Okami

Are games art? If nothing else, Okami shows they can certainly look the part

As good as the gameplay looks, Okami's graphics will probably get the lion's share of the attention, and not without reason. Clover Studios has truly captured the look of old Japanese tracings and wood cuttings, and the effect is singularly captivating. Thick black lines filled with water-colored hues form the basis of many of Okami's visuals - really something to behold, especially in motion. Who knew the PlayStation 2 could show us such things?

The only big question, then, is if the adventure gameplay, with its unusual real-time drawing techniques, will keep up with the brilliant visuals. We can't say for sure until the final game's in our paws, but there seems little reason to doubt such a talenteddevloper as Clover, who already brought us Viewtiful Joe. Too often, games thatdo somethingtruly creative and artistically striking do so at the expense of gameplay (Killer 7, for example), but Okami looks well-trained to deliver both style and substance.

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