If you ever thought it odd that two CGI kids movies about talking ants could come out at the same time, followed by two about talking fish, consider the odds of two video games coming out within months of each other which involve controlling a wolf in a Legend of Zelda style game world. In actual fact Okami first came out in Japan almost a year ago, a long time before Twilight Princess. Nevertheless, this is the best Zelda style game ever on a non-Nintendo console and likely to remain one of the very best games released all year. Not only that but it features probably the most beautiful graphics ever seen on the PlayStation 2 with a completely unique cel-shading effect that makes the whole game world look like it is painted in Japanese water colours.
Throughout the game you control the goddess Amaterasu, who appears as a white wolf (okami is a pun on the Japanese words for both wolf and god). Youre guided in your quest, a little too closely it has to be said, by a talking bug named Issun. Although Amaterasu can jump and head-butt, her primary interaction with the world is via the celestial brush. By pausing the game you can paint magic symbols onscreen to create objects in the world, from making plant life bloom to setting off giant bombs. As well as brush attacks, you can use a range of other weapons swapping between primary and secondary slots at will. Apart from Issuns signposting of every puzzle, and the occasionally poor pacing, this can easily hold its head high amongst Nintendos greatest as one of the PlayStation 2s last, best games.
In Okami, the legendary monster Orochi has come back to life and turned the world into a veritable wasteland. Players must assume the role of a wolf, an embodiment of the sun god Amaterasu, capable of wielding unimaginable power.