Despite the fact that the part where I had left off was shortly after a big plot point, I don’t find the game compelling enough to push through on a daily basis. I’m not so sure that this is the fault of the story so much as the characterization and presentation. With very few plot-related exceptions, the characters of Okami don’t really change and/or grow as people (or sentient beings, whichever). Given the right setting (and the fact that Amaterasu is a mute heroine following in a long tradition of mute video game heroes), this wouldn’t be a huge problem, but the Nippon in the game seems to hover between serious and whimsical, and can’t decide which to settle on. Funny, charming moments are mixed in with moving, dramatic ones in such a way that they overlap in an odd manner. When the game tilts more in one direction than the other, as it did for the early Sasa Sanctuary sequences, is when it works the best. Most of the time, though, my feelings about the characters’ situations are more muddled, and that hardly compels me to press on.

Anyway, I’ve had a Virtual Console download of Secret of Mana sitting on my Wii for months, and I promised myself I wouldn’t touch it until after I was done with Okami, so I guess that’s my main motivation for trying to finish it. I spent at least an hour this morning going through old save files to refresh my memory about where I left off in the story, and will pick up the game and play through more in earnest later today.

I don’t know what the fate of this blog will be; I’ve been thinking of shutting it down. nama’s gone on a gaming hiatus, I haven’t heard much from Clidus lately, and I’d be happy with just archiving these posts on the main Blue Shinra Project site and moving on to something else. Still, I won’t make any decisions about this place without them.

More later? Who knows?!

ETA, 5:09 PM: Just realized something which isn’t worthy of a post by itself, but I felt compelled to write about here all the same. The clovers that Ammy can dig up in certain spots are similar to the one in the Clover Studios logo. Even the musical cue and animation shares similarities.