New Guidebook: Okami

My most recent strategy guide releases this week and it's for the wonderful game, Okami, by Capcom. Okami is an expansive adventure game in which the player takes on the role of a wolf god named Amaterasu and seeks to save helpless villagers and restore beauty to the land. Amaterasu has been summoned back to Nippon to fend off an ever-spreading evil that has managed to escape one hundred years of containment and, as it spreads, it curses and kills all life. The catch is that unlike other action-adventure stars, Amaterasu unleashes her special powers through the use of a traditional caligraphy brush known as the Celestial Brush. In addition to standard jumping and attacking and digging and all the other things one might expect a wolf to do on a 50-hour adventure, the player will also use a caligraphy brush to paint specific symbols on the screen. Depending on the brushstroke you paint, you may attack an enemy, cause rainshowers to form, a mighty wind to blow, change night to day, or even make a bomb appear out of thin air!

You will undoubtedly hear comparisons made to the Legend of Zelda series and having authored the guidebook for the last game in that franchise, I can say that Okami is highly deserving of the lofty praise and, in some ways, out does Zelda. Most notably in story and dialogue. Okami had me laughing at numerous times throughout the game, but also nearly had me in tears in the end. The writing and the animations are that good. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the game's fantastic visuals. It's pretty hard to be impressed by anything on the Playstation 2 these days, especially for those of us with an Xbox 360, but Okami is a work of art. The game's graphics resemble traditional Japanese wood-block prints combined with watercolor paintings and flow beautifully across a soft canvas texture that makes the game look like a painting in motion. It's one of the most unique visual styles of any game to date, but thinking back to Viewtiful Joe, nothing Clover Studios does artistically should surprise us. They are simply in a league of their own.

Okami is easily one of the best games I've written a guidebook for in a long while, but not only in terms of quality gameplay, but also in that it was so conducive for a strategy guide. There's just so much in this game, that the ideas of what to cover were almost never-ending. Furthermore, Capcom and the developer Clover Studios (of Viewtiful Joe fame) provided us with so much outstanding art work that the designers at BradyGames were able to produce a book that is as wonderful to look at as it is helpful. I know this is all reading as rather rah-rah company-speak, but these are my honest opinions of the game. And having seen the book (in PDF form at least), I can tell you that it is definitely one of my better works.

So, having said all that, if you would like a signed copy of the guidebook to Okami, send me an email including your name and address. The first three people to respond will get a copy of the guidebook as soon as my shipment of books arrives.

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