Okami Impressions

Capcom shows off a new trailer for its upcoming game based on Japanese mythology.

TOKYO--At the Tokyo Game Show, Capcom unveiled an impressive new trailer for Okami, an upcoming action adventure title from Capcom's Clover Studios that will put players in the role of a wolf who happens to be the earthly form of Amaterasu, a mythical sun goddess. The deity sets out to save the earth from trouble by defeating monsters and literally returning color to the land. This "nature adventure" game was first unveiled in April, when Clover announced the game for the PlayStation 2 on its Web site. Since then, development has gone quietly, save for the occasional--and intriguing--new media release showing off Okami's unique look. While the game isn't playable on the Tokyo Game Show floor, Capcom has at least shown off a new trailer for it that makes it look more promising than ever.

First off, much like Clover Studios' Viewtiful Joe series, Okami clearly features some superb art direction. The game's look is similar in style to the studios' work with cel shading on the Viewtiful Joe games, but Okami takes the technique in a completely different direction. The game looks like hand-brushed Japanese calligraphy, resulting in visuals that appear like a mix of Viewtiful Joe and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The end result is rich, stylized appearance that is like nothing we've ever seen before.

The gameplay itself seems to be firmly rooted in the third-person action genre and will send players off to explore and interact with the residents--friendly and otherwise--of the game's unusual world. We're especially intrigued by the system with which Amaterasu will grow in power. Since Amaterasu is a deity, her power is, in part, derived from humans who believe in her. A respectable level of belief can be achieved either by listening to and then acting upon the wishes of the people, or by restoring color and life to the land. The more faith people have in Amaterasu, the more powerful she becomes. The scenes from the trailer show Amaterasu mingling with the common folk and helping them with their troubles--resulting in more power for her. We're even treated to some footage of the wolfy one tackling some foes and restoring color to the land, which features a pretty slick effect.

Okami is currently slated to ship sometime next year for the PlayStation 2 in Japan. No word yet on whether or not the game will see a US release, but we'd like to think so--Okami looks original and inspired. If the game wasn't on your radar before, you may want to keep an eye on it--and we'll be sure to bring you more coverage.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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