Of Wolf and Manhandling

[Originally posted on 1Up.com]

After playing Okami for over a month now I still have some way to go before seeing the end. The game states I've been playing for over 46 hours, but that's not actually true. That's more like the time the game has been on for, since it stores the elapsed time between loading and saving a game, an I will usually take a break to go make some coffee or check the Internet or what not, but still I've been playing for close to 40 hours at least.

This is a great game (I'm going to hold off on writing a review 'till I've finished it though), much like with the Zelda games I've played in recent years (things where different back with the original TLoZ and Link's Adventure) this game is so long that after this many hours of play I really feel I need a break from it. Although I really like the art style - the environments and characters are a bit too similar to keep it interesting after this many hours. I feel I really am not appreciating it as much anymore.

At first I was planning on finishing up Okami with some margin before Twilight Princess comes out (the Wii is still three weeks off here in Europe >_<). However if I force myself to finish Okami now, it's not going to be as enjoyable as it could be, so today I've decided to go back to playing God Hand.

Going from playing a God to smacking around dudes in lederhosen with my godly limb is quite a change, and definitely a welcome one. God Hand is not only showing homage to beat-em-ups of old, it IS truly old-school beat-em-up goodness. As the last game to come out of Clover Studio, God Hand could hardly be further removed from it's sibling Okami. Everything from the surf-rock music, the bizarre off-kilter humour to the almost non-existent and completely pointless story to - most imporantly - the intense and much more challenging fighting system (good thing too as this is what the game is all about...) makes God Hand a very different game. And still, they are both original IP:s and neither of them is even close to following the mainstream of gaming, instead forging out new and exiting territory. It's a shame that Clover Studios is being closed, because even if it's mostly a re-structuring of the organization, I think the mentality of the studio will be lost as the employees are assimilated into the mother company, and it's back to churning out "safe" games, not that that has to be a bad thing, I mean just look at RE4, Lost Planet or Dead Rising, it's just a shame if this marks the end of Capcom taking chances on odd-ball ideas... but I digress, I've already ranted about Clovers death. Back to the here and now:

I guess maybe it's a good thing that I'll have some Okami left to saviour when that new-console-vibe fades away from the Wii (tjeh right!)... Like I hinted at, I did the same thing with Link's Awakening and The Wind Waker, after many hours of play I just had to put them aside in order to make them enjoyable to finish. After playing through about half of Wind Waker I put it aside for six months or so before going back to finish it, and it made the game much better in my opinion. Then, of course there's the Zeldas I never went back to: Oracle of Seasons, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time (although this is probably because of the hardware shift that occurred in conjunction with me playing them. Oracle was on the end of the GB Colors life cycle, I bought A Link to the Past for the GBA towards the end of that systems life cycle and Ocarina of Time... well I got that on the bonus disc that came with my pre-ordered Wind Waker and I just had too many newer games to play rather than some ugly old N64 game...).

So which category will Twilight Princess end up in? My money is on the former, I don't see myself plowing through it without taking a longer hiatus to play something completely different, but I definitely think I'll come back and finish it. With a play-through looking to be in excess of 80 hours... this may require more than one pause though.

Now, it's time to abuse the DualShock2 some more...

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