We are just one week away from Christmas, so this week I am going to shift my focus over to some games that have the potential of being overlooked for looking and coming off as too “cute.” These three games are gifted with good, sometimes even great, story lines as well as gameplay that is fun to experience over and over again. So take a seat and enjoy this weeks 12 Games of Christmas.
12 Games of Christmas: Okami
Okami was released on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Wii back in 2008. It is an action game that feature an extremely unique art style that looks like Japanese brush strokes created it. The end result of this design choice is a breathtakingly beautiful one that works for each area of the world within the game. However, just looking at the cover art can brush the viewer with a bit of cuteness. You see a strange white wolf on the front, with colorful images (including one of a heart) on the back. While the wolf on the cover does look a bit intimidating, it still runs the risk of coming off as a “cute” animal video game.
The story of Okami is one that is not to be taken so lightly. That white wolf on the cover is the game’s main character, the sun goddess Amaterasu. The game is based off of Japanese folklore, and you get to play through the story of Amaterasu on her journey to bring life back to the world. You are accompanied by a tiny creature, called Issun, who acts as your companion and guide on your travels. As you journey on, you meet other celestial beings who grant you new powers. To get you through the worlds, you must master the art of the brush to draw the appropriate symbols in order to summon certain forces.
While some of Okami’s characters may be cute, the game is still filled with intense and shocking moments. The story is powerful. It is one of growth and learning, and some of the settings are downright dark and dismal. One such level is the infamous sunken ship level where you will be haunted and chased by eerie foes. Even though this entry to 12 Games of Christmas is a little on the old side, it still holds up and is available for purchase today.
I feel like quite a few people probably walk past Ni no Kuni on store shelves or turn away because it looks like a childish games. Cute little monsters roam around the back, a young boy is (sometimes) seen pondering over an open book and a strange little yellow dude looms over his shoulder with a lantern hanging from his nose. One of the game’s two main covers showcases this “cute” aspect more than the other and that can be extremely misleading.
If you walk into Ni no Kuni without hearing about it or reading a review, you may highly underestimate the game. It revolves around a young boy named Oliver who must travel to another world with his new fairy friend Mr. Drippy. Mr. Drippy’s world is in danger, and he needs Oliver’s help to save it from a dark being known as Shadar. Oliver is reluctant though, due to a recent tragedy in his life (I won’t spoil it for you), but Mr. Drippy is certain that the tragedy can be fixed if Oliver travels to his world. Thus begins an epic adventure through a stunningly beautiful world.
You make many new friends as you travel with Oliver through the world. Some travel with you, while others support you from afar as thanks for saving them from their broken hearts (a horrible fracture of one’s personality at the hands of Shadar). Along with those friends, you have the chance to become friends with monsters you defeat in battle, who will join your side to fight against the darkness of the world. These monsters can be leveled up and transformed into more powerful beings in a similar manner to Pokemon. Many of the game’s mysteries will unfold before your eyes, and many will shock and lead you to tears with their power and maturity.
Despite it’s sometimes light cover art, this is not a game to be taken lightly. Its story is powerful, covering numerous characters’ struggles through life in an incredibly realistic manner. These characters will likely become one with your own heart, and their stories will stay with you through the years. If you are interested in this entry to the 12 Games of Christmas, check out your local video game store. It is not uncommon to find a copy for the PlayStation 3 for around $20.
The final game on this week’s 12 Games of Christmas is the recently released reboot of Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire. After a couple years of outcry from fans requesting the remakes to be made, Nintendo fulfilled their wishes and released these two new titles. Even though these are two separate games, the story lines are nearly identical, deviating mainly in which Pokémon are catchable in each game, the villainous organization you face off against, and the main Legendary Pokémon. Because of that, I am counting the two games as one due to the fact that the deciding factor is the player’s personal preference.
Pokémon ORAS sets you as a new Pokémon trainer in the land of Hoenn. As the child of a gym leader, you are off on a journey to become the Pokémon champion and learn the secrets of Mega Evolution. Along the way, you will meet both friend and foe as you get dragged into a conflict between Team Magma and Team Aqua. One team wishes to reduce the amount of land in Hoenn, the other wishes to reduce the amount of water in Hoenn. The clash between these two teams causes two legendary Pokémon to awaken who then fight in a battle that could end all of Hoenn. It is up to you and your team of Pokémon to stop them on the road to becoming a champion.
The Pokémon franchise is one that has been loved for years, and this new entry to the series is no different. Despite the adorable look of many of the Pokémon, with Pokémon Amie making many of them even more adorable, it is still a game that holds up against all other “cute” titles. You grow as a young trainer with the smallest of Pokémon into a champion who is strong and fearless enough to take on a force that could easily kill you. Not to mention some of the downright creepy Pokédex entries that some Pokémon have. If this sounds like the kind of 12 Games of Christmas journey you are looking for, then hit up your local video game retailer.
by Jen Galik
Edited by: Avery Osborn
Don’t Just Be Fit. Be Gamer Fit.