The 15 Greatest Women in Video Games

13Amaterasu (Ōkami)

amaterasu-mvc3Being the goddess of the sun in wolf form (i.e. a force of pure good in nature), Amaterasu doesn’t have much of a crisis of faith during the events of Ōkami, but anyone in her situation wouldn’t have time for that anyway, especially when the people she’s dealing with are demons from Japanese legend and Shinto spirituality. That’s what happens in this folklore-based Nippon (Japan) when a nonbeliever breaks the seal of Orochi (an eight-headed demon whose name lends itself to villains in loads of stories) and unwittingly converts the world into a soulless, blank canvas. Luckily, Amaterasu is called forth to restore peace and beauty with her “ink powers;” (for lack of a better term) unluckily, Orochi isn’t the worst danger she has to face.

One of the many wonderful things about Ōkami, other than the gorgeous cell-shading and the almost heartrending attention to detail, is that the player bonds with Amaterasu in an atypical way. Because she doesn’t speak, other than the occasional grunt, bark, or growl, this bond is formed through sharing in her experiences, such as running through a wide-open field with flowers springing up behind her, and feeling exactly the same stimulation she feels. There are a couple of other characters who aid her, including a sort of dialogue proxy who refers to her as “Ammy” (the purpose of which, besides being funny and unique, is to suggest aspects of Amaterasu’s personality), but most of what the player feels toward the wolf goddess is achieved in the same way many of our most meaningful moments actually play out: in lovely silence.

Despite her cosmically important mission, Amaterasu has no scruples about aiding a wandering samurai, a sea dragon, a sparrow princess, or a pack of warrior dogs, even if helping them isn’t convenient. Sure, that’s what you’re “supposed” to do in a game like this, but there’s an extra layer to those actions when we see how many of the godlike characters in this fiction routinely abuse their power. In other words, goddesses have to sidequest too.

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