(PlayStation Network)

Okami HD (PlayStation Network)

Game Review

Okami HD Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Katy Ellis

A game nearly fit for the Gods

In a time when sequels, prequels and HD remakes make up the majority of video game releases, we should start to ask ourselves: what really warrants a makeover? Okami is no stranger to the porting process, having been originally released for the PS2 in 2007, and then ported to the Wii in 2008 without even a major graphical overhaul. This latest rendering of Okami HD for the PlayStation Network, however, is a rare gem that earns its place on the current-gen console.

For those unacquainted with the story of Okami, the game revolves around Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess incarnated as a wolf and armed with a celestial brush. Her job is to defeat the eight-headed beast Orochi, restore peace, and bring tranquillity to the land of Nippon. Okami draws upon utopian visions of Japanese classical history and agrarian lifestyles, bursting with memorable characters full of charm, humour, and equal complexity. The juxtaposing roles of the game’s silent protagonist and his faithful and comedic companion Issun perfectly complement each other, providing the right balance of humour and elegance, much like Wolf Link and Midna in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Sadly, the repetitive, robotic voice-overs of various villagers and Gods blemish the overall immersion of the game, especially given you are unable to skip or even speed-up the many long cut-scenes full of pages and pages of text.

Back in 2008, Nintendo Life wrote in their Wii review, “…frankly if this game was re-mastered using super clean high definition graphics it would be almost too beautiful to play”, and they were right – 1080p Okami HD is undeniably stunning. The remake retains the gorgeous sumi-e ink and watercolour cel-shaded art style that it was first famous for, and enhances it, creating breath-taking landscapes which pull you deep into Okami's classical Japanese origins. Yet even though the HD remake aims to enhance the graphics and visuals, blurry background scenery is prevalent in the PSN update as well as bad ‘pop-in’, causing nearby objects and scenery to spring up out of nowhere.

Okami’s core gameplay is composed of small, rural Japanese towns to investigate, extensive fields and terrains to cross, and dungeons which are synonymous with classic adventure games. With each new area comes the opportunity for Amaterasu to expand her Godly skills by learning new celestial brush-strokes, equally providing players with a reason to backtrack and use these new skills where they previously couldn't. For example, towards the beginning of the game you will only know a few brush skills, and will encounter stretches of water which you cannot cross. However, once you have learnt how to craft lily pads on to the water's surface, you can backtrack to earlier areas and use your new skill to reach previously unobtainable treasures.

The combat sections involve brandishing your celestial brush in order to defeat the many monsters you encounter. If you run out of ink you can also fight using melee attacks, by equipping primary and sub-weapons each with different offensive and defensive abilities. While the battle scenes are executed fluidly, using a mixture of melee and celestial brush attacks, the on-screen meters and after-battle statistic summaries can be confusing for first-time players to interpret. Okami HD also offers players the option to use the PlayStation Move and Navigation controllers to make you feel like you are manipulating your very own celestial brush; however this is marred by high sensitivity, making it hard for the game to recognise certain shapes. Because of this we advise you to stick with your normal DualShock 3 controllers.

As an adventure game, Okami is bursting with content, with a main quest lasting around 40+ hours, lots of small side-missions, items to collect, lands to blossom, and weapons, ink pots, health, and other menus to upgrade. With so much going on, it’s often easy to forget the story’s main objectives. This confusion is not helped by the extremely long cut-scenes and gameplay areas broken up by loading screens.

As with most PS3 remakes, Okami HD provides players with a chance to collect Trophies. Sadly, the majority of these trinkets are awarded purely for completing essential story sections, and hardly ever for achieving something truly challenging.

Conclusion

Okami HD is a timeless classic, full of charm, subtle ingenuity, and beauty, remade in stunning HD, yet sadly it's embellished with some graphical issues. It's a must-have for first-time buyers, but offers little improvement for those who have already enjoyed all 40+ hours of the game on other platforms.

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User Comments (26)

get2sammybAdmin

#1

get2sammyb said:

I'm so, so tempted. The 40+ hour campaign puts me off, though. I hate not finishing games, and that's a serious commitment.

hydeks

#2

hydeks said:

i've always been interested in playing this game, and now it's HD it seems like the right time to get it, but for $15???!!!?? Hard to want it for that price :P

theblackdragonAdmin

#3

theblackdragon said:

@get2sammyb: I played the Wii version, and I felt about the same as you. I wound up shutting it off about 15 or so hours in and didn't go back to it at all until about six or eight months later when I got really, really sick and had nothing else to do but sit around and play video games. I had thought it would have been harder to get back into after all that time, but it was actually easy to pick back up and continue zooming right along, and I powered straight through it to the end of the game. Okami is damn good, and if you've never played it before, I'm sure it'll be worth every penny for you to pick up this version of it even if you can't play it all in one stretch.

@hydeks: You're complaining about such an amazing game being $15? Really? I remember paying close to $40 for my copy of it. You seriously cannot go wrong paying that price for this game.

get2sammybAdmin

#4

get2sammyb said:

@hydeks I guess it does seem steep when compared to other PSN games, but you've got to remember this is a full game. And it's only five years old after all.

Splat

#5

Splat said:

Since it got the HD treatment I don't think $15 is a bad price at all.

spyro202

#6

spyro202 said:

Personally, I would give it a 9,5. It's seriously one of the most enjoyable game I ever played! And I played a tons of games! If you like the Zelda genre, this game is for you! It's massive and have a great humor! Please give it à try!

Squiggle55

#8

Squiggle55 said:

I will definitely buy this game eventually. My backlog is growing too fast at the moment. Maybe I'll get lucky in the meantime and get it during a sale.

Knux

#9

Knux said:

Whenever I get back on PSN, this will be the one of the first games I download.

zipmonStaff

#12

zipmon said:

Awesome review Katy!! :) I haven't played any version of Okami before, but the gorgeous art style's always tempted me - so I just picked this up! Can't wait to dive in!

Fuzzy

#13

Fuzzy said:

I've enjoyed getting back into this game. It's a good length, but I think they dragged the story just a little too long (which they did for the sequel too, disappointingly). Rejuvenating an area full of flowers and colour never gets old.

Also forgotten how long and tedious the intro was. Surely they could have added a skip function.

bonesy91

#19

bonesy91 said:

want to play it. but sadly this game makes me feel sick when I play. something about the animations makes my head spin. regardless still seems like an awesome game :)

irken004

#20

irken004 said:

I bought it cheap on Wii and lost interest after awhile, the combat put me off for some reason.

Slapshot

#23

Slapshot said:

Play about 10 hours of it Sammy and you'll be set. It's a great game, it just drags on forever!

hydeks

#24

hydeks said:

yay people, keep in mind I NEVER PLAYED THIS GAME!!! ...obviously it's good ¬¬

odd69

#25

odd69 said:

I havent played this game, i come close to just dropping it in my cart everytime i look at it in the ps store. What stops me is I just rather a disc, so i would actually get it for wii. But its not in hd and im sure the controls for wii are horrible.

zipmonStaff

#26

zipmon said:

@odd69 If you are dead set on a disc, it's been released as a physical package overseas; the Asia-region version of the game has English text and you can get it at Play Asia for less than the cost of a normal PS3 game atm! (It's like the Journey collection though, in that you still have to install it from the disc to play.)

I wanted a disc too so I did some research, but I ended up just downloading it. :)

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