Day Three: Most Underrated Game
This one was an easy pick. Back in 2007, I was hearing rumblings in the various magazines I read at the time about this game called Okami that was coming out. At that point in time, I was hugely into Japanese culture and mythology, so this game pretty much ticked all the boxes for me! It came out on PS2, my preferred console. It had an stunning cell-shaded animation style which was just coming into vogue at the time. It looked new and different, and above all else, super fun.
After some research (by which I mean reading reviews and advanced playthroughs at school when I was meant to be doing English coursework) I had decided that yes, this was the game I wanted to play. But when I went to buy it, I couldn’t find it in any shops in my town, and I only stumbled across it two years later (after the hype had died down. I am permanently late to the party when it comes to cool stuff) pre-owned, for a bargain price in a game store. I took it home, fired up the PS2, and settled in for what I thought would be a fun few days gameplay. I was wrong. So very wrong.
It had fluid movement, fun gameplay, an engaging story (that was more than three times as long as what I expected) and some downright tricky puzzles. I sunk a lot of time into it over a period of about two-to-three weeks, playing it every night when I got home from college until I was tired and repeating the process. I loved the story, I loved the fighting style, and you generally got a huge sense of accomplishment when you’d used your new Celestial Brush techniques to make flowers bloom, or collected all the beads and treasure in one area. There’s a pretty big universe to explore, and if you’re like me, a massive treasure hoarder when it comes to games, Okami came with a bunch of great collectables. It seemed to combine Legend of Zelda with a touch of Animal Crossing and put it all under a cover of Japanese mythology, which, when coupled with the slightly exaggerated art style and gameplay suited it to a tee. While I do think that it was more made for the Wii (what with the Celestial Brush tool that required you to ‘draw’ things in-game in order to solve a puzzle, or make the wind blow) I think it worked quite well on the Play Station 2.
What got me the most was the fact that none of my other friends had heard of it, let alone played it. Since then, I’ve only come across one other person who’s played the game (and the seqeuel) and enjoyed it as much as I have. To be fair, she’s also a HUGE Legend of Zelda fan, so this might have something to do with it! (Side note: Said lady friend is also awesome!)
Okami is one of my all-time favourite PlayStation 2 games, and I certainly think it’s criminally underrated.