Okage: The Shadow King
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 11/25/2004


Described to me, by somebody who will remain anonymous, as a cult classic in this manner: “…most people who played it liked it, but there are only eight of those people.” Well, now it’s nine.

Okage right from the start is different than most other RPGs. The graphics will probably be the first thing to mark this difference in your mind, while simultaneously being what causes most RPGers to avoid it, because it doesn’t look like a serious RPG. Well, with that perspective in your head when you being playing it, you quickly realize it is NOT a serious RPG. The graphics are perfect for the style of the game; cartoony, simple, and abstract. They lack the darker aspects of rival games, and also lack the details of major games like Final Fantasy, thus they could be preceived as too simple, and not good at all. but, the graphics do have their own charm, and the distance fading is a well done subtle addition to the overall appeal. Music is, for the most part, pretty good, and fitting for the mood. However, the music is a bit too repetitive and often times will become imprinted on your mind, leaving you forever in the mood that the song was attempting to heighten. For the length spent playing the game, although not as long as other RPGs, there should be a larger variety of songs.

Screen Shot
Some of the weird goings-on in the world of Okage

As you play through, the graphical style begins to grow on you, and the story only helps that process all the more. It begins pretty close to a typical kid’s life, running daily errands for his parents, and attempting to understand exactly what his grandma is talking about. But by a tragic turn of events, Ari’s (the hero) little sister becomes cursed with Pig Latin and is condemned to become the comic relief girl. In order to save his daughter, Ari’s father decides to enlist the help of an egocentric, arrogant has-been evil king, who goes by the name ‘Stan’ at the expense of Ari’s shadow.

Next you will find yourself, meeting all kinds of wannabe heroes and evil kings, battling the evils of beuocracy, and laughing as Evil King Stan does such menacingly evil deeds as hiding floor mats. No doubt you can tell that this is not a serious RPG although the jokes can seem slightly childish, they are nevertheless funny, and at times can be very hilarious.

As you go off on these bizarre journeys, you’ll no doubt witness ghosts of varying colors sporadically appearing. Touching a ghost will bring you into a battle; I for one prefer this style a bit more than randomly generated encounters, the ghosts randomly appear, but you can see them coming, which makes travelling a little less tedious. Battles, unlike most of the game, have little originality in them. They’re pretty much standard, wait for a bar to fill, then enter an attack. A couple pluses are Stan’s puzzles before a battle to allow him to help out, and menu pausing in the battle, so you can interrupt as an enemy is jumping towards you, and tell you character to defend just in time. After awhile, they begin to lose their finesse, since there’s little player interaction, and become somewhat boring.

Gameplay outside of the battles is fairly linear, with little wandering about. There are some small sidequests for you to stray off on, but for the most part they follow along the direct route of the story. The game’s divided up into seven chapters, each one consists mainly of running to a town, talking to people there, battling false evil kings to restore Stan’s might, and then running off to a new town. The dialogue between your characters throughout the chapters is very funny, even the descriptions of characters are funny, such as ‘man who believes in justice’. Ari, too, can add in amusing responses to whatever is going on around him.

Conclusion? Okage is an RPG that never even attempts to take itself seriously, but tries to keep a fun, light-hearted and overall entertaining atmosphere, and in the end, weren’t games originally meant for having fun? If you do seek for enterainment, then be sure to check out this game, for the price it was found at over here, $5, you can’t lose anything, at all.

-Valiant Warrior

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Good
Story Good
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Average
The Verdict: 6