Okami HD

The original Okami, released on the PS2 back in 2006, received various accolades both in Japan and in the Western gaming market due to its unique art direction and hypnotic visuals. Unfortunately, Okami’s success was hampered by the fact that it was released shortly before the PS3 arrived on the scene - a factor that resulted in a low-key marketing campaign, poor sales within Japan, and the sad demise of its developers, Clover Studio. Despite all of this though, Okami earned a cult-like status and punctuated the end of the PS2 era with a loud exclamation point.

Okami has now been given the magical rebirth it deserves. It has been reincarnated on the PS3 and is looking better than ever, thanks to an HD overhaul. Furthermore, the game even benefits from today’s motion control technology, which adds an extra level of charm and accessibility.

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Okami is an adventure game set sometime in mythical Japanese history. Combining numerous legends and folklore, it tells the story of how the world was saved from darkness by a goddess in the form of a great white wolf, named Amaterasu. ‘Okami’ translated from Japanese literally means ‘great spirit’ or ‘wolf’.

Although one of Okami’s unique aspects was playing as a non-speaking animal character, the game’s most memorable attribute was the distinctive sumi-e-inspired cel-shaded graphics that gave the game a memorable aesthetic. Okami looks like a living, breathing, water-colour painting, complete with fluid brush strokes, and a soft colour palette that makes love to your hippocampus.

All of this eye-candy gets the attention it deserves here on the PS3, where the detail has been painstakingly recreated. The frame-rate has been increased dramatically as well, allowing players to truly appreciate the finesse and beauty throughout the game. Looking back at the PS2 version (which was impressive for its time) it is staggering to see Okami in such a crisp and vibrant form.

Most of Okami’s gameplay is a typical platformer broken down into three areas. Combat, where you will be able to use weapons and special attacks to dispatch a variety of ‘ghostly’ enemies, solving basic puzzles or completing side quests, and - occasionally - basic role-playing aspects such as meeting merchants, upgrading dojos, and finding special items.

But Okami’s main attraction, apart from the visuals, lies in a feature known as the Celestial Brush. This is where players can pause the game and call up a canvas that allows them to draw symbols and characters on the screen. Normally this would be done with the left analogue stick, but Okami HD benefits from the additional support of the Move wand to literally ‘air paint’ symbols as if holding a paintbrush. Unlike the clunky Wii port a couple of years back, the motion controls feel fairly natural here. However I personally preferred the traditional approach of using the analogue stick.

Okami has a variety of spells (or miracles) to unlock throughout the game, and each one plays a part in combat or solving puzzles. For example, you could summon a strong wind by drawing a loop, cut enemies in twain by drawing lines, or fix bridges by painting in new planks. There are plenty of Celestial brush techniques to explore (each inspired by the Chinese zodiac) and later in the game you’ll even be able to create fire out of thin air. Cleverly though, the game limits the use of Celestial brushes by each one requiring a certain amount of ink, which must be restored over time.

Naturally fans of the original Okami will want to try this out, if only for nostalgia purposes. Apart from the Move controller support and typical in-game trophies to collect, the game hasn’t changed much at all in content. Meanwhile those who can’t remember the PS2 classic, this game could be worth the purchase if you enjoyed titles like The Legend of Zelda or even Shadow of the Colossus to a lesser extent. Okami is beautiful to witness and plays like a true classic. It’s definitely a worthy addition to today’s PSN line-up.

Okami HD
"This is how Okami was meant to be"
- Okami HD
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (11)

Posted by Funk_Oddysey
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 10:26 AM
Sadly Im not much into downloadable games. I have played both the original and the Wii version and love this game, now its in HD, has move support & trophies I can't lie Im certainly interested.
Posted by KatalystaKaos
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 12:07 PM
Any info on release date, price & if there's any PSN Discount?
Posted by phantom
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 12:44 PM
31 October 2012, 12:07 PM Reply to KatalystaKaos
Any info on release date, price & if there's any PSN Discount?
It's out this week, but beyond that I'm not sure
Posted by Wozza
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 4:39 PM
One of the best games I have ever played (PS2) sadly I don;t have a PS3 or I'd be all over this!
Posted by Valsira
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 9:06 PM
Ooh might have to get this. I have it on PS2 but it's NTSC, borrowed one of those swap disc thingies off my friend for a bit but never finished it.
Posted by Koopa18
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 9:54 PM
Jealous of people with a PS3. Have it on Wii but still..
Posted by PeanutButterCup
On Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 11:04 PM
Never heard of it but it looks fantastic!
Posted by Jess
On Thursday 1 Nov 2012 6:11 PM
Looks awesome. I loved this on the PS2...
Posted by that_black_guy
On Thursday 1 Nov 2012 6:47 PM
Katalyst, it's something like $37.60, no discount and it's a 6ish gig download.

I've always wanted to try this game... will no doubt pick it up in the next week or so when I can be bothered topping my account up
Posted by Azurist
On Thursday 1 Nov 2012 9:44 PM
This review left out the most important distinctions over the Wii version: This version has the rice paper-like graphical filter from the original game, as well as restoring the original credit sequence to the end of the game, which was a major flaw in the Wii port seeing as it acts as a summary and conclusion to everything you do in the game. If you have a choice between consoles, this is the superior choice, hands down.
Posted by emetic
On Tuesday 6 Nov 2012 11:49 PM
Oh! I've wanted to play this for aaaaaaaaages.. now's my chance. :D