Okami was one of those games that I always wanted to play, but never got around to it. By the time the 360 and PS3 came out, my PS2-playing days were pretty much over. Luckily, Okami gets the high definition treatment and a release on the PS3 with Okami HD. After playing the HD remake, I have to say I have really been missing out.
Okami takes place in the old land of Nippon. An ancient evil has been released on the world and it is up to the sun goddess Amaterasu, in the form of a legendary wolf, to free the world from the curse and stop the evil for good.
Okami takes some elements of other adventure games, particularly The Legend of Zelda, and adds its own unique flavor to the mix. The combat feels more action based than anything else, and the puzzles and environmental traversing all utilize one of the most unique features of the game: the Celestial Brush. Using the brush, you can stop time and write on the canvas that is the game itself. You see, Okami is seen much like a painting. Everything is hand drawn as if a painting had come to life. Amaterasu has the ability to use this brush that can alter the world in her favor. Drawing a circle in the sky may create a sun, turning night into day; scribbling across a body of water may create a bridge to cross. The mechanic not only helps with the game play, but also looks beautiful.
The combat and exploration never get difficult. There may be some enemies that will have to be slashed with the brush before they can take damage, or you may have to hit an enemy in the back in order to defeat them, but nothing is ever a difficult task. The camera can become a little bothersome in combat scenarios, but it is never game breaking.
You really never get stumped on where to go or what to do, either. The game does a great job of telling you exactly what you need to do in order to succeed. In fact, it tells you almost too many times. There were a number of times I wanted the game to just shut up and let me do what I needed to do.
Freeing the world of the darkness and accomplishing certain goals will reward Amaterasu with Praise Points to spend on upgrading health, ink and other stats. Truth be told, the game is so easy when it comes to combat, that you could go the entire game without upgrading a single thing, and still have no trouble with it. It’s almost too easy at times.
The story and overall presentation is very nice and light-hearted. The deep Japanese lore and comical characters give off a bit of adolescent charm that really sets the entire tone of the game. It takes itself seriously, but the characters keep it fresh. The cut scenes can get rather long-winded and after a while you just want the game to let you play it.
The HD upgrade really makes this game look amazing. I will go as far as to say that this is one of the best HD remakes I have played. The look of the game was beautiful before, but in 1080p on a large LED screen, it looks absolutely stunning. The animations and over exaggerated colors flow like liquid and really impress me when seen in succession.
The game offers PlayStation Move support which I, unfortunately, can not comment on, but I can safely say that playing with a standard controller works just fine.
If you have played Okami before, or if you are interested in it now that the remake is here, there is no doubt in my mind, you really need to pick this game up. I usually don’t say this, but this is more of an experience than it is a game. The story is charming, the visuals are beautiful, and the presentation makes me smile from ear to ear. This is one of the better HD upgrades and well worth the time and money. I can not suggest Okami enough.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.