Thursday 13 April 2006
We're hungry like the wolf for exciting, original ideas and Okami is one of the most exciting and original PS2 games since Killer 7. Originally announced almost a year ago, Okami's unique visual flair and brilliantly bizarre world is now well on its way to hitting PS2 in the autumn, so we got our hands dirty with an early version of this brilliant-looking title.

In Okami you play a wolfish embodiment of Amaterasu, an immensely powerful sun god. A legendary and ruthless monster named Orochi has risen up to wreak desolation on the world below, turning it into a wasteland of danger and despair, and you must roam the land repairing the damage before eliminating the monster for good.

But what makes Okami more than just a watercolour Zelda-a-like is Amaterasu's celestial brush. Hold R1 at any time during the game and you transform the action into a canvas, with the celestial brush hovering above. By learning the 13 special brush strokes - like a horizontal line to perform a powerful slash attack - you can manipulate the canvas and affect the real world.

We sliced boulders in half and cut down trees with the horizontal slash, and you can also attack enemies in this way. But not all brush strokes are offensive. By mastering a restoring technique we repaired the sword on a magical statue, coloured in the path of a river of starlight and turned day into night with a single swipe.

By travelling the world and combating the dark curse left by Orochi's wrath, Amaterasu will meet ethereal characters who wield the powers of the 13 different brush strokes. Characters like a white mouse with a gigantic sword - honest - will join with you and give you their powers, enhancing your palette as you head towards the final confrontation with Orochi.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.