Ōkami (大神, Ōkami? lit. "great god", though also a pun for "wolf") is an action-adventure video game developed by Clover Studio and distributed by Capcom. It was released for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console in 2006 in Japan and North America, and 2007 in Europe and Australia. Despite the closure of Clover Studios a few months after the 2006 PlayStation 2 release, a port for Nintendo's Wii console is currently in production by Ready at Dawn and Capcom, to be released during March, 2008.
Set in an unspecified period of classical Japanese history, Ōkami combines several Japanese myths, legends and folklore to tell the story of how the land was saved from darkness by the Shinto sun goddess, named Amaterasu, who has taken the form of a white wolf. It features a distinct sumi-e-inspired cel-shaded visual style and the Celestial Brush, a gesture-system to perform miracles.
Ōkami was one of the last few PlayStation 2 games selected for release prior to the release of the PlayStation 3. Although it suffered from poor sales, Ōkami earned high acclaim from reviewers and earned, among other awards, the title of IGN's 2006 Game of the Year.
Ōkami has the player controlling the main character, Amaterasu, in a woodcut, water-color style, cel-shaded environment, which looks like an animated Japanese ink-illustration. The gameplay style is a mix of action, platform, and puzzle gaming genres, and has been noted by many reviewers to have numerous similarities in overall gameplay style to The Legend of Zelda series, an inspiration that director Hideki Kamiya, a self-proclaimed Zelda-fan, has admitted has influenced his general game design. The main story is primarily linear, directed through by Amaterasu's guide Issun, though numerous side quests and optional activities allow for the player to explore the game world and take the story at their own pace. By completing quests, side quests, and small additional activities (such as making trees bloom into life, or feeding wild animals), Amaterasu earns Praise, which can then be spent to increase various statistics of the character, such as the amount of health and number of ink wells for Celestial brush techniques.
Combat is staged in a ghostly virtual arena, and Amaterasu can fight enemies using a combination of weapons, fighting techniques, and brush methods, to dispatch the foes. At the end of combat, money (as yen) is rewarded to Amaterasu, with bonuses for completing a battle quickly and without taking damage. The money can be spent on numerous items from merchants across the land, including healing goods, better weapons, tools, and key items for completing quests. The money can also be used to buy new combat techniques at dojos through the land. Additionally, rare Demon Fangs can be earned through combat which can be traded for additional, unique items that are beneficial in gameplay but not required to complete the game. Weapons inspired by the Imperial Regalia of Japan, the Reflector, the Rosaries, and the Glaive, can be equipped on Amaterasu as either a main or sub-weapon, and used in addition to other melee attacks that the player can have Amaterasu learn through the course of the game.[