Up a Level
Retrospective: Okami

Gorgeous game, Okami. I finished it last night. I had a moments hesitation when I considered getting all 100 beads in the game, to unlock the really powerful special, but then I didn't. Instead, I went through an hour of boss fights and cut scenes to get to the final boss fight which took thirty minutes alone. Didn't even need to cheat on that one, the conventions of fighting were very well established at that point and I enjoyed it right up to the end. Even the end credits were beautiful.

I will admit, I like non-photorealistic rendering (NPR). Okami is a case of NPR where you use a few tricks on a 3D model to make it look closer to drawn. Realism has its own issues, called the Uncanny Valley, but it is also something I'm not fond of. Give me a fast game that looked sketched and I am absolutely happy. This is also why, if I ever do it, I want to write a 3D rendering engine for NPR. To me, realism isn't needed for a good story. Style is.

In the end, I pulled Okami out and set it aside. I put it on its side to remind me that there is still more to the game, and if I get bored for some reason, it might be a fun game. The "new game plus" starts you over at the beginning, but with almost all of your equipment, brush strokes, and some new toys. And you can skip the cut scenes. If I do end up playing it, just to get 100% completion, it will be much faster the second time.

As much as it will be hard to resist putting in the next game, I should probably write tonight and prepare for this weekend's adventure. I'm not entirely healthy, but I think I can run for at least five hours of my normal ten. Knowing me, I'll try to run all ten of course. I just miss gaming. A month break makes one start to doubt the story and consider other systems as viable choices. :) That might also be since I'm working on writing up fightertype's Itrifore world as Hero System 5th Edition.

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