After some 40 + hours of gameplay, I finally beat Okami and saved the world of Nippon a few nights ago. And lemme tell you, it was epic. Yes, this game is clearly long, but it rarely played that way. And if you're not borderline obsessive-compulsive while playing video games (and I am, because I want everything unlocked) you can probably knock it out in about 30-35 hours.
But no matter your approach it will be worth it. The story of this game is amazing, hitting a huge range of emotions and even getting some possible wetworks out of the player. It also has a fantastic sense of humor, showing that, yes, silent protagonists can have personalities and their in-game guide need not drive you insane. In this way the game shines above anything in the Zelda and/or Mario series and deserves the franchise treatment.
The combat gets slightly repetitive, as most enemies fall into one of about 10 categories. The boss fights, however, play very differently and pose quite a challenge ... of a sort.
While the bosses are pretty tough to eliminate with the most extreme of prejudices, and though they can smack you around a good bit, they're probably going to have a hard time really threatening your existence. There's so much health you can store/build up in Okami that, once you put in about five hours your life will probably never be threatened. I know that allowed me to basically ugly up every boss fight and go in swinging, knowing I'd outlast the rotten jerks trying to muck up Nippon.
Of course, this does sort of make sense. You're playing as a sun goddess in the body of a wolf, so you should be a paragon of destruction for the forces of good. That you do eventually reach this stage for more than five minutes is a plus.
Several reviews have criticized the game as easy, but its puzzles and boss fights are tougher than anything I've played this year. No, it doesn't have the difficulty a first-person shooter does, and the health abundence takes some thrill off, but several puzzles are diabolical, and finding all the extras is a huge, huge chore.
With the game complete, I'm giving it an actual five buttons out of five. It's the best game I've played this year and manages to knock Metroid Prime: Corruption from the top spot as my favorite Wii game ever.