Sunday, April 07, 2013

Shut up, Issun

There's one thing that's really making me struggle with Okami, and it's not an essential part of the game. It could easily be removed with very few changes needed to the rest, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who'd argue for keeping this... "feature" in.

But in my opinion, Issun's got to go.

There's no shortage of powerful women in Okami; they're almost all business owners, powerful priestesses (in a story where that position gives them actual magic powers), heads of government - both local and national - and, in the case of the player character, an actual Goddess with (eventually) command over life, the elements and even time.

So I cannot fathom why Issun is so overtly and aggressively sexist. One character, a priestess and advisor to the Queen of Nippon, is exclusively referred to as "Busty Babe". Nearly every line of dialogue Issun speaks to her makes some reference to her "melons" (his word). And this comes after the previous 12 hours of Issun letching over wood sprites, saké brewers and a girl found locked in a prison cell.

There's probably some argument to be made that his outspoken sexuality is compensating for size (he's less than two centimeters tall, and visible only in silhouette for the majority of the game), but that seems like a desperate joke to try and excuse an attitude that's inexcusable.

It's genuinely making it difficult to play the game. Since Amaterasu doesn't speak - she's a wolf, after all - Issun is largely left to carry out conversations for both of them, so there are very few dialogue scenes where his… perspective isn't front and centre. And most of this takes place in plot scenes too, which you can't skip or even speed up.

If a game is going to speak for me, I'd prefer it not to take such an embarrassingly hostile tone towards the majority of its own characters.

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