By Josh Speer / September 23rd, 2013
There are few games that strike as strong a visual chord with fans as Okami. Originally released for the PlayStation 2 back in 2006 and later re-released for both the Wii and PlayStation 3, it is probably the best known game developed by Clover studios. Though it borrowed some structure from series such as the Legend of Zelda, it had a style and soul all its own thanks to the beautiful graphics and unique battle system. So it was with much excitement that I found the Okami Official Complete Works at PAX Prime this year, and eagerly shelled out the $40 to own such a pretty book. Actually, pretty doesn’t do it justice. Here’s some proof:
These pictures convey the beauty and majesty of Amaterasu’s quest to restore color to the land and banish evil from it. I should note quickly here that I am far from a proficient photographer, a fact that was only exacerbated by the fact that this artbook opened up manga-style. That said, the pictures in this book seemed to come to life as I took each photograph. They literally looked clearer and more vivid after I took them.
Besides the beauty of the book, it was also full of one of the things I love in any game: monsters. And let me tell you, the Okami Official Complete Works is chock full of monsters. The pages are literally brimming with demons, ogres, imps, tengu and more. Take a look to get an idea of how great these critters are:
This gathering of creatures runs the gamut from silly to monstrous and hits every variation between. For me, they were one of the biggest draws of the artbook. I mean, pictures of Amaterasu and villagers are good and well, but these are the most captivating shots for me. Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the other art in the book. Far from it. While villagers might not be my thing, some of the early sketches and concept art were quite illuminating and breathtaking:
While the art is far and away the biggest draw for any Okami fan, I found myself intrigued by the personal excerpts. The Okami Official Complete Works is full of interesting tidbits of information. Besides colorful commentary on the characters, the creation process and more, this artbook also had a very interesting section:
Besides depicting some beautiful scenes, the Gossip Log also has keen insights into what went into creating many of the characters of the Okami universe, both before and after the game was made. What was even more compelling was this section:
The Archives were quite simply the holy grail of the Okami Official Complete Works. Not only full of beautiful art, this section also held source material and any other random thing that they felt didn’t fit into other sections of the book. This included but was not limited to promotional art, magazine covers, package art, retro renderings of the Okami world map and a whole lot more.
Because of the seamless mixture of art, lore and creator information, I was very happy with this artbook. The juxtaposition of those elements made it a very worthwhile addition to my collection, as well as immeasurably increasing the value of the book itself. To anyone who is a fan of Okami, I cannot press you enough to pick this beautiful artbook up. Udon really outdid themselves with this one.
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