Last year, Capcom surprised gamers around the world when they released an onslaught of great titles, namely Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube. With such a great line up, it is no surprise that fans are expecting only the best from this year's E3. Fortunately, it looks as though this year's showing is just as strong as last year's. While Capcom didn't drop any big surprises, they definitely proved their position in the industry.

From the artists behind the beautifully cell shaded Viewtiful Joe, comes Okami. Okami in the simplest terms is a piece of art. On display, was a two-section level where you get a good feel for how the game works. In Okami, you take on the role of a wolf, as he attempts to re-establish a connection between the earth and the stars. While not much was revealed about the story, every visual effect was in full display. Thus far, movement is incredibly smooth, and frame rates are very solid. The art style is somewhat similar to that of Viewtiful Joe; in that the colors are bright and vivid, but the style is based off Japanese calligraphy.

Essentially, Okami plays like a platformer, but changes any preconceived notions of what a platformer is. The control scheme is essentially 3 buttons, one for jumping, one for attack, and one for the paintbrush. The paintbrush is what sets this game apart from anything you have seen in the past. In the game, you run into situations in which you cannot proceed any further. If you have collected the ability, you can hit the paintbrush button, revealing a large paintbrush and a calligraphy style map of the area you are in. On the map, you can see a slight outline of you area, and it is your job to use the paintbrush to draw in what you would need to proceed. For instance, in the demo you reach a river you cannot cross. If you switch to the paintbrush, you can draw a bridge over the water, and then you can proceed across. The game is rather forgiving for those of us who are rather non-artistic. A simple splash across the screen and you are on your way.

Overall, Okami is looking amazing. Gameplay is very streamlined, and the environments are absolutely astonishing. Visually, there is nothing out there that can be paralleled, and it is very apparent that the developers had a real love for this game. Look forward to Capcom's next big thing by the end of the year.

By Jestin Jund



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