Okage: Shadow King
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
SCEI
Developer
Zener Works
Genre
RPG
ESRB Rating
Violence, Mild Language
Grade
The Good

• Off-beat character design
• Good sense of humor
• Polygonal towns look good

The Bad

• Sadistic loading times
• Unfriendly camera
• Battles are weak and fairly repetitive

 
Grade
C

Okage: Shadow King is a quirky tale about a young boy by the name of Ari whose shadow becomes possessed by Stan, The Evil King. From this point, he must help Stan locate the imposter Evil Kings from other towns so he can regain his powers and finally leave Ari's shadow. While Stan continually refers to Ari as his slave, the young boy's sarcastic nature often undermines the demon's plans.

Okage immediately shines in it's style and design. The characters seem taken straight from A Nightmare Before Christmas, each with their own dark, whimsical design. The menu's are a modern change of pace from the RPG standard. Also, the conversations (especially Ari's sarcastic comments) are fairly humorous. Outside of the funny comments, though, the story is predictable and thin in points.

Once you start into the actual gameplay and exploration you start to see where Okage runs into some sore spots. The towns are beautifully constructed and are fun to explore. But, once you decide to enter a building, you'll start to notice one of the major flaws of this game: the loading. Instead of waiting a second to enter a room, you're waiting two or three. Leaving a building or a town takes even longer. There's even loading during combat. Finish off an enemy and you might be waiting a second or two for the victory dance to load and a few seconds for the game to load after the Experience Gained screen.

One of the nicer aspects of the game - the presence of on-screen enemies - is faulted by the in-game camera. Your character can be running through the outside world when the camera will follow in behind him, reducing your ability to avoid the on-screen enemies that happen to materialize right before you.

Once in battle, you'll come to realize that there aren't a lot of enemy variety and even less in the way of combat options. Until the characters gain a few levels, there really isn't any decent skills or magic to be used, leaving the player few options but to select attack and just duke it out until your enemies are defeated.

It's a real shame that Okage: Shadow King didn't turn out to be a lot better. This game easily had the potential to be a quirky, enjoyable turn-based RPG, but it's thin story, shallow characters and less-than-inventive battle system is only made worse by the excessive loading. I would suggest that if you are interested in this game, give it a rental. Only those hard-up for a new RPG will want to play this for too long.

- - Vane

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