Okami was a gorgeous game that came out for the PS2 in 2006. I still remember buying it at Gamestop: my best friend and I couldn’t afford the game, so we split it 50/50 and shared the game until we both beat it. Then it just…ended up…at my house. Okami was known for its gorgeous design and beautiful blending of Japanese folklore with an original tale, and it is one of my favorite games of all time.
Imagine my delight when I heard they would be making the HD version for PS3! I’m happy to report that after playing the HD version of Okami, I am still in love with this game!
The player is Ammy, the wolf avatar of Amaterasu, the sun goddess. Ammy and her pal Issun must journey to find all of Ammy’s lost brush techniques while destroying the evil darkness that threatens the land of Nippon (historical Japan). Along the way you will play puzzles, solve mysteries, and meet hilarious characters with silly things on their heads. The game is an action/platformer puzzle game with RPG elements in that you can customize your weapons and stats.
The story is fun and interesting, with some strange (but not in a bad way) twists. There are also numerous callbacks to Japanese folklore and culture, which I loved. There are even some easter eggs. Here’s a hint: go get some Cherry Cakes from Mrs. Orange for an awesome surprise.
For those who played the game on the PlayStation 2, the question you most likely want answered is: how does it look? For some games, the HD upgrade makes a world of noticeable difference, but to me, I can’t really see a difference in the HD version. The original game was already polished and pretty. There were no dim colors or edgy polygons in the land of Nippon. I showed off a gameplay video of Okami HD in action, and what I mentioned there still holds true.
Is the game lovely, a feast for your eyes? Bottom line: yes, yes, yes.
The gameplay is pretty addicting. You have the main quests and side quests, which follow the standard format of running around and doing things, but there are also mini-games that are more like puzzles and some that are more like old-school 2D games. There are also secrets all over the place, prompting you to spend hours in certain areas just to be sure you found them all. The game isn’t actually open world, but the skills you gain and hidden pathways to find will make you feel like it is as you gain more and more abilities.
Much of the story hinges on your use of the celestial brush, a tool with which Ammy draws symbols that cause actual changes to the game world. For example, drawing a slash mark on a tree will cut it down. That this game was developed before motion controls came into popularity is rather amazing.
This is an easy game to get into, although younger children may not have the attention span for all the text at the beginning of the game.
New for HD
Trophies! Yay! Now everyone will know that I beat Hayabusa at turnip pickin’! I don’t know why you trophy lovers need them so much, but they are there and they are not all based on things you have to do to progress the story, which I appreciated.
You can also use the Move to play. Some of you may remember that a version of Okami was released for the Nintendo Wii a few years back. Quite a few folks complained that it was actually too hard to play the game with the Wii, although a game involving drawing should be right at home with our motion controllers. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Move, so I couldn’t test it out.
I asked my good friend how he felt about it, and he found one of the hardest parts to be making straight lines. Other than that, he said it seems simple enough.
I heard one or two people grumble that this game is $20. Please do not grumble, this game is worth every penny. Gorgeous graphics, great characters, and a beautiful story: what more do you need?