I'm all about RPGs, especially those that try to push the envelope in some way. OKAGE: SHADOW KING is a good example of this, as it uses zany humor to overcome its shortcomings. It is the story of a boy who saves his sister by allowing the Devil to become his shadow. Now you're his slave and get to help him take over the world.
If you think this sets up a very humorous situation between your character and the Devil (Stan), you'd be right. OKAGE uses a lot of humor to keep the game fresh. Stan is hilarious, but the biggest problem is that some of the other characters are very flat. It's like a great job was done translating (from the original Japanese) for Stan but it seems that they slacked off on the rest of the characters. Still, the Japanese humor is quite good and keeps the game very entertaining.
The comedy of the game continues as you interact with other characters. Nobody realizes who Stan is and they just think it's a cool trick that your character does with his shadow. This in turn annoys Stan to no end. You also have plenty of witty one-liners you can use on people. In one situation, I was about to leave for the circus and I asked my character's father to explain something technical to me. After I couldn't butt in, the game fast-forwarded two hours and the circus was long over.
Now, once you get into the traditional elements of the RPG such as battle, the comedy continues. While the zany names get old, as well as the dialogue, the game is pretty funny overall.
As far as the gameplay itself, there is a really repetitive battle system. I got very annoyed at the fights after a while. To make it worse, as you get deeper into the game, fights begin to take the place of the comedy. Instead of moving towards the game's strong point, we begin to move towards the weak area.
The graphics are a tad bit outdated. They're pretty bland and somewhat repetitive. There are also some camera issues that really should have been resolved. The soundtrack is great, but again somewhat repetitive.
OKAGE can appeal to anyone. But the gameplay isn't there to back it up. If you have a weekend, pick it up at Blockbuster and play it for a while. But you won't want to pick it up again.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: Teen
Developer: Zener Works
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: B+
Reviewer's Wild Card: A