Okami (great god wolf) is the tale of a white celestial wolf named Shiranui, who jumps into battle to defeat a terrible beast, and protect a defenseless village named Kamiki. The eight headed monster called Orochi, wastes no time in fighting against the wolf in a battle to the death. Terribly wounded Shiranui lets out a howl that grants Nagis sword the power of a divine being; together they slay Orochi and bring peace to the humble village of Kamiki. To pay respect to the bravery and sacrifice of Shiranui, the villagers mounted a shire in honor of this majestic beast, and soon order was renewed in the tiny village. Peace was sure to be everlasting, with their deity watching from under a sakura tree; however evil will soon return releasing darkness upon all of Nippon (Japan) this time. Sensing that all was not right, the tree sprite Sakuya revives Shiranui with a new title; Okami Amaterasu to end the evil threatening everything pure, and bring peace back to the world of Nippon.
When approaching a game like Okami, or its sequel Okami-den it’s best to have a good understanding of its game play, artwork, and history before discussing its principals of design.
This story is based off of Japanese mythology, therefore the artwork inside and outside the video game resembles the culture from the gushing waterfalls to the sakura flowers blowing in the wind it’s hard not to feel the art coming to life. Even small elements of the game are highlighted from the portrayal of light against the wall of a cave to the shadowing on Amaterasus’ white fur.
It’s not common having traditional art transformed into a game, when it still contains its strong line work, however this element makes Okamis’ art in the game diverse. Even with astonishing 3 Dimensional art, Okami isn’t nearly as complete without its warm color schemes, which brightens and darkens when conflicts arise or end. Altogether though line art, watercolor washout, and cheering characters is what make Okami a memorable masterpiece.
Besides the art direction in the game play, the concept and landscape art is also beneficial to have containing tranquil aspects of nature, without it the world created would’ve never been displayed in the lovely state it’s in. Personal favorites that peak my interest are character designs, because I can relate to the process of developing a character from scratch, and presenting a final version. It’s also nice to see that the creators have flaws like anyone else, and don’t succeed at the very first time when sketching out a character or scenery designs.
The landscape art really show the careful craftsmanship put into a big story such as this, vibrant colors blowing around, and becoming mixed with cool colors to make it seem the areas are alive. I adore how most of the scenery is taken from perspective, birds’ eye, or ants’ point of view, doing this gives the viewer the ability to view the same landscape in the game, but in more detail. Okamis’ greatest accomplishment in my eyes has to be with the art, it keeps the culture intact while providing eye catching images to viewers in each generation.