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Okami HD Review: The Sun god in dog form

by staticneuron

posted October 30, 2012 @ 1:03AM
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filed under Games


Originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2006, Okami is Clover Studio and Capcom's unique action-adventure video game that can seem a little strange in Western culture. After all, most gamers take on the role of a human being or even an alien race that still resembles the humanoid structure, so filling the shoes—paws?—of a wolf is definitely a change that can throw off a player. Despite this, the original title was a resounding hit, and popular demand has led to a re-release in the form of Okami HD for the PlayStation 3.

Set in the land of Nippon, a wolf by the name of Ameratsu is at the center of a brilliant story on the level of the Legend of Zelda as she traverses the huge world and seeks to destroy the evil in each of the lands using combat, wits and a paintbrush.

Most of the gameplay relies on using the Celestial Brush, which lets the wolf manipulate her environment depending on the motion in which the player uses the brush on the canvas. Different drawings result in different effects, and it can even differ depending on the object that the drawing is being used on. Early on, players learn the power to restore broken objects to their former glory, as well as the slash technique that lets Ameratsu cut open enemies and fell trees.

In an effort to integrate Sony's technology with Okami HD, players can use the PlayStation Move in order to make the drawings with the Celestial Brush necessary to perform the techniques in the game. This actually provides very good performance, which is a welcome change from other games failing to properly play to the strengths of the PlayStation Move; Capcom definitely hit the nail right on the head with this one.

Those who are not graced with the power of a PlayStation Move can still make fairly precise movements using the left analog stick on the DualShock 3 controller. While it is not nearly as fun to draw with the controller as it is to swing one's arms about with a PlayStation Move, the gameplay doesn't suffer from the absence.

The presentation is incredible; the high-definition resolution of the Japanese ink illustration is beautifully done and captures the essence of Okami perfectly. Not only are the animations smooth, but it even encourages players to take a step back and truly admire the scenery while going about the story. The audio is also presented well; while some players may be irritated by the squeaky mumbling that serves as vocal communication, it will quickly grow on most players as it pleasantly captures the game's personality while complementing the joyous soundtrack that the title offers.

The fact that Capcom managed to completely capture and build upon Okami's original charm is inspiring—although it would have been difficult to dilute a winning formula so much. Okami HD's successful inclusion of the PlayStation Move even makes it justifiable to purchase a new copy even if you own a copy on a previous system.

Those who have not previously had the opportunity to enjoy Okami's original release would do well to jump on this release and make sure your PlayStation Move controller is available at the ready.

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