Okami is a classic of its kind, successfully combining Zelda-style dungeon growth and exploration with an engaging combat system and a timeless sumi-e-inspired art style. But this artistic style is also intrinsic to Okami’s gameplay with the use of the Celestial Brush.
The Heavenly Brush lets you draw in ink anywhere on the screen and almost anytime, using special techniques to change the world in interesting and inventive ways. A lot of these techniques revolve around nature, given that the character you play, Amaterasu, is a sun god herself. All of these techniques have their place, but some are more useful than others.
The catwalk is an interesting technique. It is unlocked quite late in the game and has very limited applications. The challenge to get it is quite interesting, having to climb a massive tower that pierces the clouds until you feed a statue at the top that rewards you with technique.
The technique itself allows you to draw paw prints on any wall which can then be attached for climbing. However, the line must start from a specific Kobegami statue, and there is a very small amount of these statues throughout the game. The ability is interesting when used, but has a limited chance of be actually used.
Part of the trio of techniques from Greensprout, Vine is above all a crossing technique. All over the world, various floating flowers, Konohana flowers, use this technique. When you draw a line between you and the flower, a vine will appear and pull you towards it.
But it can also be used as a combat tool. Some enemies have stats that can be torn apart, usually a shell to let you get in deeper for big damage, and even some bosses are technique sensitive.
One of the first techniques unlocked is Power Slash. Its functionality is simple. Draw a vertical line and you perform a powerful slash. Yet despite its simplicity, lends itself to many uses.
Some enemies can be cut to destroy protective elements, or various game elements can be cut. Or, if you’re in a rush, you can create a long slash across the screen to smash every pot in front of you, Zelda style.
Another of Greensprout’s techniques, the water lily is also mainly used as a crossing technique. However, Water Lily has the advantage of being drawn in any body of water you want across the globe, and can even determine the size to some extent based on the size you draw.
On top of that, it can also be combined with the Galestorm technique to give you a mobile platform, allowing you to easily navigate any body of water. Not a single dog wants to get wet after all. Even a sun goddess.
A technique as clear as its name is Cherry Bomb. Quite simply, a bomb. Much like Zelda, it can be used to detonate rocks and cracked walls as well as in combat to damage enemies in an area of effect.
However, the bombs can also be enlarged for more ink, causing an even bigger explosion, and with subsequent upgrades, they can deploy multiple bombs at once, and even be thrown at enemies due to their size.
The finale of the Greensprout technique trio, and arguably the most diverse, is Bloom. At the heart of Amaterasu’s nature as a god, Bloom is used to rejuvenate nature. Drawn on any surface, it creates grass and can heal cursed areas. Drawn as a single point on the ground, it can make a tree spring up.
But it also has its place in combat. These trees can be pushed to form a wall or even trap enemies in a cage. And against some enemies, a tree can be pushed to open them to further attacks. It can even be used as part of floral finishers, finishing moves in Okami, to bring a defeated foe back to the wild.
Of the family of elementary techniques, Water Spout and its improvements are among the most useful. On the surface, it is used to transform bubbling waters into roaring geysers to lift you up. But it also allows water to be drawn from any water source and can be used to extinguish fires.
But it also extends to combat. If a flaming enemy appears, sprinkle it with water. No water? The water jet can be upgraded to a downpour, which summons a heavy downpour and extinguishes the flames anyway. Its limits are in your imagination.
Veil of mist
As a classic in any game made by Kamiya, Veil of Mist is the usual time-based technique. Veil of Mist is quite interesting. There are stages in the game where it is obvious to use. Puzzles that require precise timing, enemies that move at lightning speed, and more.
But the thrill of the ability comes from realizing how breakable things are. In a race? Veil of mist. Does an enemy have a brief moment when another technique can be used? Veil of mist to give you a wider opening. It’s fun to see the applications it has when used outside of the intended areas.
Sunrise and Crescent
Maybe this one is cheating, but Sunrise and Crescent are two techniques that are too fundamentally related to go their separate ways. They are literally two halves that complement each other. Sunrise is acquired very early, being the namesake ability of Amaterasu, the sun goddess. Whenever the sun is falling, you can lift it up by drawing a circle in the sky. There are almost no exceptions to this.
The croissant works the same way. If the moon is declining, let it hang longer in the sky by drawing a crescent. Maybe you need the night for an enemy or an activity. Maybe you just want to do some resource farming. Crescent works perfectly for this. While the two techniques don’t have specific uses beyond that, those same uses are so essential to the game that they couldn’t be ranked lower.
Galestorm is perhaps the most powerful of the celestial brush techniques simply because of the huge range of uses it has. Simply put, it allows you to control the wind. Drawing a spiral from left to right or the opposite blows the wind in that direction, and the size of the spiral determines the direction. Draw a spiral outward and the wind blows in front of you instead. This is used in countless puzzles and fights.
Fires can be extinguished briefly, projectiles can be thrown out of their path. Flying enemies can be pinned to the ground, water lilies can be pushed along the water’s edge. And once upgraded, even more is possible. With the whirlwind technique, several small tornadoes can be summoned that damage enemies and knock them back. And probably, there are a lot of other uses as well, as it relates to just about every element of gameplay and brush technique.
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