Okami HD Review

Okami is a title that has evaded me for the longest. I've constantly been busy with other games and have overlooked the praise and hype that the game gets from other reviewers. I'm happy to say that it's definitely a game that I have missed out on! Okami HD is available now on the PS store for $19.99. I haven't played the PS2 version or the Wii version, so Okami HD is my first chance at trying Okami. All I can say is, a 5-year old game just blew me away!

In Okami, a village, known as Kimiki Village is attacked by a demon known as Orochi. Orochi demanded the sacrifice of a several females to him to keep him from destroying the village. In the past, Orochi was defeated by a wolf known as Shiranui and a brave warrior known as Nagi. In the present day, Orochi is unleashed once again and the wood sprite guardian of the village known as Sakuya calls forth Amaterasu, the female wolf descendant of Shiranui, to stop Orochi once again. Players take on the role of Amaterasu (Ammy) in Okami and must race around the land and restore it.

Okami features an open world much like a Zelda game mixed with combat and battles that you would find in an action RPG. Players can venture through worlds and get into fights with random enemies that will seal off a section of the area and fight Amaterasu. Amaterasu can fight the enemies with her physical combat moves and Celestial Brush techniques. Enemies start out in color then turn to monochrome once damaged or during certain moves. At that time, a player can activate the Celestial Brush then draw a line through the enemy to cut and kill it off instantly or damage it greatly. The combat in the game is a lot of fun. New enemies have different attack patterns and you have to adjust to them. They all have weaknesses that can be exploited through combat or the Celestial Brush.

The game has many different methods of attack that Amaterasu can use. She can use both physical attacks and Celestial Brush attacks. She will constantly learn more of each attack type as the game progresses. Celestial Brush attacks are more key items used for game progression at one point and physical attacks are basically optional. When the Celestial Brush is used, the screen will basically turn into a canvas where a player can use a paintbrush to draw on the current surroundings. You can gain brush techniques such as Bloom (Give life), rejuvenation (restore), power slash (sword cut), and cherry bomb (bomb) just to name a few. The game is constantly giving a player more brush techniques as the game progresses. Through "praise" points gained by feeding animals and performing good deeds for people, Amaterasu can level up her attributes such as health gauge and ink bottles used for the Celestial Brush.

The Celestial Brush can be controlled with the PS3 controller or with the PS3 Move motion controller. The PS3 Move controls are very comfortable but drawing with the move controller is not as accurate as drawing with a PS3 controller. With a Move controller, I had to constantly slow down my hand while drawing in a certain direction in order to make a clear line for the game to pick up the brushstroke. Circle motions are hard to draw correctly with the Move at times since the controller can be moved across the screen so fast and I had to slow it down - if the Move suddenly jumped, the circle was completely broken. With a PS3 controller, the brush only moves with one speed, so all inputs are picked up exactly. I actually switched over to the PS3 controller at times in order to more accurately draw. I do feel as if I was starting to adjust to the Move controller toward the end of my time with Okami, but the PS3 controller is still a lot easier to work with.

Besides the motion controls, using the PS3 controller along with the PS Move is very comfortable. Players can move Amaterasu with the left thumbstick on the P3 controller and then jump (X) and attack (top button) with the PS Move motion controller. Holding the L1 button while using the Celestial Brush will force the brush to draw in a straight line while moving it with the PS Move, but this still doesn't help for circles. The T button on the bottom of the Move controller is used for activating the Celestial Brush. Hold the T button to make the canvas appear then draw with the top button. Amaterasu's dodging move is done with a quick swipe of the Move controller and it works flawlessly. The Move controls are fun to use if you have the patience to adjust to them.

The graphics for Okami are absolutely amazing. The game is presented in 1080p HD and every surrounding is full of life from all angles. Leaves fall to the ground, flowers bloom behind Amaterasu when she moves, red leaves form when she performs aerial attacks, etc. The game is a true work of art. Everything feels as if it was painted on the screen and it gives you the feeling that you are in ancient times. I often experience slowdown with HD titles that are taken from older systems, but with Okami, I never got any slowdown, which is definitely something to point out since just about every other port of an older game on a new system has some type of slowdown somewhere.

Okami's soundtrack is very soothing and the sound effects fit perfectly. Every character that can be interacted with has some exclusive mumbling noise that they will make when talking. It fits the game's style well. Voices have an echo to them and the game sounds great with surround sound. The only complaint with the voices and story of the game is that the dialogue can get too long at times. It really gets to where it kills the action with too much story. The opening scene is extremely long and has tons of dialogue.

If you haven't played Okami yet then there is no better time to pick it up than now. Okami HD is the definitive version. Whether you enjoy the Move controls or not, the game is fantastic to play either way. I honestly found the game hard to put down every time that I would go back to it. It's amazing how a 5-year old game can hold me over better than more current generation titles. Okami is definitely one of the most memorable games that I have ever played.

The Good:
+ HD graphics, vibrant, beautiful, stylish
+ Very good sound
+ Comfortable Move controls

The Bad:
- Move controls for Celestial Brush are not as accurate as the PS3 controller
- Dialogue can get too long at times.

Final Rating: 91%. Still haven't played it? Well you should now! Okami has now arrived in HD on PS3!