Review | Okami HD
Six years ago, we were shown a visually striking, huge world based on Japanese mythology called Okami. Developed by the now defunct Clover studios, we were given a release that not only captured our imaginations but also captured out hearts and minds.
The biggest draw to Okami is its art style. Painted with historical designs from classic Japanese paintings, you get immersed in the world of Okami and are able to take part in it. Just witnessing these hand painted backdrops and character designs places you directly in control of a world devoid of color and gives you the power to bring it all back to life.
Following classic gameplay storylines, you have to save the world from an eternal evil. You begin the story by witnessing a classic hero archetype defeat the evil hydra-like monster known as the Orochi. The demon was locked away until a mischevious person who doesn’t believe in the supernatural releases the ancient evil. So, after a hundred years, the wolf-god Amaterasu is awoken and it is up to you to send the dragon-headed Orochi back to its slumber.
Even though this is an update to the classic game, without ever knowing about the first version, you will be happy to know that this version holds up amazingly over time. Unlike other games that show their age in mechanics and style, the HD graphics, trophy support, and inclusion of PlayStation Move controls keep this version up to date with all of the current titles available on the market today.
Okami is an action adventure game rich with crisp beauty and colorful design. You will be in control of Amaterasu as you run around the world with you helpful friend bringing color back to the world using your mystical brush. It might sound a little cheesy at first but when you finally get the hang of it, the entire game opens up and you find yourself wanting to paint every object that you can. Along the way, there are also hundreds of objects and side missions that will keep you occupied for hours.
The fully immersive world will allow you to run to almost anywhere that you can see. Of course, it won’t all be available to you from the beginning. You will have to acquire new brush strokes that will grant you special powers in order to reach these areas. There are thirteen different powers that you will be able to obtain from the other gods in the world of Okami. Each power is represented by a constellation of another animal god. When you obtain the new moves, you will be treated to a somewhat comical interaction between Amaterasu and the other gods before they grant you with their power. As you gain these creative painting abilities, you will be able to access new areas which will bring you closer to your end goal of defeating the Orochi.
The battle mechanics in this game are fairly straight forward. You will see the evil talisman’s floating around the world and if you approach them, you will be placed in a small arena to face off against whatever mix of enemies that you are dealt. The intriguing part to battles are for the most part that the enemies all have pattern attacks that you will have to be able to learn in order to counter. Otherwise, you will find yourself stuck in a very dangerous situation you might now be able to get out of.
The best way to prepare for these battles is to get new weapons and strengthen your current ones. As you use the money that you gain from battles you will be able to purchase upgrades and get items that will help you gain the edge in battle. What I found really great about these weapons is that each one has its own personality which can be used to your advantage in various situations.
The much needed trophy support and the Move peripheral are also a welcome addition to this revision. The Move control Scheme worked great with the game but after a few hours of playing it, I just found myself wanting to go back to using the standard controller because I’m lazy and my arms get tired. So in the end, the Move is a nice addition, but it feels a little gimmicky.
The Musical score feels like a perfect fit to the world, but the biggest complaint with the game that I have with it is the voice-overs, it isn’t anything intelligible but it is just a buzzing of nonsensical sounds which is very similar to the way that the characters of Animal Crossing speak. The constant buzzing made me want to just skip the cutscenes but I found it easier to manage by simply turning the volume down.
Okami is a much welcomed re-hash of an amazing game that many people never got the opportunity to play. There have been multiple versions of speculation to why the game never achieved the great expectations that were set forth from its publisher and developer. Even though the original, was one of the highest rated games of the year, sales never took off. I find myself to be one of those who never got the chance to pick it up. It could have been attested to the timing of the release coming out at the end of a console cycle; it could also have had something to do with the lack of support from the publisher and marketing. The bottom line is that not enough people sought out this treasure and it now resides in a class with other games like Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil as titles that are amazing games, but never gained the traction that they needed to keep their IP going.
If you have played it before, it might not make sense to play through the game all over. However, if you are like the millions of other players who haven’t had the chance to try this out, this is definitely the version to get. You get amazing graphics, great story, and a spectacular price of only 19.99 on the PSN.