Best Reason to Buy a Wii: Okami

Before anybody gets misled too far by this post title, Okami is not coming to the Wii. As far as I know anyway.

This post on Joystiq got me thinking however.

What does Okami mean for all the smack talk and philosophizing about graphics vs. gameply for next-gen consoles?

Okami is a title that fully embodies the pinnacle of both graphics and gameplay (OK, maybe not entirely, but damn close). And this is a title not only from the current generation, but the tail end of it. Come to Processor Hierarchy for the Wii, GameCube and PS2think of it, God of War fits this category too.

The GameCube has better graphics than the PS2. And the Wii has a slightly more powerful processor than the GameCube. Does it follow, then, that a breathtakingly beautiful game like Okami could look just as good, even slightly better on the Wii?

My point is, if hardware limitations in the PS2 are what inadvertently led to Okami’s distinctive art style, then whatever graphical limitations Wii haters are heaping on Nintendo’s next console ring much more hollow to me now. Check out this video for a comparison of the more realistic style the developers originally intended vs. what the hardware forced them to go with instead. HUGE difference in the feel of the game, not just tactile, but emotional too.

And on the other side, Nintendo’s gameplay argument doesn’t necessarily hold up as well either. Sure the Wii-mote could easily be the best thing for the Celestial Brush, but I got along just fine with the PS2’s dual shock controller.

Amaterasu's wolf buttThe vaunted promises and expected “weaknesses” of each next-gen console, i.e. Wii graphics will suck or Wii games will PWN you and the controller will change video games forever, the pissing contest between Sony and Microsoft, all of it somehow seems ridiculous when compared to the serene countenance of a white wolf shining benevolently down from the sky.

UPDATE: Clover Studio has been dissolved. RIP. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part, it seems that the bulk of the talent has gone off to do their own thing, so all isn’t lost. Interesting interview on 1Up where Clover’s prez talks about their game design philosophy and how the Wii may or may not fit into it.

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