Praise Be to Amaterasu: Theming in Ōkami


By the time Ōkami came out in 2006, I was already prepared for the next console generation. Instead of playing Clover Studio’s latest release, I spent my evenings on my Xbox 360 in Coagulation and Gridlock. The Burning Crusade was in full swing and I was leveling a young blood elf hunter.

It’s safe to say that Ōkami flew under my radar, as it did most for most people. In 2007, the original release had only sold around 270,000 copies. Despite overwhelming critical acclaim, people just would not buy the game. In the end, critical success doesn’t mean commercial success. Games such as Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil, while appreciated, spelled death for their companies.

Despite that, a re-release on the Wii did garner more sales and Ōkami has secured its place as a beloved title in the hearts of gamers everywhere. It’s one of the few games to approach an adventure in the same vein as the Legend of Zelda series. Miyamoto and the gang’s influence is felt throughout all the fields of Nippon.

While its influences are clear, Ōkami still manages to be unique and unwaveringly true to itself as a complete and coherent work. Little, if any of its parts, are vestigial or extraneous; they work together to create a greater whole.

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