Monday, May 12, 2008

Okami (PS2): First 12 hrs

Innovative and with an artistic style all its own, but the user interface sometimes disrupts an otherwise excellent game. Dialogue can sometimes be "clicked through" to hurry it up, but often not. Painting challenges punish the player for losing by suffering through the long lead-up sequence again. And no, you can't get out of the challenge entirely -- once you're in the "Konohana Shuffle" challenge, the only ways out are to succeed or power off. (Note: this is the sort of poor interface problem that might be overlooked by a reviewer -- so far, Okami is fairly easy, and if you don't screw up one of these challenges, you'll never see how annoying it is.) "Helpful hints" from the dino-buddy are sometimes timed so poorly as to be laughable -- suggesting you practice with a new weapon, for example, when immediately thereafter you are forced into the most challenging battle thus far with no opportunity for such practice. (This guy is called Waka, and he is by far the most annoying Tao master I have ever met, fictionally or otherwise. And I suffered through Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street.)

Nevertheless, the style is distinctive, the play mechanic is unique, and the emphasis is on exploration and discovery, not twitch skills or resource management. If you're a fan of Ico, this is a very different game that I think will equally appeal to you.

No comments: