I didn’t like Okami (for about three hours)

I’ve been playing between two and five hours of Okami a night, and I think I’m about halfway through as of this writing.

I’m past the Big Plot Tw… I probably shouldn’t say that.  I’m past what seems to have been at least the FIRST Big Plot Twist.  More specifically, if this were your average 20-hour game, I’m past the point where I’d have expected ending credits and unanswered questions designed to sucker me into buying the sequel.

I don’t know WHY this comes to mind all of a sudden, but my copy of Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories (AKA: Kingdom Hearts 1.5) just arrived from Amazon.

Sniping at Square-Enix aside, back to Okami.

In the manual, you find out that your character will at some point in the game gain the ability to double jump, which is mostly a device that’s used to scatter stuff throughout the early levels, just barely out of reach, so you have a reason to come back to them – the ability is completely optional in the early levels.

It was when I got to the point where I NEEDED to be able to double-jump to progress that the trouble started, because I couldn’t.  I kind of expected to be given the ability at the point where I needed it, so getting to that point and then not being able to was, well, sort of like walking into a door.

As I was running around trying to figure out how to pull off this suddenly-essential move, I ran into an NPC with a helpful hint – to learn to double jump, I would need to go to the dojo and train.

Now, I’d been to the dojo a few times already, and I’d purchased three of the four abilities available there, so I figured that there would suddenly be more entries in the moves list that I could select from now that I needed them.

There weren’t.  It was still the three I’d learned already and a fourth which I had never learned because it was really expensive, about five times the price of the next most expensive ability.

Well, says I, obviously I just need to buy the fourth ability and then I’ll unlock more.   Time to farm up some cash.

Buying this skill had a price tag of 100000.

When I hit 99999, I hit the limit of my coin purse.

It IS possible to buy a bigger coin purse.  Problem is, you buy it with “praise”, which you mostly get by doing nice things for people.  I didn’t have much praise stockpiled, and I had been pretty good about doing nice things for people and feeding animals and so on and so forth so it’s not like I’d walked away from lots of opportunities to accumulate praise.

It took me a couple of hours of running around and doing quests for NPCs to get my praise up to the point where I could get a bigger coin purse, and it was almost all doing quests that I had deliberately skipped because they looked annoying.  Most of them were, by the way, and just to add insult, only about half of them actually gave me praise.

Still, I got enough praise to increase the size of my coin purse, dropped the 100k on that final ability, and… absolutely nothing unlocked.

I said some bad words and started thinking about it rationally.

An NPC had told me to go to the dojo.  Maybe he meant a dojo a little closer to him?  I’d had to backtrack an awful long way to get back to this dojo, after all.

It turns out that there’s another dojo, and that you can learn the double jump skill at THAT dojo for a very reasonable 20k, and if I hadn’t dropped 100K on learning what turned out to be a completely optional skill, I would have had that 20K and more besides.

I rolled up my virtual sleeves, got back to cash farming, and it wasn’t TOO long before I was able to double jump with the best of them, able to get a bit further in the game, and considerably less frustrated.

But, for a few hours there, the game actually did manage to go from “wow, this is really pretty and the music is so peaceful and the characters have Charm To Spare” to “the developers hate me, personally, and I’m starting to hate them back.”

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