Conquer your demons and you may conquer the world in this distinctly styled role-playing adventure for the PlayStation 2. Some have compared the look of this game to Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and the fluid, stop-motion appearance of the three-dimensional characters is not completely unlike that seen in seasonal television specials. OKAGE: Shadow King is not a holiday story, however, but a dark tale of polar opposites that questions basic notions of identity and essence.
Players take the role of Ari, a young man with a remarkable affliction. A powerful demon -- calling himself "Stan" -- has taken refuge in Ari's shadow and is becoming infused in the boy's life. To free both his demon and himself, Ari embarks on a dangerous and involved quest to rid the world of seven other rival demons. Though he suffers under the burden of playing host to Stan, Ari is also aided from time to time by his demon's powers and the two begin to forge a symbiotic relationship.
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Some dated dialogue and sometimes a lack of direction for where I'm supposed to go/what I'm supposed to do. I did like the charm of the visual style of the game and wanted to see more of how your character choices affected the game later, but I felt like I kept either getting stuck or bored which made it a chore. I may pick it back up later to finish it.
A classic fantasy rpg with Tim Burton aesthetics, quirky writing, and just a generally fun vibe. The story of a young generic protagonist boy getting sold off in a deal with the devil cause his parents will do anything to make sure their daughter won't become a comic relief character. Thus, you and Evil King Stan are thrust off onto an adventure to get rid of any imitators to the throne of evil so that Stan can take that evil power for himself.
There's a LOT to talk about with the story, but its important to address the gameplay. Iiiiits not great! Aggressive encounter rates from tedious enemies. The real issue with this is that the xp gained from enemies constantly shrinks the higher your level is and you'll be returning to this maps with the same small fry enemies pretty frequently. The dungeons are REALLY confusing and hard to navigate, forcing you to make a lot of return trips to the top level of a dungeon to heal up and replan your attack. Its often very frustrating and results in beating your head against the wall a lot. There's also often unclear story triggers and information on how to progress. Completely unplayable without a guide in many ways.
Despite that, I found it really addicting. Basically didn't put it down for the whole week, lots of sleepless nights as I finished schoolwork as quickly as possible to get back to it. Apparently the difficulty curve gets pretty bad, but I spent so much time running around in this world I was really high level by the end of the game. I had suspected that I was done with rpgs earlier this year, but with this and Fate/Extra I've learned that a solid story pace makes it really easy for me to commit to a long rpg in a much shorter time frame than six months. An exciting gem and worth a look! Stop here if that's all you need!
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The core plot twist of Okage is so incredibly good. Its doing these big deconstruction ideas about video game world back in 2001 and its doing them really well.
The game initially lets you think some of its early gimmicks are jokes. There's brief mentions of a Classification System, which seems to determine who's a Evil King and who's a Great Hero. It comes off as just a new version of Heros' Guild or Villains' Guild and you brush it off. But the parents concern that their daughter could be a "comic relief character" instead of a "noble princess" is very real. The classification system controls your fate, your personality, how you THINK. The entire world has been created so that an old weird father can play games with his daughter for eternity, in endless battles of good and evil for her entertainment. The characters can barely grapple or understand the truth because its too existentially horrifying to process. They have to rationalize it as "the protagonist boy will help us destroy the system so that we can win... something" because that's the only way to cope with being NPCs. And the protagonist doesn't come off lightly either: your generic heroic mime hero is so unmemorable, so easily projected onto, that he vanishes from everyone's existence for an entire chapter. You'll left wandering through someone else's playground, characters reciting generic NPC town lines for someone else's story. You don't even get random battles anymore. You just wander this barren landscape, unable to impact anything in this fantasy world. Only by giving your protagonist a more firm personality can he manifest in the world again and create actual change in the world. It just... works! Its really high concept and totally delightful. A feast of gaming ideas. What a good ass time.
It's a short RPG that shows its age, but the fun story, the funny writing, and the unique art style really do make it stand out. The box art itself was something that always got my attention, but I'm glad to have finally played the game. I'd recommend it if you've finally wanted to see what the fuss was about. There's better RPGs out there, but there's also plenty worse ones.
world and story are very interesting and fun, and the art-style is this strange japanese interpretation of a tim burton look. however, the gameplay is very basic and the "dungeons" themselves are boring and tedious. the meta-narrative and deconstruction concepts were the only things keepin me playing this game, so if that is enough for you then go ahead