Capcom - 2006
?kami represents the proof, if proof were needed, of the difference between Sony and Nintendo’s core audiences. The game is an adventure reminiscent of the Zelda series and developed by a self-confessed Zelda fan to give PS2 audiences a flavour of this style of game, yet despite gaining critical acclaim from just about everyone and being damn-right fantastic it hardly sold a thing. It seems that Playstation fans just don’t want this sort of game. Happily for the rest of us that do, it has now been ported to the Wii but that’s another story.
Based on a combination of Japanese myths, ?kami puts you in control of a wolf that must rid the world of the life sucking curse of a many-headed demon. The first thing you’ll notice about the game is its striking cell-shaded visual style based upon traditional Japanese watercolour art. Making the game cell-shaded was an incredibly brave move after the backlash created by the cell-shading of the Zelda series’ Gamecube outing. As in the Wind Waker, the cell-shading in ?kami is spectacular and incredibly evocative of the culture and period of the game but in this age of photorealism and motion capture such stylised games just aren’t popular (note my comments on the wonderful graphics of Darwinia for further proof). What I find even more surprising is that the game sold badly in the west but did even worse in Japan.
I’m not painting a very good picture here am I? So far I’ve told you that ?kami is a good looking but unpopular Zelda rip-off but that really isn’t the case at all. ?kami is a stunning and innovative adventure game that can sit proudly beside the Zelda series just as Sonic can beside Mario. I cannot express the pleasure of just bounding and leaping about the beautifully painted world as a wolf or creating a wind to blow your enemies away by paining it with your Celestial Brush. One of the subtle differences that make this game different is that because you’re a wolf you can’t talk to the other characters, this means you have to find other ways of making them do what you want; suddenly all those hours watching The Littlest Hobo on TV don’t seem like such a waste. This is a deep and captivating adventure that will live wolf-shaped in your consciousness long after you finish the game.
Jakey 01 Apr '08
ebay - You'll find this in ebay or your local second-hand game store. Due to a lack of sales this game may become hard to find in the future so buy now or get the Wii version.
?kami Official Site - The official Capcom ?kami page.
?kami World - A great fansite with lots of the usual fan stuff.