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A Promising Preview: Okamiden

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Every once in a while a game comes along that makes you sit up and say ďwow, that looks really funĒ. Most of the time these end up sucking. However, one game like that was not a disappointment for me and that game was Okami. Okami for me was like playing a really special Zelda game, and for those of you who missed it, lemme break it down real quick. Okami takes place in medieval Japan (big surprise right?) and you play as the mother goddess Amaterasu in the form of a white wolf. She basically embodies nature and the sun, causing flowers to bloom behind her as she runs, communicating with trees, etc. But what made the game special and the main item at her disposal was the celestial paint brush. At any point during the game you could bring up a special screen that allowed you to draw lines on the landscape bringing about changes to the environment. Things like blooming flowers, creating wind, and cutting rocks in half are just a few features the brush was used for. This game had all the puzzle solving and action sword play and item specialization youíd expect from a sprawling and long (took me 32 hours!) adventure game. But overall the hook was the celestial paint brush, a part of the game that just made it so much fun to play and really lent itself to the overall experience. The game originally came out for the Playstation 2 but was then adapted for the Wii since the brush action suited the Wiiís new controller. Anyway, I fell in love with this game and I thought everything about it was grand; then I heard about Okamiden, a new game for the Nintendo DS.




This game had me salivating with excitement when I first saw news about it. It looks just as beautiful, even if itís more polygonal, as the first one and the DSís touch pad is the perfect way to convey the celestial paint brushís glory. Okamiden takes place after the first game when Amaterasu saved the world from the impending darkness. Sheís once again summoned by the nature spirit Sakuya to fend off an evil taking over the region, however thereís one aspect to her re-arrival on earth: sheís a puppy. Thatís right, Nintendo has found a way to take a somewhat serious and epic story and make it cute. Amaterasu is displayed this time as a reborn version of her previous self, complete with puppy loping and adorable yips. But ok, Iíll go with it I guess, as long as the other characters are the same. Whats that? They managed to make another character adorable as well? Thatís right. The previous Japanese hero, swordsman, and gruff comedic relief SusanoÖ had a son. Dammit Nintendo, why must you turn everything into a cuter, less terrifying version of itself? And get this, itís not Amaterasu anymore; itís Chibiterasu. For those of you not up on your Japanese prefixes chibi usually is used to describe anything ridiculously cute. Sigh, classic Nintendo.



Other than the annoying cuteness of the game, the rest of it seems to be solid. As I stated before the environments and characters all have that ancient Japanese water color look to them and I personally love that. Judging by the trailer the combat system, pairing physical items such as swords, rosaries, and shields with the celestial paint brush, is all there too. There also appear to be several returning characters such as Issun the worldís smallest boy and the Jiminy Cricket to your Pinocchio. Iím really excited to use the celestial paint brush on the DSís touch pad too. The PS2 controller seemed at times to be pretty clunky and hard to navigate on screen, I have a feeling having direct control will fare much better.
All in all Iím pretty excited for this game. I loved the original Okami and this looks like the perfect port, and I do love a cute puppy as much as the next guy.
For the official trailer check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzPJ7...eature=related


Lightsout
Gamegavel.com Writer

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