Okami hands-on

Some games, like Shadow of the Colossus or Ocarina of Time, have that intangible "something" that makes them more than just a bunch of polygons thrown up on a screen by a wheezing plastic box. Add one more game to that list. In our eight transcendent hours with Okami, we're already convinced this water-colored adventure will rank among the most unique, beloved fables on the PS2. Okami will affect your life.

But this gushing praise wasn't our first impression. You're awoken as a goddess that's taken wolf form after a hundred-year slumber. You've come back because someone's broken the seal on an eight-headed demon that once ravaged the countryside. Now the world's cursed: bleak, dirty and bland... and not a lot of fun to run around. The first hour or so was spent roaming around these ruined landscapes, gathering huge amounts of tedious backstory from scared villagers. Buh.

Soon after, your true calling finally becomes clear. Your divine job is to restore this murky world to its former, illustrious glory by beating back the demonic hordes and reacquiring your omnipotent stature. When you first enter the world, it's blanketed by a glowing red cursed zone - only after fighting off the monsters and using your godlike Celestial Brush to revive ailing saplings and dying trees does green return to the world. But when it does, all that boring, drab scenery makes way for a magnificent, blue-skied field. It's a feeling that few games can provide: the simple beauty of nature.