Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Gorgeous, enthralling, and oh-so-fun: If there were a prom for action-adventure games, Okami would be the queen. Steeped in Japanese folklore, Okami is an epic adventure with an artistic twist. Players assume the role of the god Amaterasu, who fought off the evil nine-headed dragon a hundred years ago. Now he's back, and she has her work cut out for her. Removing curses, rejuvenating cherry blossoms, even healing plague: It's all in a day's work. Lucky for "Ammy," she has her celestial brush, which can do everything from destroying enemies to changing night into day. Pulling it out stops time itself, turning everything on the screen into a parchment drawing.

Okami tells its story through cutscenes, and these can feel heavy at times, but the gameplay is worth the wait. In addition to restoring peace to Japan, Amaterasu can defeat foes and/or feed adorable animals to gain godly praise. Since she's a wolf—and a convincing one, at that—she also has more traditional doggy powers, like the ability to bark, dig, or pick up chicken with her teeth. The game's music is enchanting, combat is simple but a blast, and it all comes with a full cast of endearingly kooky characters. Shouldn't someone tell Mr. Orange that there's an orange on his head?

Beyond the game: Okami has clearly learned a lot from the Legend Of Zelda series, and sometimes the similarities are a bit too close for comfort. Just smashing through that first earthen jug, you might get the sneaking feeling you've been here before.

Worth playing for: The absolutely stunning graphics. Okami plays like a living watercolor.

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Frustration sets in when: Manipulating the camera can get difficult at just the wrong times. If you're in a boss battle, why can't you see the boss?

Final judgment: So what if it reminds you suspiciously of Twilight Princess? Go buy it. Buy it now.

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