Okami HD Review
Console(s): PlayStation 3
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
Rating: T (Blood/Gore, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Use of Tobacco)
Embrace The Beauty of Nature
Back when Okami first came out in 2006 for the PS2, the game received amazing criticism from major publications but didn’t do well with sales figures. Then the game was given a second chance when it got ported to the Nintendo Wii thanks to developer Ready At Dawn. Once again, Okami did exceptionally with reviews but failed to capture many of the audience. Now for a third time, Amaterasu and his tiny pal Issun make their debut on the PlayStation 3. Does this port over match the quality of the previous ones? No… it far surpasses them thanks to the HD makeover. Okami HD is how the game was meant to be seen.
I still own my copy of the original Okami for the PS2 and only rented the Wii version but I can say with 100% certainty that Okami HD is my favorite by far. Not because it adds some insane new features (though it does make use of the Move and adds trophies) but because of how gorgeous the game looks. Everything you love about Okami remained the same; the story still has Amaterasu and Issun traveling across Nippon to stop demonic forces and uncovering secrets, the gameplay still has Zelda like elements but it all looks and feels 10X better. Capcom increased the beauty of Okami by injecting the sumi-e art style with HD graphics; making it a sight to behold.
As I mentioned before, Okami plays out similarly to The Legend of Zelda series in many ways but is ultimately its own game. The one thing players might notice is how the text color will change when something important is being said. More important is the way Okami plays and how closely it relates to Zelda. By mixing action, puzzles and platforming into Okami, the resemblance to The Legend of Zelda series is something that cannot be ignored. At the same time, the game is unique to Okami thanks to the sumi-e style artwork and The Celestial Brush. By pulling up a canvas, players can draw onto the screen which is useful for puzzles and combat. For example, if a player draws a straight line through an enemy or a breakable object, a slashing motion will occur and cut the object or enemy in two. The use of the celestial brush isn’t all powerful however; it consumes ink and must have ink in order to be used.
There are approximately 13 heavenly constellations Amaterasu must find in order to gain all of her powers back. These powers become available via the celestial brush which in turn will allow players to maneuver through the game more fluidly. I love the celestial brush mechanic because of how different it is. No other game has made use of such a method until Okami; it definitely made me feel like an “artist” with the brush. Amatersasu can also be leveled up in a manner of speaking. Okami is filled with side quests like finding special demons to slay or feeding animals and each of these quests will net players “praise”. Since Amaterasu is a goddess, its only natural to level up by the amount of praise that is received. By doing quests, players can increase Amaterasu’s health, amount of ink that can be carried, a pouch that saves Amaterasu from death and even how much money can be carried. The first things I increased were the ink and health upgrades to ensure I could deal out damage as well as take it just in case.
Overall, Okami is the same as it has always been. I didn’t get a chance to try Okami with the PlayStation Move because I don’t have it but the Move is definitely not essential to have a great time here. Was it a wise choice for Capcom to bring Okami back for a third time? Most definitely because not only is this another chance for the game to get more recognition but the high definition graphics really help this title stand out. This is one of those moments where I can support the theory that better graphics do lead to a better gaming experience.
Even though Okami is a near perfect game, it does have some minor flaws that hinder it from receiving a perfect score. Okami HD has the same issues that the other versions did: uneven difficulty and that god awfully sound when characters speak. It sounds like a poor man’s attempt at the muffled sounds from Charlie Brown. In a game where dialogue is told all through texts and you have to read through that terrible sound; it gets annoying real quick.
- Amazing solid title that can offer up to 60 hours of play
- A visual treat unlike anything to come before or after it especially with the 1080p boosting
- Fun, entertaining and unique
- Uneven difficulty
- Terrible computer-generated voices
The pros easily outweigh the cons here. I highly recommend Okami HD to those who have already played/own the game and to the people that haven’t experience it yet. Even though it is a download only game, that shouldn’t stop you from giving this game a shot. I’m one of those people that dislikes buying two copies of the same game yet I bought Okami HD anyway. Don’t miss out (again) on an impressive action adventure title that is still making waves even 6 years after its first release.
Value Verdict: For $19.99 on the PSN, you can’t go wrong with this purchase. Totally bargain here.